Thank you to Macmillan-Tor/Forge for the review copy in exhcange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway!
Book: A Master of Djinn (Dead Djinn Universe 1) by P. Djeli Clark
Release Date: May 11th 2021
Tags: Fantasy | Alternate Egypt | Historical Fantasy | Djinn | Angels | Mechanical Constructs | Supernatural Agents
Trigger/Content Warnings: Violence | Blood
Other books in this series I reviewed
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….
Before I start my gushing about this world and characters in this review, I would highly, highly encourage you to read the prequel story A Dead Djinn in Cairo. It is a great introduction to the world and our main character. And everything that happens in that story comes back into this one. So I think it would highly improve your enjoyment of this book.
Now that is out of the way, onto the gushing.
A Master of Djinn is the first full novel set in this alternate Egypt world and I was not dissapointed. We follow Fatma, from the very first prequel story. In this story however she gets a partner. She is not pleased as she prefers to work alone. But her partner is also a female agent, and those are still very new in the ministry for Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities. I think adding in a (female) partner to Fatma was a wise choice as it changes some of the dynamics. Fatma has the reevaluate her own priviledges and prejudices. And Haida as a character on her own was a great asset because she brought a different perspective to the table.
Not only was there that but there was a lot of social commentary. About being light skinned black versus dark skinned black, about various beliefs in gods and religions, how things affect the poorer parts of Cairo, the infestation of European and especially British citizens to Cairo and their appropiation. And so on. There is so much to be found here.
And then there was Siti again, a character Fatma meets in the prequel story. They have a relationship that they are slowly exploring with one another. I thought that was great to see as it shows a different side to both of them. A more gentle side. And my suspicion of Siti was confirmed. I knew it.
One could say that the plot in itself is a bit messy but that in no way took away from my enjoyment of this book, this world or these characters. It is a whole experience!