E-Book, 396 Pages
Adult/ Steampunk/ Fantasy
By: P. Djèlí Clark
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 1/4
“That was the thing a lot of people didn’t understand. Magic abhorred imbalance. And always exacted a price.“
The Angel of Khan El-Khalili ★★★ 1/2
A Dead Djinn in Cairo ★★★★
The Haunting of Tram Car 015 ★★★★
A Master of Djinn ★★★★ 1/4
I was always interested in this series as soon as I saw its cover a while ago, the fact that it is also set in Egypt and inspired by Middle Eastern mythology were all points that made me eager to read it. However, I was hesitant because of the steampunk genre which I am not a big fan of and because this is book number 3 in the series but I am really glad I finally read this one.
This is book three in the series because there are stories set in the same world before this one but they are not full novels but two short stories and a novella and after they found much success, the author decided to write a full novel in the world which is A Master of Djinn. It can be read without reading the previous books but I would recommend reading them in order because it would enhance the experience for sure!
“I don’t have sad tales to tell you. I’m not some tragic character from a story, lost between two worlds. I revel in who I am. What I am.”
So the story is a mix of a lot of things but I think of it as a detective story set in a steampunk fantasy world. The main character, Fatma is detective a working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities and she’s investigating the murder of a brotherhood dedicated to Al-Jahiz, the man who literally changed the world when he opened the world into other realms and spiced things up. The problem is that the murderer looks to be Al-Jahiz himself!
The characters are great, we have Fatma as the main character and her friend Siti and her new assistant Hadia. We also have other detectives like Hamed (Not to be confused with Hamad AKA me) and although we get glimpses of the characters in the shorter stories, their characterization was best in this book! I loved that Fatma was a normal human, she was good at her job but she is not perfect. Hadia is one of the best Hijabi characters I ever read and for once, the author did not have to make her feel oppressed by her Hijab. The other characters were all well written too.
The thing that stands most in this book is the world-building! I just can’t get enough of this world and I am officially addicted. I don’t think I ever read anything similar before and for once, I felt represented properly in a book -although I am not Egyptian but the culture and mythology are very similar- it was heartwarming to see names that I hear on a daily basis in the book and then there are Arabic words throughout the book that were well used without butchering the translation (Wallahi, Tarboosh, Ya Lahwi …etc)
I did not expect to love the world building because of the steampunk element but it was simply amazing. The angels are kind of metallic creatures, there are boilerplate eunuchs too but other than that we have Ifrit and Djinn and Gods and other cool stuff that all comes together beautifully.
“Why do these colonizers always claim what isn’t theirs?”
The plot is entertaining, I can’t say the mystery part was the best out there because it was predictable. If you have read a few detective stories then the identity of the murderer would be quite obvious but it still did not affect my enjoyment of the story.
Summary: I am really happy I finally got to read this series! With the great prose interspersed with humor, relatable characters and unique world-building, I will be certainly looking for whatever the author comes up with next and I am thankful for the author for making me feel well represented for once in my life!