I write reviews to help readers, not to win votes. My reviews are my honest opinion whether popular or not. I hope they help you. ;)
This book has a lot in common with the Neverwhere novel from Neil Gaiman. If you liked Neverwhere you will like this novel as well. The world is dark and rich. I am not a fan of books about faeries but in this case the author makes it fun and interesting.
It is a novel that is operating on two levels at once. On one hand you have the protagonist trying to deal with all this life changing supernatural drama while dealing with mundane problems such as a shrill ex-wife and a teenage daughter. This is much the same way the supernatural world works alongside and under the real world of London.
There is also a nice romance that occurs throughout the novel. It is well done and adds to the story rather than taking away from it. The narrarator has a pleasing voice and a decent range, but he over emotes a good bit and thus 3 stars instead of four for the narraration. It really doesn't harm the experience and it is more of a personal pet peve more than anything.
One thing to note is that this is the first of several books in this series. The problem is that currently the number 3 book is due for release in audio format soon but the second novel is nowhere in sight. This is a good series, but if you want to listen to this one rather than read I would wait until the second novel is on audio as the books build on each other and should be read in order.
This is the 5th book in the night watch series. If you are a fan you definitely want to spend a credit on this one. While not as epic in scope as the previous books, it is a solid read that is thoroughly enjoyable.
You can really tell the difference that this is a Russian author as opposed to the British and American authors I normally read. The book and series is quite dark in places, often with a strong streak of nihilism included. The endings in this series are usually not "happy" but are satisfying.
The world and characters are well developed to the point you almost feel like if you were in Russia you might run into them. The stories in this series are compared to chess matches between the higher powers with the protagonist trying to find his way through and survive. He never really knows what is going on for certain until the endgame. I really like that level of mystery.
The narrarator does a great job, but moves between Russian accents in conversation and a standard almost monotone English even though all the characters are Russian. This takes a bit of getting used to and leads to adding and dropping of accents at times. It doesn't impact the performance but it was noticable to me.
This novel could be read stand-alone but the reader will enjoy it much more and get a fuller experience by listening to the books in order. This one is definitely worth spending a credit on and I hope the author keeps the series going.
This book is something different than most books in the fantasy genre. Think, epic fantasy police novel. It sounds strange but it does work. The world and characters are rich and well-developed. The narrator took some getting used to at first, but grew on me as the story progressed.
The story is good, but be warned that it starts off pretty slow. Be prepared to sink some time into it before it really starts getting good. If you do you will find it worth the wait. In a way it kind of reminds me of Mike Carrey's Felix castor series in the way it builds very slow but by the end you don't want to put it down.
This isn't my usual type of read, but I did enjoy it.
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
I love fantasy and have been waiting with great anticipation for The Golem and the Jinni. I was not disappointed by this enchanting debut novel by Helen Wecker, but it was not what I expected either. This story is much more an allegory blended with historical fiction than it is a classic fantasy with a magical system driving the plot. It is a difficult story to describe in a meaningful way because the novel has many layers. On the surface it can simply be read as an interesting tale about magical creatures, evil wizards, spells, and the pursuit of immortality. (Aside to parents - this is definitely NOT a children's story.) But, woven throughout the novel are several much deeper themes to ponder long after you finish the book. On one level, this is truly an immigrant story - people throughout time moving to new places out of wanderlust, to escape a threat, or in pursuit of a better life and the challenges of creating community, maintaining cultural identity, and overcoming language barriers and prejudice that come with that. Ultimately, both the Golem and the Jinni end up as accidental immigrants to the wonderful/frightening place that was New York City of 1899 and their adventures as strangers in a strange land provide a fascinating allegory for all immigrants. On another level, The Golem and the Jinni is a study of human nature - the moral and ethical dilemmas, romantic and platonic love, faith, altruism, free will and enslavement, and the meaning of life and death. Wecker's mythical creatures are forced to tackle these big questions of humanity without the benefit of parents, religious training, or schooling that give most of us some foundation and watching them wrestle with those issues is surprisingly entertaining and thought-provoking. I suspect this is a book that could give you a new perspective each time you read it.
Initially, I was so anxious to understand what the big conflict would be (anticipating some type of magical culture clash or something), I almost missed the beautiful view along the way. I started the book over when I finally realized that Wecker is laying down a very intricate pattern that you have to appreciate from start to finish - this is not a book you'd play on double speed or you would miss much of the nuance, some of the deeper questions, and some very nice prose. Wecker takes disparate stories, multiple characters, several historical time periods and weaves them together to create a rather mesmerizing flying carpet of a tale that is part fable, part romance, and part historical fiction. And, when you get right down to what every reader hopes for, The Golem and the Jinni delivers - it has a terrific ending! Helene Wecker is really talented and for a debut novel, The Golem and the Jinni is quite well written - characters are nicely fleshed out, settings are vivid, and there is a nice fluidity moving between settings and different periods of time. In addition, the audio version benefits from the narration of the always fine, George Guidall - his seasoned voice is a great fit for this story.
I have no hesitation in recommending the book. This isn't your average fantasy fare, but most fantasy readers will find a lot to love. In addition, because of the bigger themes, the amazing characters, and the vibrant historical setting most people who enjoy an entertaining and meaningful story independent of genre will like The Golem and the Jinni. I am really looking forward to more from Helene Wecker!