Sunday, November 9, 2014

Book Review: The Golem And The Jinni, by Helene Wecker

The Golem and the JinniThe Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Golem And The Jinni, by Helene Wecker

Synopsis:Helene Wecker's dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.
Struggling to make their way in this strange new place, the Golem and the Jinni try to fit in with their neighbors while masking their true natures. Surrounding them is a community of immigrants: the coffeehouse owner Maryam Faddoul, a pillar of wisdom and support for her Syrian neighbors; the solitary ice cream maker Saleh, a damaged man cursed by tragedy; the kind and caring Rabbi Meyer and his beleaguered nephew, Michael, whose Sheltering House receives newly arrived Jewish men; the adventurous young socialite Sophia Winston; and the enigmatic Joseph Schall, a dangerous man driven by ferocious ambition and esoteric wisdom.
Meeting by chance, the two creatures become unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures, until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful menace will soon bring the Golem and the Jinni together again, threatening their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.
In A Sentence: A good story, well worth the read!

What I Enjoyed: I loved the storyline! It was beautiful and creative. I loved the use of creatures from two separate religions, and I loved the details revolving around these two separate cultures. I have no idea if the facts were accurate or not, but they seemed to be and I enjoyed it.
The plot was also good. It was a love story without the eroticism that you frequently see. It was a story with mystery and intrigue where the puzzle pieces fit together smoothly and without any unanswered questions.
What Wasn't So Great: I admit the pace seemed a little slow at times. It was a necessary pace, though. I don't see how the author could have done this any differently
Overall: This was a wonderful story! I really enjoyed it and I want to read it again! I suspect that I'll enjoy the story better the second time around too. I highly recommend it for anyone who likes historical fiction, love stories, and/or fantasy and magical realism.
Note On The Audio: The audio was fairly decent. The author seemed to be going at a pretty leisurely pace, though, which made it a little difficult to listen to. I kept on getting bored, and stopping the audiobook so I could do something else. I think it was more of the narrator's fault than it was the author's fault.

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