Review – A Master of Djinn

Posted February 2, 2023 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of A Master of Djinn by P. Djeli ClarkA Master of Djinn, P. Djèlí Clark

A Master of Djinn takes the threads from the novellas in this world — primarily A Dead Djinn in Cairo, but also the world-building and some characters from The Haunting of Tram Car 015 — and pulls them together into a full-length novel, with Agent Fatma as the lead. If you haven’t read those novellas, I’d strongly suggest doing so first: I suspect there are enough details here to let you jump in, but the novellas provide a lot of context (e.g. the Clock of Worlds, what exactly Fatma does, why the world is the way it is).

Clark seems to love writing female characters who have strong opinions and their own way of approaching the world: the central three female characters are each quite different, though driven and capable. Hadia is not a carbon copy of Fatma, despite their shared profession, and nor is she the wilting flower that Fatma originally expects — and Siti’s something else entirely. I found the female characters a joy here, to be honest, though I’d like to see more of Hadia and her weak points as well as all her surprising strengths.

As far as the antagonist goes, I called it well before the characters did, though in part that’s being outside the narrative and knowing how mysteries are structured. I was glad that Fatma realised a particular aspect of it before the story actually revealed it, because it would’ve felt weird if she wasn’t sharp enough to see that when I had realised it.

I found it really satisfying that this book pulled together the threads from the novellas, while creating a whole new story that revealed more of the world. It’s a book I may well come back to, as I did the novellas.

Rating: 4/5

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