3.5 out of 5 stars
I first heard about this series when I met Lori at the Daring Reads YA Panel back in the spring. I've never read any of her books but this one sounded really interesting and unique. She gave out little pamphlets that had a short section of the first book and it hooked me, so I added it to my list and bought it at the NTTBF in April. Then of course, I had to buy the second one because hello, cliffhanger! I really enjoyed them both, overall. There were a few minor quibbles here and there but nothing big. Honestly, I thought this was going to be a bigger series but it looks like it's just a duo for now. I'm actually kind of disappointed, I would have liked more in this world. Also, the covers are just gorgeous! You don't see very many purple books.
(pic by me & heavily edited lol)
Okay, anyway. The story starts off with Azra on her sixteenth birthday, coming to terms that she is now an adult Jinn. In other words, a genie. And she is not taking it well. She doesn't want to be a genie or grant wishes or even keep the super hot makeover she automatically got, along with her Jinn bracelet/bangle/shackle. She just wants to be normal. Which is so not going to happen now.
I've always liked genies. I Dream of Jeannie was one of my favorite shows to watch as a kid (as reruns, I'm not that old lol). And there were quite a few genie-related shows in the 90s: Jambi on Pee Wee's Playhouse, Kazaam with Shaq (my sister loved that movie), and of course Aladdin. I haven't been able to watch Aladdin since Robin Williams died. :( I love the music though and listen to it quite often. My junior high choir had to learn Friend Like Me and I still know 75% of it by heart lol.
So Azra doesn't want to do the whole genie thing but she doesn't have a choice. She also doesn't want to have anything to do with her Zar, which is like her sisterhood, a group of teenage girls that are or will be Jinn eventually too. These should be her closest friends and family but she's shunned them for years now so doesn't have any of that support to help her deal with this big change. And wow, is it a big change. I mean, she can do magic now and apparate anywhere in the world. But she also has to learn how to grant wishes for people that the Afrit (head cheese Jinn) choose for her. She can't just grant anyone a wish, as much as she would like to. Especially cute friend boy across the street Henry. Human Henry, who is not supposed to find out about her secret but of course does, immediately.
I liked Henry, a lot. But of course, there had to be another guy that Azra was hot for and thus, a love triangle was born. Boo. I didn't hate it but it just wasn't necessary. I loved Azra's interactions with her Zar sisters and her mother. You may notice I haven't mentioned a dad or any male relatives. Well, in the Jinn culture, the women stay in the "human world", granting wishes, while the men stay below or hidden in the Jinn world. Kind of a nice switch really. This comes up more in the second book so I won't spoil it too much.
So we've got a rebellious teenager, magic wishes, and a love triangle. What more do we need? A little conflict? Oh sure. Azra is one of those exceptional teenage girls in the likes of Katniss, Tris, and others. And she is "destined" to do "something" lol. The second book leads up to a big battle that unfortunately, didn't seem that big to me. That's part of the reason I thought this would be a longer series; I was completely not expecting it all to get wrapped up that quickly. And maybe it's not. She left it kind of open so she could possibly come back to it later. Overall, I enjoyed these books but was left wanting a little bit more in the end.