Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review: The Golem and the Jinni

Title The Golem and The Jinni
By Helene Wecker
Genre Adult Magic Realism Historical
Pages 486

First Sentence The Golem's life began in the hold of a steamship.

Synopsis
Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master, the husband who commissioned her, dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York in 1899. 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. Though he is no longer imprisoned, Ahmad is not entirely free – an unbreakable band of iron binds him to the physical world. The Golem and the Jinni is their magical, unforgettable story; 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 threat will soon bring Chava and Ahmad together again, challenging their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice. (From Goodreads

What it has going for it
I really don't have many nice things to say about this book. I will say, I enjoyed the historical look at New York and Ellis Island etc. I also liked the magical element and the story held me just captivated enough to finish but I was reading it for book club and that might have been why I really finished it. The character development was good but I didn't particularly like  any of them. Chava was too...good and proper and Ahmad was kind of a jerk. 

What's lacking
Any time a book makes you drag yourself through it, it's not a good thing. And if it going to make you work to get through it, the least it could do is have a decent ending. This one feels like the whole book, or at least three quarters of it are setup. The rest was meandering nonsense where very little was happening. Back in the day authors were paid by the word. Now all those endless, wordy classics make sense, don't they? Well, guess what, Helene, you're not getting paid by the word so how about a little editing. All that set up, all that endless nothingness building up to...what? That ending? That's it?! Thanks a lot for wasting my time. Argh! 

Yea or Nay
Hell NO!   

13 comments:

  1. Oh, no! This is a very long one to spend your time struggling with it. The setting sounds appealing, but that's pretty much it. How disappointing.

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  2. Lol. I love your Hello No at the end. While I am disappointed in the ending, I still liked the story. But, it was a slow one. I just wanted more Chava and Ahmad action, lol.

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    1. I wasn't too upset with the lack of romance. I just hated the role all the characters had to play. Really? Really? Thier roles weren't even important.

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  3. Ha ha -- I've heard good things about this one! I don't like slow novels, though, unless I'm really in love with the characters/setting/etc. I've had this one on my TBR shelf for awhile, but have been hesitating to read it. Think I'll go right on hesitating ...

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  4. I hate when you have to drag yourself through a book. Hopefully this will lead to a good book discussion at least so you can get something out of it!

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  5. Loved the sound of this one, so how disappointing to hear that it doesn't live up to its promise! I've had too many meh books in my life lately, so going to skip this one. Thanks for your honest review!

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    1. Yay. Yes, skip it. It's really not worth it.

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  6. Bummer! I have this on my list. At least I know to lower my expectations.

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    1. Yeah. That night actually help.

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  7. Which is exactly why I'm baffled that you are enjoying DUNE!!! :)

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