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Book Review: A Master of Djinn

Table of Contents

“Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer.

So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world 50 years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage.

Alongside her Ministry colleagues and her clever girlfriend Siti, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city – or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems…”

Title: A Master of Djinn

Series: Dead Djinn Universe #1

Author: P. Djéli Clark

Page Count: 464

Genre: Historical, Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Date Read: November 12th, 2022

The Dead Djinn Universe by P. Djeli Clark has been on my radar since last year. As with many of us, it’s always difficult to try and find time to read everything we want to. Luckily as I was looking through books I wanted to read for the Once Upon a Readathon this month, this fit nicely into one of the steps/prompts for me. That is why I went ahead and started with the short novella as my introduction into this universe before diving into book one here.

With that out of the way I will say this was a very unique and interesting and entertaining read for me. I have been dipping into the Historical Fiction/Fantasy more of late and this kind of goes along with that. We certainly have a historical setting here outside of the usual Western world themed fantasy I read which was a nice break. And we are not without plenty of magic and mythology in this story either.

We also have a nice sprinkle of world issues with our first female investigator(s) within the Ministry who keeps in eye on the weird world around Cairo.

World building was interesting though we spend most of time within one region and little bit of magical realms being explored. We certainly get a solid understanding and feeling of the world around the story being told.

Character building was great! I think this was my favorite aspect to this book and series. We learn so much as we see some of our characters develop and grow. We also get a lot of twists and turns as we work through the who done it type of story. Some reveals caught me off guard indeed. So much so I found myself a couple of times getting that old Scooby Doo vibe wondering who the masked man would end up being. And that is no knock to the author at all. It brought back found memories of my childhood!

Pacing was steady. I never found myself in a rut feeling bored just trying to get to the next bit of action. But we did of course have some ebb and flow where things do tend to pick up with action or suspense to get us on the edge of our seats at times. The writing style seemed very smooth for me. I never found myself stumbling over words or having to pause to look words up that I didn’t get the context of what the author was trying to tell us.

Overall this was a very enjoyable read just a bit outside of my normal reads but not too drastically different. I would recommend this to anyone looking for an entertaining historical, mystery, fantasy fiction. This read would be well worth your time if you fall into that search.

World Building 4/5
Pacing 4/5
Character Development 5/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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