A Master of Djinn: A Novel Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
2021 NYPL Best Books of the Year
2022 Nebula Awards - Winner
"[Narrator Suehyla] El-Attar expertly creates a vibrant version of Cairo that captures a heady blend of the cosmopolitan and the supernatural that will win many new fans." (AudioFile Magazine)
Nebula, Locus, and Alex Award-winner P. Djèlí Clark returns to his popular alternate Cairo universe for his fantasy novel debut, A Master of Djinn
Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer.
So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world 40 years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage.
Alongside her Ministry colleagues and a familiar person from her past, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city- or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems....
A Master of Djinn is poised to launch P. Djèlí Clark’s SFF career to new heights as the highly-anticipated debut listeners are clamoring for.
Novellas by P. Djèlí Clark
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A Macmillan Audio production from Tordotcom
"Listeners will be charmed by dashing, bowler-hat-wearing, janbiya-carrying Fatma el-Sha’arawi in book one of Clark’s Dead Djinn Universe series.... At times wry, often witty, [Suehyla] El-Attar’s delivery is an anchoring force from which a multitude of mortal and mystical characters emerge." (Booklist)
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|Listening Length||15 hours and 37 minutes|
|Author||P. Djèlí Clark|
|Audible.ca Release Date||May 11 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #16,070 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#39 in Alternate History Science Fiction
#90 in Steampunk Science Fiction (Books)
#184 in Historical Fantasy (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from Canada
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I’ve taught high school English lit students with better grammar and word use. If someone edited this, get a better editor for the sequel.
There is a deluge of Middle Eastern words that aren’t in the Kindle dictionary or any standard dictionary. I suppose it adds exotica, but the frequency is overdone.
It seems to follow the typical exasperating student error of using a thesaurus without a deep grasp of the connotations. He chooses the synonym that isn’t a more exact word, just a more unusual word so it is just awkward.
A good editor could greatly improve this work.
A couple of years back this man named Al Jahiz opened up a doorway and ploop magic came thru; djinns, ifrits, Marids now walk the street with every day people.
I loved the beautifully written historical setting. I wish we got more character introspection & interaction cos I'm a character > plot kinda girl but the mystery was intriguing and dare I say it , I may have found a male author that can write women characters really well ?
Usually I'm not into a mystery/investigation premise but there is so much to love : we have a lush, beautifully written setting, a lovable snarky lesbian protagonist, djinns , a historical fiction aspect that covers the Egyptian, Soudanese and abyssinian empires. I feel immersed and also educated at the same time.
Cant wait for others to get their hands on this one 🧞♂️🕌🧐
Thanks to tordotcom for the early copy!
Top reviews from other countries
Cairo in the early part of the 20th century, and magic exists. As do Djinn. This has turned Egypt into a major player in world politics, and in fact are getting ready to host a peace conference with the European powers.
At the same time, a secret group, dedicated to the life of Al-Jahiz, once the most respected mystical wise man in Egypt, are all killed in ways reminiscent of a magical attack. Into this steps Fatma, an agent for the Egyptian Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities. She must work out who is responsible, and if Al-Jahiz has actually returned
The germs of a good book are here, but it feels like it doesn't know what it wants to be, so falls between too many stools.
It isn't really a mystery, it's fairly obvious who the protagonist is quite early in the book, and I'm not entirely sure how Fatma doesn't see it. Given that she has been handed a partner she doesn't want (like every bad cop movie), there are two investigators, who don't seem to know how to investigate. There is a feeling that everything is getting shown step by step, so by the time the final unmasking comes it's about as surprising as an old episode of Scooby-Doo.
The world building is competent, but not as strong as it could be. In a historical context, I'd have liked to have seen some sort of reasoning for the liberalisation of Egypt. It appears much further along than Europe, and it may well be due to some social pressures associated with magic, it's just never mentioned. It's also barely mentioned what is happening outside Egypt that means other countries don't catch up with it. There's a couple of scenes with Jazz musicians who've emigrated from the states, this could have been used so much better to lay out the world, instead it is a missed opportunity. The one good thing about reading this on the kindle, is where there are things mentioned which are Egyptian, the built in dictionary helps to define it.
The action scenes however are really well done. It's really difficult to do a multipart fight scene, but the big set piece battles are beautifully planned out, and very well executed.
Its a shame but it never really properly clicked with me
The narrow streets, bazaars and wizened shopkeepers of old Cairo sing to you. So well drawn; I felt like Aladdin. There is magic on every page and a feeling of omnipotence; that if you can imagine it, your wishes will be granted. This is a fairly lengthy book but it doesn’t feel like a long read. The writing is as smooth as caramel and there are no tangled threads to divert your attention from the principal characters and to find out if al-Jahiz really does live up to his own hype. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Truly a magical read.
Where this book is at its strongest is having two women characters who can show alternate views of Egypt’s modernisation and progression. While Fatma is more “european” for lack of a better word - masculine dress and approach, more secular, Hadia is devout, wears the headscarf and is a bit more traditional in her approach. However both demonstrate that Egypt in this world is balancing both and that being modern doesn’t necessarily require mimicking the west wholesale.
Speaking of which, the worldbuilding in this novel is incredible. An alternate 1920’s Egypt where the English were expelled much earlier due to the discovery of magic and jinn decades before, the world is alive and the potential for a completely different history in other parts of the world is hinted at in several key scenes. In fact, part of me longed for those stories of India freeing itself earlier, Germany taking a different path by relying on its folklore creatures, there’s a wealth of potential offshoots and alternative stories hinted at and ready to explore.
Ultimately Master of Djinn is a fun adventure novel that has some intricate and interesting world building that elevates what could be a fairly routine plot into something fresh and interesting.