Circle of Jinn by Lori Goldstein

Being Jinn is Azra’s new reality. As she grants wishes under the watchful eye of the Afrit council, she remains torn between her two worlds—human and Jinn. Soon, secrets spill. Zars are broken. Humans become pawns. And rumors of an uprising become real as the Afrit’s reach extends beyond the underground world of Janna.

Straddling the line becomes impossible. Aware of her unique abilities, Azra must not just face but embrace her destiny. But when the role she must play and those she must protect expand to include a circle of Jinn greater than her own, Azra will be forced to risk everything. A risk that means there’s everything to lose, and at the same time, everything to gain—for herself and her entire Jinn race.

In this dramatic sequel to Becoming Jinn, Azra’s story comes to a heartfelt and thrilling conclusion.

RATING: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆

So be forewarned that I’ll be dropping spoilers left and right as I discuss this book and the reasons why it didn’t earn a full five-star like the first book of this duology. Now for those who have read my thoughts on the first book, you all know I was hoping for a duology, solely because of the fact because this book was published in 2016 and the concern that there would be a long wait to a world I was enjoying. Now I’m starting to think there should have been another book, or at least that this book should have been longer.

This book starts about a week or so after the events of last book without any warning of such, which makes things confusing for the first dozen pages and is a bit irritating. Azra is trying to grant Megan, Nate’s little sister to feel like her family is whole instead of fractured by the death of her father and her mother being hospitalized for serious injuries from the car accident that occurred at the end of book one. Problem is Azra is uncertain how to do this since she knows for Megan, what she wants is that their family is whole once more again. She realizes that solving Nate’s wish is a lot easier because all it required of her was to make sure that the right paperwork was in place that Nate could be his sister’s guardian once he turns 18 if their mother died and make them financially comfortable if that situation arises.

And then out of the blue, a mysterious male Jinn appears named Zakaria who claims that he’s here to find out why Azra hasn’t finished her job of granting Megan’s wish. She, of course, is suspicious of him since she has no love for the Afrit council, who is, and here’s some spoilers coming your way, is actually a pure-blood and slightly inbred family of Jinn with mind-reading and mind-controlling power who used a period of Jinn stupidity to gain power. Now while they can control other Jinn, it can hurt them as much as the other Jinn which is why we have all the crazy rules and policies that Azra and company have to deal with. And oh yeah, Azra’s father is an Afrit too although that we learn in the last book from her snooping, but her dad is one of the few Afrits who sees what the family is doing is wrong and working as a sleeper agent in the family to free the Jinn from the tyranny of the power hungry ones.

Zakaria or Zak as he is known for the rest of the story except for when he’s in trouble helps Azra figure out how to use her mind powers that she’s inherited from her father to help Megan and Nate’s family move to the future stages of grief so that Megan can accept her family the way it is as the new norm and be happy about it. This releases Azra from the circulus curse which is the result of what happens to a Jinn who uses the wish spell to learn a human’s true desire and is unable to complete it in a timely manner. They find themselves in pain if they’re not near the target which is a good way to explain the myth of genies being bound to whoever holds their lamp. Which is why we have the confusion at the beginning of why Azra was living with Nate and his family until she could grant Megan’s wish?

And yes, I know I’m jumping around a lot discussing this book, but I finished it last night at about 3:30ish and I’m only writing out this review now so my thoughts are all over the place.

Anyways, before I wind up giving the whole plot which is one big spoiler instead of a little spoiler, let me just vaguely as possible try to explain why the book got a one-star deduction. My peeve was the ending was rushed. Dealing with the Afrit council and the ultimate baddie of the story, who is a bit of an anti-hero in that his heart’s desire is to help the Jinn but his method of going about it sucks monkey balls, wasn’t just too easy. It happened too fast. After all this building up the problem, the resolution shouldn’t have occurred so easily and quickly.  And how things play out after the Afrit council is taken care of is to fast and brief too. Then there’s the whole thing about Azra and her love interests who are both human, with only one being aware of Azra’s Jinn status. I know it’s a YA book and thinking about long-term happily ever after probably isn’t something this demographic thinks about in their books that much, but if I have thought about it and I know I would as a teen, there is probably enough teens who do and would want to know how Azra with a human plays out. Can there be a cross-species marriage that results in children? Or do they adopt little Jinn and humans? Also how long do Jinn live anyway? I don’t think that was ever addressed and so that has an effect on the whole Jinn and human relationship dynamics.

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