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The Fire Wish by Amber Lough eARC {4 Stars}

The Fire Wish by Amber Lough is a new fantasy series featuring jin and based in an alternative Baghdad! Fire Wish tells the story of two girls, a jinni and a human, who switch places and subsequently discover that their warring peoples are much more similar than either had been raised to believe. Fire Wish is filled with beautiful jin caverns and magic along with a refreshingly diverse cast and setting. I am absolutely thrilled to see a fantasy series from a major publishing house tackling a setting based on something other than Medieval Europe, plus jin are just so cool! I mean hot >.> Both? ;-)

Note: I received an advanced copy of The Fire Wish from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

The Fire Wish by Amber Lough eARC {4 Stars}

The Fire Wish by Amber Lough (The Jinni Wars #1)
Published by Random House Children's on July 22nd
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 320 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
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A jinni. A princess. And the wish that changes everything. . . . 

Najwa is a jinni, training to be a spy in the war against the humans. Zayele is a human on her way to marry a prince of Baghdad—which she’ll do anything to avoid. So she captures Najwa and makes a wish. With a rush of smoke and fire, they fall apart and re-form—as each other. A jinni and a human, trading lives. Both girls must play their parts among enemies who would kill them if the deception were ever discovered—enemies including the young men Najwa and Zayele are just discovering they might love.

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • As I’ve already gushed a bit, I absolutely love the setting of The Fire Wish. Baghdad is described beautifully, the jin home is in a cavern covered in crystals and gems, and everything about the setting felt both fresh and familiar for the fantasy genre. The details that go into the settings, though, really bring it all together. The jin lake of fire is actually a normal lake but with various gases releasing from underwater vents that then catch fire on the surface!
  • The magic of the jin is probably my favorite part of course, because magic is awesome. The jin’s ability to teleport is described beautifully and both fits nicely with the jin we are familiar with from media while adding new twists to how exactly it feels to teleport. The history of the jin that is revealed was also clearly based on the Qu’ran, which I find awesome and refreshing.
  • Both of the girls have romance plot lines, but they stayed in the cute additions category and didn’t take over the plot, which was great to see. I’m completely happy reading about budding attraction between teens, but I much prefer it to be in the background while epic things happen ;-).
  • The Fire Wish is very much about two peoples who have been at war for a generation and young people realizing that they aren’t so different from each other and that the war needs to be stopped for the sake of both groups. I love that this message weaved into the setting of Baghdad and being marketed towards US teens given everything our generation has grown up with. The Fire Wish pulls this important message off without feeling preachy as well, making it all the better.

Weaknesses:

  •  The writing of The Fire Wish really isn’t anything remarkable and even felt a bit simplistic at times. This worked for me fine since I was in the mood for an easier book, but even for YA it was fairly simplistic.
  • There is some emphasis at the beginning of The Fire Wish of the difference in personalities between Najwa and Zayele, however that difference didn’t really continue as The Fire Wish progressed. I definitely couldn’t open the book in the middle of a chapter and tell you who was narrating unless her name was mentioned.
  • The ending of The Fire Wish does have some scenes that clearly should pull at your heart-strings, but I just didn’t feel it. I cry easily at books and was actually even surprised to find myself unmoved. I can’t honestly put my finger on exactly why that is, but I guess I didn’t form as much of a connection with the characters as I thought I had.

Summary:

The Fire Wish is a refreshing YA fantasy that skillfully pulls from underused sources both for the fantastical elements and for the setting. I am very much looking forward to the second book and really hope that this is the beginning of a trend for YA settings. While the writing didn’t particularly move me, The Fire Wish was a fun and enchanting read and quite appropriate for bringing to the beach!

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya

 

 The Fire Wish by Amber Lough

© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. I’m reading this now! I don’t care for the writing that much. BUT I love the setting and it’s taking on a new cultural tale. I hope this is a trend, as a middle eastern woman I’m all for it! :)
    Diamond recently posted…Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times by Emma TrevayneMy Profile

    • Agreed the writing is a bit meh, but I just love the setting so much! You’re finding the way the culture is represented to be at least fairly accurate/not disrespectful then? That was one thing I as a white American really feel I couldn’t get a good idea for.

  2. My boyfriend and I had a really hilarious moment where we realized/assumed/guessed that “jinni” is pronounced like “genie.” He’s never even seen that word before and this whole time I thought jinni/djinni was like ‘duh-jin’ or something…lol. Anyways I think it would be so cool to be a jinni. Especially if it gets me a body like Jeannie from the TV show.

    So about the book…this sounds really good. Not really good like what everyone says on everyone else’s reviews but like actually good. If the worst things you can say is the writing is a little simple and that you didn’t quite burst into tears at the emotional scenes, then I say YES.
    Kate @ The Book Bee recently posted…REVIEW: Starcrossed by Josephine AngeliniMy Profile

    • Haha, I had that moment a while back too, I completely understand ;-)

      Yey, I hope you get the chance to read it soon then :D

  3. Much as I enjoy fantasy worlds based on Medieval Europe, this sounds really cool, too! And the romance doesn’t drown the plot? Yep, I’m willing to give it a try. :)
    Kel (Booked til Tuesday) recently posted…Discussion: Books are ExcusesMy Profile

    • There is definitely still cute kid romance though, be warned ;-) I’m very curious to hear your thoughts if you get to it!

  4. I was really curious about The Fire Wish! I’m glad to hear that you liked this one, and think that the setting and story is well-done. Though I feel like I might have issues with not being able to tell the characters apart, I have a feeling that’ll be okay considering I may end up swept away by the story anyway. So glad I got to read your review — now I really want ot read this one!
    Alexa S. recently posted…On YA Runs a 5KMy Profile

  5. I thought I was the only one with the issues with the voices of the two characters. They really did sound very much alike. I am glad you enjoyed this one. I gave it 2 stars. :(
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…More Survey FunMy Profile

  6. Oooh I got really excited reading all the positive things this one has going for it – even though the two MC’s voices came off too similar and I don’t like that. Anyways, I love how you described the alternative Baghdad setting especially! We rarely get YA books set in the area an I’m kind of fascinated about it. Especially when you add magic and jin to the mix! And the magic sounds fantastic!! Oh and since I also prefer my romances in the background to an actual plot, that’s a huge bonus for me as well. Oh how I wish I’d been approved for an arc of this one XD Lovely review^^ glad you enjoyed it!! x
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday *83*My Profile

  7. Alternate Baghdad? Hell yes! That sounds awesome. I’m pretty intrigued about the history of the jin now, knowing that it’s inspired by the Qur’an. It’s nice to know that the setting’s culture hasn’t been completely whitewashed (as is sometimes the case).

    • Yes! Though I’m no expert by any means, it definitely seemed like that was all handled quite well. I’d be really interested to hear the perspective of a Muslim reader too though

  8. Simplistic even for a YA book scares the crud out of me. Even if the setting does intrigue me.
    Nathan (@reviewbarn) recently posted…Fantasy Review: ‘The Mirror Empire’ by Kameron HurleyMy Profile

  9. Hmm, sounds potentially interesting. I’m definitely keeping my eyes open for books that break the mold, like settings that aren’t based on western Europe or modern North America (though I could probably just narrow that down to America, since I actually want more books to be based in Canada :p). If I see this one around, I might pick it up and give it a try as a lighter read.

  10. I will have to recommend this to a friend of mine. She has been looking for her next read and wanted something YA and Jinn related. I told her good luck but evidently they are there!
    Felicia Sparks recently posted…Audiobook Review: Air Bound by Christine FeehanMy Profile

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