The Golem and The Djinni by Helene Wecker - 7/10

The Golem and the Djinni, or Jinni if you read anything apart from the British version, is a wonderful take on the trials we face simply by being human. Wecker takes two very non human characters and throws them into the chaotic world that is life in New York city. In doing this she allows herself the opportunity to explore the complex and not so complex needs and desires of humanity through two sets of very different and very new eyes; the Golem being literally one day old when she awakes and the Djinni thrown nearly 1000 years into the future after escaping imprisonment in a flask.

The story explores how and why we build the bonds (or in some cases chains) of society around us, what drives us to make connections with each other and what the consequences can be from acting purely on impulse most of the time. For a work of fiction and fantasy, it is a surprisingly deep commentary on how we function and the dangers of doing something just because that is how it was always done.

One of the reasons I think this story has so much impact is that it combines the magic of pure fantasy with the attention to detail of historical fiction. Wecker has placed her protagonists with two very different cultural minority groups within New York and paints a very rich picture of the struggles and joys of their daily lives. There are so many different personalities in each community and Wecker has imparted real life into even minor characters that you can really feel the bustle of the city.

The Golem and the Djinni is well deserving of the 7/10 rating. The only reason I didn't give it an 8 or higher was that some of the flashback sections interrupt the pacing a little, in my opinion. Otherwise the quality of the storytelling is absolutely excellent and I would strongly recommend reading it if you enjoy modern or urban fantasy.

It was also our book of the week at Idle Hour library, so if you want to read it you can sign up for a month long free trial of the library services here!


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