Nahri is a con-woman in 19th century Cairo with a few magical abilities that she uses to survive. Then one night, those magical abilities accidentally call a djinn to her, and suddenly she’s on the run from demons and discovering more about her heritage than she’s ever known. Now she has to survive a trek to the magical djinn capitol and the politics between warring tribes when she arrives.
This is a book that I’m going to reserve judgement on. I should not have read it while in a reading slump, my brain not really focusing on books. Back in November when the book first came out, I read a sample and absolutely loved the opening. I’m not usually a fan of con-people-as-narrators, but I loved Nahri right away. It took two months for the library to get the book processed and sent to me – you better believe I was the first person on the hold list! – and before it arrived, my brain went kaput. I read the book, but I feel like so much of it went through my head without any real comprehension.
For example, I had a hard time understanding why some characters claimed that a certain magical family had been dead for over a millennia and why some characters remembered the last surviving member of said family from twenty years ago. I’m obviously missing something! Or, when it turned out that a traitor was not a traitor after all, there was no emotional reaction and instead it was as if they were never even suspected of being a traitor. Again, what am I missing?? This was not the book’s fault. This was definitely my inability to truly comprehend as I was reading. I really wish I could have listened to the audio version, because I know it would have dug deeper into me that way, but sadly I dislike the way the audio narration is handled and so can’t go that route.
Honestly, I think I’m going to have to set the book aside and reread it in a few months, when I’m out of my reading slump and in a better mental place for processing it. I don’t want to turn anyone off the book, because I think that if I’d really been present while reading, it could easily have been an early contender for my 2018 favorites. It’s exactly the kind of book I love, blending literary writing, social commentary, fantasy elements, and Middle Eastern folklore. I mean, come on – does that not sound like the perfect book for me?? So again, I reserve judgement. I’m going to treat this one as not-read-yet, and will come back to it when I’m in a better frame of mind.