ARC Review: A Master of Djinn // A masterfully written fantasy novel debut

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Title: Master of Djinn
Author: P. Djèlí Clark
Series: Dead Djinn Universe #1
Genre/s and tags: New Adult, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Steampunk, Supernatural, Mystery, Historical Fiction, POC, LGBTQ+
Publisher: Tordotcom
Publication date: May 11, 2021
Content warnings: Violence, gore, misogyny, racism, bigotry
Goodreads synopsis: 

Master of Djinn book cover

Nebula, Locus, and Alex Award-winner P. Djèlí Clark returns to his popular alternate Cairo universe for his fantasy novel debut, A Master of Djinn

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….

PicsArt_05-02-02.12.14

Received an e-arc via NetGalley! Thank you Tordotcom!
(This, of course, did not affect my overall opinion of the book.)

Hello book nerds! Today, I’m here to talk (or gush, more likely) about the best book I’ve read so far this year. Yep, it’s P. Djèlí Clark’s fantasy novel debut, A Master of Djinn!

I read A Dead Djinn in Cairo last year, and promptly fell in love with the world and the writing. It was only a novella though, and I definitely wanted more. I kept thinking a full novel would be so great! And oh, imagine the sweet surprise when Tor announced this book, a full-length novel in the same universe. I was beyond ecstatic! And imagine my excitement when my NetGalley request was approved. I knew I would love this book, but I wasn’t prepared for what it has in store.

P. Djèlí Clark weaved such an intricate, exciting, and rich story that will leave fans reeling. A Master of Djinn, simply put, is a masterfully written fantasy novel debut.

My thoughts on A Master of Djinn

This book is just perfect. It’s everything I ever wanted and more ever since I fell in love with that first novella!

The plot of A Master of Djinn was wonderfully intricate. The kind of intricate that leaves you wanting for more. The kind of intricate that leaves you perplexed, yet hooked. The kind of intricate that takes you into a thrilling adventure in a Cairo, where supernatural entities roam free. I have to commend the author for the way he constructed the plot, set up the plot twists and revelations, and kept up the mystery without boring the reader. There was never a dull moment in the story, as if every scene and every detail mattered. I loved that.

The writing style of the author also made the reading experience much more enjoyable. It felt as if you were with the characters, and you were solving the mystery alongside them. Apart from all the action and the mystery, there was also humor which balanced the story, as well as politics and faith which gave the story even more heart and sentiment.

The characters were also charming and compelling, you’ll be rooting for them in no time. Agent Fatma was a great protagonist, of course. I loved her in A Dead Djinn in Cairo, and I loved her here. I also loved Siti! In the first novella, we don’t know a lot about her. But in here, we got to know her character more—her background, her aspirations. I have to say, the romance between Agent Fatma and Siti were so good as well, I think I swooned too many times. It was nice seeing Agent Hamed and Onsi as well (from the second novella), and the addition of Agent Hadia!

As for the world-building, what else can I say except for the fact that it was so rich and wonderful and fascinating. There was so much about Egyptian culture and history mixed with Arabian, Islamic, and Egyptian mythology and lore. All of these together paints such a vivid picture of an alternate Cairo. It was easy to lose yourself in this fictional world. Every little thing will keep you on your toes.

I also appreciate the fact that this book, just like the first two novellas in the series, highlighted and addressed several social issues. It talked about misogyny in the workplace and in society, poverty and how government neglects or mistreats the poor, racism and bigotry, and western people who do nothing but take and take.

Overall, A Master of Djinn is a story that will not disappoint, nor is it a story that you will forget easily. To the fans, SFF lovers, and mystery lovers who have this book on their TBRs, you are in for a treat.


Buy A Master of Djinn

Amazon | Book Depository | Bookshop | Barnes & Noble


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