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Review: The Fire Wish by Amber Lough

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Fire Wish
Amber Lough

Series: The Jinni Wars #1
Genre: Fantasy
Hardback: 320 Pages
Publication: July 22, 2014
by Random House Children's


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.

◆ A copy was provided by Random House for review ◆

I found out the power of author blurbs when I saw that Tamora Pierce blurbed this. To be honest, I probably wouldn't have picked this up otherwise because the synopsis looks so much like a fantasy romance. In a way, it is. At the same time, there's some compelling element to the story that kept me reading even as other elements had me finding it hard to suspend disbelief.

The story alternates between Najwa and Zayele's perspectives. At first, it was hard for me to connect with the characters or even enjoy the story because it switches perspectives so quickly, barely giving me time to immerse myself in one storyline before moving on to the next character. I eventually adjusted to the story's pacing. What really bugged me about the narration from start to end is how both perspectives are told in first person without distinguishing traits in either voice to help me tell them apart. Though Zayele is labeled as braver and Najwa more passive, it's just that—a label. Their characters aren't developed well enough for me to know for sure who is who. Furthermore, though Zayele is essentially raised as a princess, her behavior suggests otherwise, and she does a poor job of carrying out her duties.

I never felt a strong connection to any of the characters, even our narrators. While I know who they are, it's only on a superficial level. I couldn't tell you anything about them except for the most basic of information. There isn't any real depth to the characters or their relationships with each other. The only time I felt any real emotion was when Atish seeks to avenge a wrong done to his girl at the end of the book (if you've read the book you'll know what I'm talking about). That gave me feels, then clich├ęd things happen, and the feels didn't last very long. I know I should want them to be happy, but it'd be nice if we could spend more time feeling the war damage instead of giving things a Disney ending.

That's the thing. The entire plot felt formulaic. I figured things out before they were revealed ike Najwa and Zayele's unique relationship and where the whole royal wedding before they were actually revealed. And Najwa and Zayele's actions are pretty much what I'd expect from the brash teenage girls so popular in YA books today and who are celebrated as being passionate and kickass. Yes, they take strong action, but there isn't any good cause so far as I can see for them to act the way they do. What they do is stupid and reckless, and they're surprised when older, wiser people lecture them on the dangers of their behavior. I like strong girl characters, but I also want girls who set a good example.

The writing is as youthful as its narrators. I know what it wanted me to see, but it didn't immerse me in the world and the characters' lives. Not only that, but the story didn't have much organization to it. For the most part, it felt like it was taking us from place to place, following the girls as they try to find a way out of the mess they've gotten themselves into, and the story ends rather abruptly without giving us an idea of where it will be taking us in the next book.

I do like the Middle Eastern setting. It's rare to see, and though the crafting could use work, I enjoyed exploring Najwa and Zayele's world for the most part. I'm intrigued and am interested in seeing where The Jinni Wars will take us next.

Additional Information
  1. The Fire Wish
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6 comments on "Review: The Fire Wish by Amber Lough"
  1. Ooh, Tamora Pierce blurbed it? I love her and, yeah, that would probably have convinced me to pick it up. I like that it's a different setting, too.

    1. Yeah, I don't normally pick up a book because of an author blurb, but I just love Tamora Pierce!

  2. Hmm, well at least it was enjoyable even if formulaic. I had considered this one but with tight reading schedule, I will pass. Thanks for honest review though.

  3. Oh that's too bad the characters weren't more fleshed out. I guess I will skip this one for now, it sounds like it might irritate me a bit.

    1. Yeah, I wouldn't recommend this for the characters.


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