The Golem and The Jinni by Helene Wecker

The Golem and the Jinni - 

Helene Wecker


Originally posted at Paperback Wonderland.


This is a truly difficult book to rate, mostly because what faults I can find, I find them in myself as a reader.

The premise of the story in perfect, Chava is a golem created to become the wife of a creepy little man who dies soon after he brings her to life. So now we have Chava, a masterless golem, a creature of clay, newly arrived in turn of the century New York.

Ahmad was trapped in a bottle for over a thousand years by a wizard, and imagine his surprise to find himself in an unheard of continent, when a tinsmith repairing his bottle awakes him from his sleep.

The plot goes on its expected turns, both Chava and Ahmad, similar but so different, go about their lives trying to learn what it is to be human, so they can mask what they truly are.

I have no complaints about the story. I really, really liked it. It kept me reading. There was no point where I went, "I'll take a break from this". I genuinely liked the characters, they were flawed, and yes, they annoyed me often, but that was part of their charm.

So why am I only giving this 3.5 stars instead of 5?
Because I'm a dreadful, greedy reader.
It's true.
It just felt... jarring to have whole chapters about a jinn in a glass and gold filigree palace in the desert, hiding so he can listen to the talks of the men in the caravans, stowing away into human dreams... Or chapters of a golem marvelling at human idiosyncrasies, feeling the call of fresh green growing things... and none of it be poetic at all. Not even remotely beautiful now and then. The language was always so straight-forward! Granted, there is nothing wrong with that, if I go through it, there is nothing wrong I can point about it, it's good, it's practical. It's... not what I wanted.
I've read this whole book and I couldn't find a single quote from it I'd want to share with someone. Oh, I'd recommend the book, but there was nothing in it that just sparked, that made me go, "Oh, that was beautiful."

It is a very entertaining story, but it never feels like storytelling, there is never a sense of wonder reading it, and that's saying something when the two main characters are creatures of myth!

As always, give it a try. It's good! I can tell it's good.
It just isn't for me...