Wednesday, January 15, 2014

BLOG TOUR: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

Title: The Golem and the Jinni
Author: Helene Wecker
Genre: Fantasy/Magic Realism/Mythology
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: January 1/2013
Adquired: Print copy provided by publisher
Goodreads: ADD

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master, the husband who commissioned her, dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York in 1899.

Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop. Though he is no longer imprisoned, Ahmad is not entirely free – an unbreakable band of iron binds him to the physical world.

The Golem and the Jinni is their magical, unforgettable story; unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures – until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful threat will soon bring Chava and Ahmad together again, challenging their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.


There have only been a handful of books in my lifetime of reading, that I've struggled to find the words to describe-to do justice to in my explanation. The Golem and the Jinni is, by far, one of those books. I knew I was walking into something beautifully written, but the magnitude of that beauty was the one thing I couldn't predict, the one thing I was irrevocably changed by. This book seeped into my soul, it revealed to me the treasures that can be found in words, in moments strung together by someone who genuinely cares about what they're writing. Helene Wecker outdid herself with the Golem and the Jinni, it is a debut novel that will leave you convinced that some people truly are, born to write.

It's the late 18th century, and both a Golem, a creature made of clay, and a Jinni, an ancient being of fire, have found themselves in separate parts of New York City. Each of them have been taken under the guidance and care of one lonely soul, and are forced to make sense of a life that they were not initially destined for. I almost feel as though the plot line in this book takes backseat to the intricate, and exquisitely rendered, atmosphere that Helene Wecker created, but it doesn't, at the same time. Both aspects were what made The Golem and the Jinni one of the most powerful books I have ever read. The story line was made better by the words used to make it something whole, something I could have kept on reading forever.

There were so many things in this book worth remembering, so many facts that the author gathered with such precision. I am in absolute AWE of the research that Helene Wecker must have poured over, and absorbed, before she sat down to write The Golem and the Jinni (fact: the back of the book noted that it took TWO years of research alone, that's amazing!). I want to praise the author in this review, just as much as I'm inclined to praise the beautiful narrative she wrote. I felt each character separately. I slowly read paragraphs that contained descriptions of scenery, of smells, and sounds. I feel like that's exactly how this book was meant to be read: with care. With an appreciation that was first instilled when you were read bedtime stories, and you were transported to worlds that only existed in your dreams.

I could write paragraphs upon paragraphs, describing the way Wecker's words shone, but she also created a story that is going to be hard to forget, though I can hardly say that I want to. The Golem and the Jinni is a book that I am most proud to have in my possession. It is a book that I will come back to, again and again, a book that I will, from this point on, make sure EVERYONE has had the pleasure of reading.

  Recommended for Fans of: The Curiosity by Stephen P. Kiernan, Fantasy, Folklore, Mythology, Historical Fiction.


Helene Wecker grew up in Libertyville, Illinois, a small town north of Chicago, and received her Bachelor’s in English from Carleton College in Minnesota. After graduating, she worked a number of marketing and communications jobs in Minneapolis and Seattle before deciding to return to her first love, fiction writing. Accordingly, she moved to New York to pursue a Master’s in fiction at Columbia University.

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Thank-you to Trish from TLC Book Tours for hosting this tour, and to Harper Collins for sending me a print copy to review!

CLICK HERE to follow the rest of the tour


  1. I agree, this is a story you won't soon forget! I'm glad you loved it! It was a favorite of mine in 2013.

    Thanks for being on the tour!

  2. The Golem and the Jinni definitely wowed me to; it was so atmospheric and beautiful. I'm glad you loved it too!

  3. Beautiful review! I went ahead and put in a request for this book at my library.

  4. Thank you for the wonderful review. I've read some positive things about it and I'm really anxious to read it. The story sounds very captivating!

  5. I'm about halfway into and I agree- it's an awesome book so far. I love how you think its going to be a book about a golem and a jinni stuck in new york but it turns out to be so much more than that.

  6. I have been interested in this one since I heard about it. It's something so different from what fantasy books usually steer toward. Thanks for the awesome review!!!

  7. The many strands of this story are slowly but mesmerizingly woven together, with some plot line connections not revealed until almost the end of the book. I haven't enjoyed a total immersion in such a rich and magic-tinged world since Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.


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