Of all the myriad races of thinking creatures in the world, the two that most delight in telling stories are the flesh-and-blood humans and the long-lived, fiery jinn.The Hidden Palace, Helene Wecker, HarperCollins 2021
I don’t remember exactly why, but I remember absolutely loving in that swept-away-recommend-everyone way the prequel to this: The Golem and the Jinni. Maybe it’s a sophomore slump or the time between has dropped the rose colour from my glasses, but I didn’t love this one. Sadly.
My biggest complaint is how compartmentalized it felt: there’s never much room given to have the story flow, instead of continuously moving on to another character, another angle, another location. It’s like the notes for a story; not a story.
Of course, it’s still a wonderful look at a young New York city (although not that young anymore, with the first World War around the corner), a broad view at the mythology/-ies of golem and jinns. Some of the new characters add to the stories of the golem and the jinn, others take up too much space and sentimentally planned scenes (assuming, of course) don’t pull at the heart strings at all or only very little.
It’s all too one-dimensional, but there’s rumours there’ll be another book. Maybe the third time is the charm – again.