Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 123: A Master of Djinn by P. Djeli Clark

by | Mar 17, 2023 | 2023 Book Reviews, Book Reviews, Marion's Favorite Books, Marion's Favorites, Marion's Reading Life Blog, Wisdom From Kammbia Column | 0 comments

The greatest pleasure I can have as a reader is getting lost in an author’s story. What I mean is, an author has pulled me into their imagined world and has a reality that connects with my imagination. P. Djeli Clark achieves this in his first full-length novel, A Master of Djinn, set in the same early 1900s alternate Cairo as his novella, The Haunting of Tram Car 015 and the short story, A Dead Djinn in Cairo.

A Master of Djinn tells the story of Fatma el-Sha’arawi, special agent for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities. She is the one of the few women with this job and has to learn how to navigate working in a profession dominated by men. Fatma is called to investigate the murders of members from a secret brotherhood connected to a man named Al-Jahiz.  Al-Jahiz is one of the greatest men in 1910s Egypt because he could open realms between the magical world of djinns and the everyday world of human beings. He disappears after this feat and has been worshipped by the secret brotherhood for his exploits.

However, there is someone that has arrived in Cairo claiming to be Al-Jahiz in the flesh. The person claiming to be Al-Jahiz is condemning Cairo’s push into the modern age and wants to return the city to its past glory. Also, this Al-Jahiz has great magical power and will use to rule Cairo and conquer the world of that time.

Fatma works through various clues to learn the identity of this person claiming to be Al-Jahiz.  It all leads to a magical showdown that will change Cairo forever. A Master of Djinn is a mixture of alternate history, epic fantasy, and a detective story woven together excellently. Clark creates wonderful characters in A Master of Djinn from the protagonist Fatma, to her colleague Hadia, her companion Siti, and the antagonist of the novel as well. These characters were well-rounded and multidimensional that added texture to the story, keeping me invested as a reader.

A Master of Djinn will be one of my favorite reads of 2023.  The highest compliment I can give for this review is that I want to read another story in this world and give me more of Fatma. Bravo P. Djeli Clark!


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