Becoming Jinn (Becoming Jinn #1) by Lori Goldstein
Expected publication: April 21st 2015
by Feiwel & Friends
Forget everything you thought you knew about genies!
Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit. To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny. Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters”, Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, She realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.
A Jinni who just got her powers coming into her own yet she is much more powerful than even her Zar sisters could imagine! Sounds promising right?? If only that was the way it actually played out. Instead the blurb should have read this. Selfish teen isolates herself from family and friends and mopes about when she finally is able to do some good in the world with granting wishes. Okay so maybe that is a bit harsh but when you dislike the M.C. as much as I disliked Azra, it's hard to be diplomatic while writing a review. Let me explain a bit.
The blurb made this book sound very different to my ears. I don't quite know what i was expecting but it wasn't this high school drama that I got. I thought I was in for tons of Jinni politics and watching a new Jinn learn to harness this colossal power that she suddenly has. There was some politics involved for sure and Azra does have more power than most but the execution of this plot line was distinctly lacking. Choppy writing aside let's discuss the plot. Azra becomes a full jinn on her 16th birthday, She is definitely not pleased by this. She wakes up suddenly gorgeous with long hair, flawless skin, even a perfect manicure...aesthetically perfect in everyway possible and all she can think to do it bitch about it. GIRL OWN IT!! You knew your whole life this was coming.
Azra's mother is a very powerful "model" jinn so she feels a ton of pressure to live up to her mother's expectations. Instead of trying to bond with her Zar "sisters", other Jinn who come into their power the same time & will be linked to her for the rest of her life, all Azra does is isolate and exclude herself from them, then sits around and mopes and complains how she has no friends. I get that you may not feel like you have to much of a bond with them but if you don't speak to them and avoid all of their special 16th birthdays you can't be mad when they are not thrilled to be at yours. She has a backstory of some traumatic stuff but it just never felt genuine enough to rationalize her behavior with her family and sisters.
Once the wish granting starts all Azra can seem to do is stumble further and faster into trouble than she ever thought possible. If there is one thing I can't stand in a character it's impulsiveness. Sometimes this quality can be endearing when the person really does have best interests at heart but in Ezra's case, its sheer laziness and stupidity that get her into most of her jams. Let me give you an example... the time sent a tired woman on a vacation instead of doing her background work & realizing the reason she was so tired was from her newborn child whom Azra did NOT send on vacation with her mother. I'm sorry but if you don't follow the rules and mess things up you don't have a right to feel sorry for yourself. If you push away your friends and steal from them, you don't get to mope about how no one likes you and how you have nothing in common with them. Azra is immature and selfish, blaming everyone else for her problems. She even goes so far as to lash out at her mother for "not telling her" what the consequences of rule breaking would be. There was much room for growth and very very sadly I saw very little if any.
As if this issue didn't rub me raw, let's go ahead and add an absolutely POINTLESS love triangle. The plot could have gone exactly the same as it did if she was just friends with this "gentleman" the entire book. I usually do not mind triangles, if they further the story somehow or at least give the M.C. some much needed perspective. This was not one of those triangles.
The on shining spot in this story was the rich descriptions of how the Jinn use the powers and where the jinn originated.
I was so very excited by the prospect of another amazing Jinni book since I feel it is one troupe in YA that has not been done to death. Some of my close friends enjoyed this book so I guess it is all a matter of perspective. Once I dislike an M.C. this way its hard for me to reconcile the remainder of the book. I will give this 2 snowflakes out respect for the creative history and Jinni culture. This high school petty drama is not for me.