I’ve been reading more adult fantasy recently, it seems, and I’m really getting into it more. We’re getting more diverse reads by some amazingly talented authors, and Master of Djinn is one example. I was very lucky to get a finished copy of this book early thanks to the wonderful Nazia from Orbit.
Master of Djinn is technically the third book in a series. But as the first full-length novel, it can be read as a standalone. In this book, we follow Fatma, the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities in 1912. This book is set in Cairo, and after the members of a secret brotherhood are killed by a man claiming to be al-Jahiz, the long-dead man they worshipped. The ministry is pulled on the case to find out what’s going on. They need to stop it from hurting Egypt’s place on the world stage. With a new partner and her girlfriend, Siti, Fatma must unravel the mystery of what is really going on.
You all know by now that I love books that contain folklore or mythology of some kind. I’m fascinated with that sort of thing, and with history too. So this book hit the perfect note for me. It’s set in 1912, just a few years before the dawn of the First World War. I can’t help but wonder how the djinn and other species would have changed things. Because the djinn weren’t the only species. Goblins were mentioned in Germany, and the goblin that popped up said they hated the fae. So all the folklore across the world have been revealed in the country’s they stemmed from? Hello! I am completely fascinated. It would completely change our world. It would have then, and it would, now. I want to know more.
I liked Fatma as a protagonist. I can be a little nervous when it comes to men writing female main characters, but Djeli Clark did so well. Fatma was her own unique character. She wasn’t a stereotype. She loved her suits and looked good in them, loved her family and wants to be the best at her job. She’s a tough woman but soft around those she cares about. And it makes her really likeable.
I loved Siti and Hadia too. I wasn’t so fond of most of the white British characters, but that’s not exactly surprising considering we kinda sucked. Especially back when the colonising was still very much a thing. The fact a character who didn’t last long actually thought the Egyptian Pharaoh’s would have been related to the Anglo-Saxons. Ooooh boy. He does realise they were two separate European groups themselves before conquering England, right? What a dumbass. That being said there has been evidence that the Egyptian royal family probably had some Greek in them, but that’s different.
Sorry, can’t resist the history rant.
Back to the book itself was really good. I loved the blend of folklore and history. It made for a believable world. I was fascinated by these stories of the djinn and the supposed ‘angels’. Even the blends of faith were fascinating. You don’t think of anyone believing in the ancient gods in the 20th century. But in this book, these gods are just as important. And why wouldn’t they be if the rest of folklore is real? I really want to know more and dive back into that.
This book is queer, it’s well-written, and I really can’t think of anything to say other than that I loved it. I was a little nervous as I thought this book would be good but hard to read. I was so wrong. It was definitely good, but it was so easy to get through.
I really want to go back and read the novellas set before this book now, and I’m very patiently waiting for more set in this world!
Title: A Master of Djinn
Author: P. Djeli Clark
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Age Range: Adult
Release Date: 19/08/21