Reviews

The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker

erin_j's review against another edition

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4.0

The Golem is made of clay, happiest when she has a master (but she doesn't have on anymore) and hears the fears and desires of those around her. The Jinni is carefree, impulsive, reckless, and doesn’t like authority. How can these newly revived creatures navigate New York without drawing attention?

This book moved up on my TBR list because of 2 readerly friends having read and loved it. The story is slow, but keeps you reading with the underlying tension and the story slowly unfolding to a climactic end that you might have seen coming, but not until about 3 chapters from the end.

There are many perspectives, but I don’t feel like it’s too much. It’s done well and every one of them have a purpose in the story that help move it along. Very well done. I enjoyed this book a lot. It kind of reminded me of The Night Circus in it's magical, fantastical, many perspectives kind of way and the story unfolding little by little.

And the cover is beautiful! I have this on Kindle, but I think I want the real book too!

christyrunsdc's review against another edition

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4.0

This book was beautifully written. It moved a little slowly but in a good way. I loved the story and how the Golem's and the Jinni's stories were interwoven.

kaylamarie's review against another edition

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2.0

To be honest this took me a month to get through. The premise of the book was intriguing. I was excited about the combination of a Golem and a Jinni, two mythical beings from different cultures.

The book started off on a great start as we got to know the origin story of the Golem and the discover of a Jinni trapped in a vessel. After that the story was stagnant for me and everything became too predictable. Even with having a large cast of characters I found myself bored and not compelled to pick up the book for long stretches of time. If I wasn't such a perfectionist I probably wouldn't have finished it.

tree_star's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional funny hopeful mysterious sad tense
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

5.0

I just adored this book.  I am a sucker for a well told story and this was many stories all in one until it erupted into a beautiful tale of immigrant lives intersecting and confronting monsters. And the monsters.... aren't what you are expecting.
A story about love but not a love story. A tale of loss, and dreams, and lost dreams. But most of all, a turn of the century history of people fighting against a world that wants to control them and keep them in their preconceived roles, to burst free and make a life worth living. 

natyama's review against another edition

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4.0

Whimsical (but a tad too long)

amandaegle's review against another edition

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3.0

This felt really long. I enjoyed the first half, and then it started to lose me a bit.

laphenix's review against another edition

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2.0

This book felt meandering. Despite diverse characters and the well-laid ground work, the book failed to me it's potential.

tlwc50's review against another edition

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5.0

Easily one of the most fascinating stories I have ever read. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator is so talented. Wecker may have intended to have two "main" characters in this book, but each one has such depth I felt like I was immersed in their lives. I have read reviews of this book that discuss deeper meanings and whatnot (which is true), but I wanted to just let readers know that it's not a "heavy" story either. Sometimes storytelling can just be that. Merely a story telling. The Golem and the Jinni is a carefully woven and outstanding tale for anyone who needs a good book in their life right now. 5 well-deserved stars.

sanguine's review against another edition

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4.0

Things of magic moving amongst us, unnoticed. Living their own lives, dreaming their own dreams. I liked this book enormously, though it wasn't really one that I simply couldn't put down like some books are. But it was a story that leaves you with a soft, dreaming sensation of things that could be. Recommended.

res224's review against another edition

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3.0

While there is nothing technically wrong with this novel - it's unique, thoughtful and atmospheric - I just didn't love it.

The Golem and the Jinni is a magic realism/historical fiction novel set in late 19th century New York, following a golem and a jinni (shock) as they attempt to assimilate into their new lives in America.

The jinni is from Syria and lives in a Middle Eastern community, while the golem was created in Poland and is taken care of by a rabbi. I enjoyed the diversity and different perspective that this provided, particularly as it is so different from other New York-based historical fiction I've read which tends to focus on the Upper East Side or rebellious flappers in the Jazz Age. The representation of the immigrant experience, as well as the struggles of poverty and everyday working life, was extremely refreshing. The novel begins with a number of seemingly disparate characters and plot strands which by the novel's conclusion are woven skilfully together.

This is a well-written and clever novel, but it didn't press my buttons. The writing style and atmosphere were too solemn and sad for me to really enjoy it and I felt that it lacked heart. While the golem and the jinni were both nuanced personalities, again I couldn't find myself connecting to them. I think Helene Wecker was too deft at conveying their inhumanity.

Spoiler Also, the romance really didn't ring true for me. Throughout the whole novel, both main characters go on and on about their lack of attraction to each other - then several chapters from the end suddenly there's a mutual attraction? What? To me, their friendship seemed platonic but genuinely close, and I wish they'd kept it that way.


I think this is once again one of those dark, mystical fairy-tale type stories that wasn't my cup of tea, despite being generally well-loved. I think this is perfect for fans of novels such as [b:Uprooted|22544764|Uprooted|Naomi Novik|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1550135418l/22544764._SX50_.jpg|41876730] and [b:Finnikin of the Rock|4932435|Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles, #1)|Melina Marchetta|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1346007613l/4932435._SY75_.jpg|4998084]. If you loved the setting of [b:The Diviners|7728889|The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)|Libba Bray|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1555345561l/7728889._SY75_.jpg|10501517] but are looking for a more adult, grittier experience, this is probably the book for you!