Book review: The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. 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.

Struggling to make their way in this strange new place, the Golem and the Jinni try to fit in with their neighbors while masking their true natures. Surrounding them is a community of immigrants: the coffeehouse owner Maryam Faddoul, a pillar of wisdom and support for her Syrian neighbors; the solitary ice cream maker Saleh, a damaged man cursed by tragedy; the kind and caring Rabbi Meyer and his beleaguered nephew, Michael, whose Sheltering House receives newly arrived Jewish men; the adventurous young socialite Sophia Winston; and the enigmatic Joseph Schall, a dangerous man driven by ferocious ambition and esoteric wisdom.

Meeting by chance, the two creatures become 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 menace will soon bring the Golem and the Jinni together again, threatening their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice. Goodreads

Men need no excuse to cause mischief, only an excuse.

I really didn’t know what I was expecting when I first read this book; obviously I was expecting something good (Whoever in their right mind would pick up a book and expect it to be horrible? I did, when I read Twilight, actually). To be frank, good just doesn’t cut it if I ever have to give a word to describe this book. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I still couldn’t found anything not to like from this it; sure, there were something that I didn’t quite actually fancy, but it’s not so horrible that I would hate it altogether.

Let’s start from my favourite part from a book, its cover. Honestly, there was nothing about the cover that seems to be interesting; as a matter of fact, it was the title that first drew my interest upon this book. I thought this was going to be a predictable sort of story about a Genie (a typical idea of a genie created by the modern media, a female genie with its belly button on display), but thank God it wasn’t anything like that.

Do you ever have that feeling when you’re watching a movie that is so good that you’re torn between keeping your eyes glued to the screen and to pay attention to every single detail happening before your eyes that you’ve completely stop eating your bucket of popcorn entirely, with the feeling of nervousness about the movie that you didn’t even realise that you’ve been eating your bucket of popcorn nonstop? Well, reading this book is somewhat like that; it was intense that every time I had to put the book down, my mind kept coming back to the story and it made me restless not knowing what’s to happen next.

It was so addictive, intense and more!

It was such a beautiful world that the author was building, it shed light on immigrants coming to America for the first time from all over the world, it shed light on the many interesting and diverse culture. I am pleased to see such beautiful take on diverse culture in this book without seeming like it’s only there for the heck of it and not a substantial presence to the story. This is really the kind of book that you can’t put down once you’ve start reading it; the more you read it, the stronger your bonds are to the story and the characters that you’d feel surge of emotions for their well-being.

The world building was beautiful. The cultural background was written perfectly. Wait until you’ve met the characters!

Chava and Ahmad, how could you not like them and root for them? How? No, seriously, how? The first time I met Chava and Ahmad, I just knew that both of them are going to be this loveable dork kind of characters. You can’t help but love them and care for them, much like reading Celia and Marco from The Night Circus. And, speaking of The Night Circus, I’ve seen several people mentioning that if you like the latter, then you should give this book a try; I cannot agree more with that assessment. All the way from the magical world build up, the story, and the characters are just incredible.

Ugh, I just hate am scared of the bad guy so much.

But, that is a sign of great storytelling isn’t it? You’re so caught up with the story and the characters that you can’t help but get so spooked (border line hating) the bad guy so much. Gosh, I can’t wait for the next book coming in 2018!!! Ugh!

Are you kidding me? Of course it’s a YES!

What’s not to like?

Great storytelling ✔️

Lovable and/or hateable characters ✔️

Incredible background setting for the story ✔️

Just please find this book and give it a read, ‘kay?

Title: The Golem and the Jinni

Author: Helene Wecker

Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism


Goodreads link


3 thoughts on “Book review: The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker

    • dilchh says:

      Oh please read this book soon. I’m dying to know what you think about this book. I enjoy your thorough reviews, so I’m curious as to what you think about this. Please let me know when you have the chance to read it.


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