Review: Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein

Review: Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein
Series: Becoming Jinn #1
Published by Feiwel & Friends on April 21st 2015
Pages: 384
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review

Forget everything you thought you knew about genies!

Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.

To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny.

Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters”, Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.


I so badly wanted to like this one. I did! Come on, genies? Who doesn’t like genies!? (The answer: anyone who encounters Azra.) And the concept itself is actually pretty fun: a family  of Jinn who, at sixteen, come into their powers and have to serve this pretty vile Jinn council. On that note, let’s talk about the things I liked:

  • Jinn culture is pretty intense! I did enjoy the Jinn background and worldbuilding, and I am pretty sure that the next book is going to offer up a lot in the way of Jinn politics and such. (At least, this book definitely paved the way for it to do so.)
  • Henry was a good character, even though I had to roll my eyes at him every so often. Azra’s closest Zar (Zar= close circle of jinn, basically) “sister” person and her mom’s best Zar friend were also pretty interesting (mostly because they were as fed up with Azra’s shenanigans as I was, really).
  • Toward the end of the book, I did get caught up in the story a bit more. Things started picking up, and I found myself more curious about the wish granting and the council and such. There were some developments toward the end of the book that really had me intrigued (of course, I can’t mention them, because of spoilers, but know that it did pick up for me quite a bit in the end), and I am really hoping that the next book will delve into the whole Jinn culture and wish-granting stuff more. tumblr_mzg1ynul7E1s36aafo1_500

But there were things I did not care for so much. Things like:

  • Azra. Girl, please. I understand you’re not exactly tickled at the thought of this Jinn stuff. But that’s akin to me waking up tomorrow morning, really pissed off that I have blue eyes. Even though I have known I would be a blue eyed person for my whole life. And then, being a real piece of work to every person around me, because damn it, I have blue eyes and I am pissed. That’s basically how Azra rolls. She doesn’t want to be a Jinn so…. she is snippy with everyone else? That doesn’t make any sense. And this group of Jinn who are her age, her Zar, all of whom are supposed to be her besties for life or whatever, have tried to reach out to her a lot. But what does Azra do? Bitch about them, ignore them, snark about them… you get the idea. I mean, if she stopped whining for five minutes, maybe she could, oh, I don’t know, try to improve her life?black-and-white-full-house-michelle-tanner-ashley-olsen-mary-kate-olsenShe does develop a bit more of a likable streak toward the end of the book, so you know, she may end up being decent by the end of the series? But she has a lot of work to do, and she should start with taking the selfishness down a notch.
  • The rest of the Zar just confused me. Honestly, there are twelve women, all of whom are Jinn, and I am sorry, I cannot remember their names or who they’re supposed to be. In my mind, they ended up as “that one chick’s mom” or “that kind of snobby one”.  Then add in romantic interests, friends, people getting wishes granted… my brain was done handling names.
  • Speaking of characters and such… let’s talk about the relationships.
    Problem #1: Nate. You can kindly leave the story now, Nate. You served exactly zero purpose, except to foster an eventual love triangle and infuriate me with some weird insta-relationship (not quite insta-love, but like, not normal progression either). Also, you were boring. tumblr_mcck9yJ9gl1ro2d43
    Problem #2: Too many cooks in the kitchen. Henry clearly likes Azra. Azra likes Nate. Then some girl comes around, and I think she also likes Nate, but when Nate and Azra get together after five seconds of interaction, she starts being interested in Henry. So… we have a ridiculous love square situation that didn’t add anything of value to the story. It kind of seemed like a bit of filler, if I am being honest.
    Problem #3: I know that physical appearance does play a part in relationships, I am not being naive and ridiculous here, but the vanity was just too much at times. For instance, Henry comments that all the boys in school just looooved Azra, but were either intimidated by her beauty, or “half choosing not to talk to you because you’re so freaking pretty, they figured you must be a total bitch.” Um what!? Are those the only choices? No no no.

Bottom Line: This is a really hard book for me to rate, honestly. I thought it had a ton of potential, and the idea is fantastic. And, there is room for it to grow, and I think it is a real possibility that it could end up being a pretty good series. That said, I had too many problems with it to rate it very high, and I can’t exactly rate a book on what could happen. But while this book didn’t work for me, the idea did, and I will likely pick up the sequel and give it another chance (but really, just one more chance). 2strs

Posted April 15, 2015 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Review , / 22 Comments

22 responses to “Review: Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein

  1. I love your reviews – they always manage to make me smile! What a shame this book doesn’t live up to its potential. I’ve seen quite a few negative reviews, so while the premise interests me I don’t think I’ll be picking it up any time soon.

    • Awww thanks! That made ME smile 😀 Yeah, unfortunately, I have encountered a LOT of other people who’ve felt the same. It’s a huge bummer. If the second one ends up being decent, I will let you know 😉

  2. Oh god, that love triangle was a pain in my backside. And I totally agree that I cannot remember a single name of any of her Zar sisters (and their moms) even if my life counted on it. They were all super bland and were kind of pointless. Henry was the only character I liked and yes, he acted really weirdly sometimes as well.

    So sorry you didn’t end up liking this either, Shannon. 🙁

  3. THERE ARE TEARS IN MY EYEBALLS RIGHT NOW, BECAUSE I’M SO DISAPPOINTED. *wails forever* I’ve wanted this book for. a. long. time…but this disappoints me. SO MUCH. And I probably will still read it, but a lot of your negatives were things that REALLY tick me off. Whiny narrators? Um, no thanks. And unnecessary love-squares? Ergh. (Although I guess if it’s not a triangle that’s somewhat refreshing… -_-) But lemme get back to crying. Why do the books with the best premises turn out the worst?! WHYYYY, WORLD, WHYYYYY??

    • I know, I am so very sorry. I mean, you SHOULD still read it, I do know some people liked it… but yeah, they are some hard things to look past, unfortunately. It gets better toward the end though!

  4. I think I’ll stay away from it, but it’s good that you’re willing to give this series another chance. If you want a great novel with a djinn, try Summoned by Rainy Kaye 😉

    • I usually wouldn’t give a book I rated so low another go, but I felt like there really WAS something there, it just needs to be… overhauled, or something. Less weird crappy romance and bad attitude, more Jinn shenanigans and action (and Henry!)

  5. Man,Azra sounds like a piece of work!I hate whiny characters who complain about everything.Especially if they are the MCs.
    However,I think I should give this book a chance,because I am quite intrigued by the whole Jinn concept.
    Thanks for the warning anyway Shannon.Great review!

    • She really IS a piece of work. I mean, I don’t know how her portrayal was intended to be, but it wasn’t just “flawed”, it was outright infuriating! I agree that you should give it a try! I do know people who have liked it a lot, and it DOES have good points! I hope you love it!


    I couldn’t deal with Azra at all and ended up DNFing because it’s the classic “dumb girl gets power in her pinky finger” and that upsetted me. The romance was not for me at all and I couldn’t deal with how 95% of the people were immature – with Azra at the lead.

    • I don’t know when you DNFed, but she ends up doing some really dumb stuff with said pinky finger 😉 The romance was so maddening. Nate had the personality of a wall, and there was zero chemistry (I guess because of the aforementioned wallish personality!) I mean, I get that she was mad, and acting immature because of it, but still. She couldn’t change it, so she might as well have adjusted!

  7. Boooooooo. Sounds like this is a relationship drama rather than about ACTUAL jinnis. I’m pretty glad now that I didn’t get an ARC or tour of this book now because it sounds terribly boring 😛 I HOPE YOUR NEXT BOOK IS BETTTTTTER SHANNON 😛

  8. Yay for the Jinn culture, that sounds pretty interesting, haha, liking the others because they were as fed up as you were. 😉 Hmm, at least it did pick up towards the end, long wait though…Oh no, no no no, Azra, no. That’s my problem with a bigger cast of characters, ou can never remember their names unless they have a personality (to be honest, that’s only how I remember their names). I am not even going to comment on the romance. Nope. :/ The other half have got something right though, she is a bitch. Not because she’s pretty. Just a bitch. I am getting increasingly pissed at this book and I haven’t even read it!

    • Hahahha I love that you are mad at a book you haven’t read 😉 But yeah, basically everyone knew that Azra was acting like an ass except Azra! And maybe Henry, but he wasn’t exactly thinking with his head. And Nate… well who cares about him. The Jinn culture stuff was very cool though, and from what I saw of it, very well thought out, so hopefully the next book will be better!

  9. It’s super frustrating when a book has a lot of potential but never realizes it, because it COULD be so good. I’m sorry you didn’t like this one, it was on my to-read list too, but now I’ll probably rethink picking it up, because all the problems you had with it are things that would bother me too!

    • It really IS frustrating! I mean, if it was just crap, then it would almost be better, if that makes sense- because there is just SO much potential. Though, I still think the series CAN recover, the bones are good enough that Azra can shape up, and the story could get really good, which is why I am not writing it off just yet 😉

  10. Yeah Azra was a hard character to like. I thought it wad weird how most of her questionable actions were in the past.

    Also this was a very vain book when it came to character appearances. Why does everyone has to be insanely good looking?

    I personally wanted less relationships and more kicking Afrit butt.

    • YES! What was with the vanity!? I mean, yes, as a teen (or now, now works too!) I would NOT mind waking up with a nice dose of pretty. BUT, after that, I could probably stop talking about it 😉

      And I agree- Afrit butt kicking would have been AMAZING. Which is why I still hold out hope for the sequel, really!

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