Overview (No Spoilers):
A few months ago, I caught up with my TBR pile. A totally unheard of occurrence. I decided to load up on titles that I’d repeatedly seen given glowing reviews by my fellow bloggers. I’ve seen A Master of Djinn reviewed so many times, as well as, on many must read lists that I was excited to find out what all the hype is about.
Right before the pandemic, Luke and I went to Jordan and Egypt to experience Petra and Cairo, respectively. We had the most wonderful guide in Cairo that really instilled a love of the area for us. Needless to say, I was excited to discover that A Master of Djinn was set in this ancient Egyptian city, which resulted in so many fun reminders from our vacation.
A Master of Djinn is set in a time period when women are just getting rights and entering the workforce, albeit then having to fight tooth and nail to earn their spots. Within the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural entities, Agent Fatma is the only female investigator, that is until she is reluctantly assigned a new partner, Hadia. The new team is tested right out of the gate as they start investigating a murder case that initially seems clear cut, but soon turns into a quagmire of twists and turns. A Master of Djinn utilizes a recurring cast who pop up to help Fatma wiggle out of various hazardous predicaments just in the nick of time. The suspense is high throughout A Master of Djinn, however the key protagonists never quite feel as though they are in any true danger.
One unique aspect of this read is that magic is relatively new to this literary realm. Magic returned to this world only half a century prior, leading to a major upheaval of the existing super powers, and making Egypt, specifically Cairo, a powerful global force.
A Master of Djinn is the first installment of the Dead Djinn Universe series, however I didn’t come away with the feeling that this story was introducing a new series, instead more picking up where the last case had left off. The characters all felt lived in, with prior cases and interactions being repeatedly referenced, though the reader could glean the importance of the aforementioned experiences easily without experiencing them first hand. Post read, I had the realization that there was a novella associated with this literary universe that serves to fill some of the gaps in A Master of Djinn. I don’t believe it is needed to have read the previous novellas for the sake of this story, but I bring this up to address the mid series feel.
While A Master of Djinn follows the adventures of a particularly stylish detective, the pacing (thankfully) did not conform to the stereotypical numbing ups and downs of the detective genre. Instead, we had a fun mix of a murder mystery, along with unusual magical happenings to pull Fatma into many directions at once. Plus, there was a steamy romantic angle that provided its own measure of mystery and surprises.
Overall, A Master of Djinn sprints out of the gate, keeping the reader hooked throughout as Fatma scours Cairo and the surrounding area (all the while in chic suits) for clues to a murder/magic mystery that has far reaching consequences.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- How many other Djinn are hiding in plain sight like Siti?
- The battle at the end of A Master of Djinn would have wrecked so much destruction and death all over Cairo, but this wasn’t mentioned or addressed.
- The end ‘bad guy’ was totally predictable!
- Hadia’s many cousins were one of my favorite parts of this book!