Fire Wish (The Jinni Wars #1)
Random House Books for Young Readers
Published July 22, 2014
When Zayele is promised to the prince against her will, she vows to escape her fate and return home to her family. The perfect opportunity arises when a curious jinni who wanders too close. Zayele seizes the girl and forces the jinni to take her place.
The jinni girl, Najwa, indeed takes Zayele’s place. Instead of returning home as she asked, Zayele finds herself trapped in the jinni world, where she is mistaken for Najwa. There she learns not all the rumors she’s grown up believing about jinni are true.
Trapped in Zayele’s place, Najwa tries her best to play the part of the betrothed princess. If she’s discovered – a jinni living in the Baghdad palace – she’ll surely be killed.
As the girls learn more about the history between humans and jinni, they uncover a sinister plot which means to destroy the jinni once and for all. Only together can they thwart the powerful new weapon which threatens all jinni and both their lives.
Threaded with suspense and romance, Lough weaves a cunning, fantastic tale of a kingdom besieged by fear and hatred. Through the eyes of two young girls, the reader experiences mirrored stories – one human, one jinn – showing the loss and tragedy created by war.
Lough captures the voice of fairytale and fancy, carrying the reader off to places and times unknown. Though this story doesn’t have the same lyrical beauty as some other Eastern stories, what it does well is marry a modern style to a fantasy story. This makes it a lot more accessible to readers who aren’t big fantasy fans, but who are looking for tales of forbidden romance.
I also liked that while the girls each have a part in battling the story’s villain, the boys who’ve stolen their hearts are quick, smart and powerful, making a good balance of characters. I’m all for strong heroines, but I dislike weak men as their counterparts. Lough’s characters complement one another well.
However, it’s Rahela, the princess’ companion who steals my heart. Though she first appears meek and fearful, Rahela’s true nature emerges when her cousin leaves her behind with a jinni. Instead of raising the alarm, Rahela reacts coolly. It is she who keeps her head and helps Najwa succeed in pretending to be Princess Zayele. While I loved the story and the other characters, I couldn’t help admiring her most.
A brief reference to origin of jinni tells of a man who found an angel who had crashed into earth and helped, thinking this was a test from God. Afterward, he discovers he’d helped a fallen angel, who then transformed him into a jinni.
The story is set in and near Baghdad, and contains several references to Allah and regular prayer times.
Zayele recalls the incident which left her brother blind. War between humans and jinni causes casualties to both sides. Battle descriptions are brief and without any gory details.