ARC Review – Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein

24607189Title: Becoming Jinn

Author: Lori Goldstein

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Forget everything you thought you knew about genies!

Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.

To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny.

Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters”, Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.

Huge thank you to Macmillan and Netgalley for this ARC!

River’s Review:

To be honest I probably would have passed this book by if not for the author. Not that it doesn’t sound like a good book, but because it’s not really my thing. I’ve never really been interested in this type of paranormal, but the author is a local (from Boston) and I’m hoping to go to her release party, so I dove in.

As a debut it’s very solid! The writing is good, with a clear voice and style. I loved Azra from the start because she was just so sassy. Later on in the story she made me mad, but then she grew into herself and by the end I really started to empathize with her.

This is a coming of age story about Azra and her life as a Jinn. She has magic and can grant wishes, but her world is secret and hidden from humans. Only the female Jinn are allowed to live among humans and the men and retired Jinn live in their underground secret world due to a complex political structure.

I really liked the world building in this. And as I read I never once had a moment where I had to suspend belief or just kinda gloss over any of the how & why of the world. I hate it when I KNOW that something doesn’t work but we’re just expected to believe it for the sake of the book. In this everything made sense, was explained and seemed quite plausible.

The pacing of the book could be a little better done, but that’s something that I believe Goldstein will grow into as she writes more. The first half is a bit slow and filled with mean girls and mean mothers and sometimes a bit too much sass and attitude from Azra. And I felt like I was reading about Azra’s birthday party FOREVER. But around 60% the book really picks up and that’s when I fell in love with it (before 60% I was thinking three stars, but the last half boosted it up).

Azra is very much a flawed character despite her great beauty and perfect body (that Jinn get when they turn 16). I normally don’t like it when characters go through these ~magical transitions~ that make them perfect, but I liked the juxtaposition with Azra’s perfect outside and less than perfect inside. She does A LOT wrong (and at one point she did something SO wrong and I just couldn’t even believe it and was SO mad at her) but she does learn fro her mistakes and grow from them.

I enjoyed the relationships in this book and would have liked a little more closure with Yasmine and Laila, but I’m sure we’ll get that in the next book. I liked her friendship with Henry and how it showed how complicated a male/female friendship can be when there are other love interests in the picture. Some people have been reviewing about the ‘love triangle’ but it wasn’t really one at all. I feel like it’s a triangle when the MC is clearly into BOTH and does the whole ‘but who do I choose?!?!?!?!? woe is me’ thing but Azra doesn’t do that. And I liked Nate and how he broke stereotypes, but I would have liked a LITTLE more chemistry and swooning.

I also loved Azra’s relationship with her mother. Yes her mother can be pushy but you find out WHY and she has a DAMN good reason for a lot of what she does.

Overall this is a very solid book that can be enjoyed by both contemporary and paranormal readers a like!

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