Customer Reviews for

The Golem and the Jinni

Average Rating 4.5
( 84 )
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(56)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

While I was initially drawn to this title simply by the title, t

While I was initially drawn to this title simply by the title, this has become one of my favorite reads this year.  Combining the feel of a fairy tale with a romance and mixing in a serious underlying story that weaves in cultures, history, and folklore to create a tale...
While I was initially drawn to this title simply by the title, this has become one of my favorite reads this year.  Combining the feel of a fairy tale with a romance and mixing in a serious underlying story that weaves in cultures, history, and folklore to create a tale of the immigrant experience that is unlike any I have ever read.  




The Golem; Chava, is a figure born from clay and known in the lore of the Eastern European Jews.  Ahmad, the Jinni, is born of the fire in the Bedouin camps in the Syrian desert.  Together the essence of who they are is trapped in human forms, as they are navigating the immigrant neighborhoods and experiences of 1890’s New York.  These two very disparate characters manage to form a friendship and ultimately a bond that traverses their cultural differences and the pull of their destinies against their desires and free will. 




Solidly researched and impeccably characterized, the story carefully and precisely wends its way through the immigrant neighborhoods as it carefully lays groundwork to bring all of the pieces together at the end.  Both Ahmad and Chava have knowledge and magic that can be used to alter and change perceptions or situations, should they, could they and will they utilize this for noble or selfish purpose.  All will be answered when your travel through the streets and neighborhoods of New York.  




As a first novel, this couldn’t have been better.  Never did the story suffer from an overload of information or descriptions, nor was the pacing impacted as the information was presented.  Every character is well defined and built and minute details are not missed, the neighborhoods and people fairly come to life in your imagination.  The book is enchanting and will please many readers from all walks of life. 




I received an eBook copy from the publisher from Edelweiss for purpose of honest review.  I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. 

posted by gaele on April 23, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

9 out of 64 people found this review helpful.

U

Another braggart plot spoiler review, bragging how they got the book for free for their * honest and unbiased* opinion, which right off tells me it will reveal everything while brown-nosing the author, which doesnt really give a true review. Its just a mini rewrite of t...
Another braggart plot spoiler review, bragging how they got the book for free for their * honest and unbiased* opinion, which right off tells me it will reveal everything while brown-nosing the author, which doesnt really give a true review. Its just a mini rewrite of the book, which gives the poster a deluded sense of being an author themselves. These plot spoilers should not be allowed to post these spoilers.

posted by 8888649 on April 24, 2013

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Page 1 of 5
  • Posted April 23, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    While I was initially drawn to this title simply by the title, t

    While I was initially drawn to this title simply by the title, this has become one of my favorite reads this year.  Combining the feel of a fairy tale with a romance and mixing in a serious underlying story that weaves in cultures, history, and folklore to create a tale of the immigrant experience that is unlike any I have ever read.  




    The Golem; Chava, is a figure born from clay and known in the lore of the Eastern European Jews.  Ahmad, the Jinni, is born of the fire in the Bedouin camps in the Syrian desert.  Together the essence of who they are is trapped in human forms, as they are navigating the immigrant neighborhoods and experiences of 1890’s New York.  These two very disparate characters manage to form a friendship and ultimately a bond that traverses their cultural differences and the pull of their destinies against their desires and free will. 




    Solidly researched and impeccably characterized, the story carefully and precisely wends its way through the immigrant neighborhoods as it carefully lays groundwork to bring all of the pieces together at the end.  Both Ahmad and Chava have knowledge and magic that can be used to alter and change perceptions or situations, should they, could they and will they utilize this for noble or selfish purpose.  All will be answered when your travel through the streets and neighborhoods of New York.  




    As a first novel, this couldn’t have been better.  Never did the story suffer from an overload of information or descriptions, nor was the pacing impacted as the information was presented.  Every character is well defined and built and minute details are not missed, the neighborhoods and people fairly come to life in your imagination.  The book is enchanting and will please many readers from all walks of life. 




    I received an eBook copy from the publisher from Edelweiss for purpose of honest review.  I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. 

    13 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2013

    Magical Realism

    I love Salman Rushdie's magical realism. I don't care for anyone else's. Until I read "The Golem And The Jinni" by Helene Welker. 1899 NewYork presented as well by anyone since Caleb Carr. Characterization, time, and place like Dickens.
    Not as dense as Rushdie so accessible by more readers than eggheads like myself. I usually read a book in a day or two, this one I streched out to two weeks like nibbling a great meal.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2013

    U

    Another braggart plot spoiler review, bragging how they got the book for free for their * honest and unbiased* opinion, which right off tells me it will reveal everything while brown-nosing the author, which doesnt really give a true review. Its just a mini rewrite of the book, which gives the poster a deluded sense of being an author themselves. These plot spoilers should not be allowed to post these spoilers.

    9 out of 64 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2013

    Really good book

    Unlike some who choose to give away the entire plot including the ending, I just want to say tha I love this book. The story moves along nicly without ever getting bogged down. The characters are real and to me believable. I whole heartedly recommend this novel.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 7, 2013

    Excellent on several levels

    I really enjoyed this book. It was truly unique and I loved the characters - they were very well developed and I'm picky about that. It had a great fantasy premise that was written well enough to seem plausible. The story really drew me in and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Even the secondary characters were interesting and had nice depth.

    I also liked getting a flavor of turn of the century New York. The idea of it being in little Syria gave it a unique twist and the Jewish community was fascinating to me also. There was so much to like about this book. The writing was well crafted and had a nice pacing to it. Enough detail to bring it to life but not so much it got bogged down. The plot moved along nicely and kept me interested.

    Both the golem and the jinni had their flaws but that made them interesting. I really wanted to find out what would happen to them. I would thoroughly recommend this book.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2013

    Great book

    Masterfully told and beautiful. Wish i would have bought it in hard cover to keep on my bookshelf next to all the other great works of literature!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2013

    I loved this book and couldn't put it down.

    I loved this book and couldn't put it down.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2013

    Killer read

    Buy it!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2013

    This is an excellent book well written, I also had this book in

    This is an excellent book well written, I also had this book in Audio format. The narrator is excellent and the varies voices he used for each individual characters was very well done. I highly recommend this book and or audiobook.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The Golem and The Jinni by Helene Wecker (thanks to the Devourer

    The Golem and The Jinni by Helene Wecker (thanks to the Devourer of Books) which was really long but surprisingly good!

    We discussed it over at Devourer of Books, but I’ll give you a quickie overview here.  A golem is created by a rabbi in order to be a wife for a not-so-wonderful man.  Problem?  A golem is inherently bad, and will listen to a master. . . but can still get out of hand.

    A jinni (much like the genie we think of) is released from a bottle after many years, but still manacled.  Why?  How’d he get like that?

    Both the golem and the jinni are lucky enough to meet mentors that help guide them on their paths.  But they are both very restless creatures, and when they coincidentally meet each other, their lives change.

    So even though the book is super long, take a chance on it!  It’s worth the read!  

    Thanks for reading,  

    Rebecca @ Love at First Book

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2013

    Absolutely loved this book, and its amazing originality!

    Absolutely loved this book, and its amazing originality!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    A truly captivating story

    Just finished reading this great novel by Helen Wecker and found myself delighted in the rich and imaginative story telling. A great read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The Golem and The Jinni is Helen Wecker's debut novel.....and oh

    The Golem and The Jinni is Helen Wecker's debut novel.....and oh boy, what a debut!

    We're quite used to books about 'supernatural' beings - vampires, werewolves, witches and more. But Wecker's two protagonists aren't as 'famous'.

    Otto Rotfield wants a wife to take with him when he emigrates to America. But, he wants her to fit the mold he has imagined. To that end, he approaches a man steeped in mystery and asks him to create a Golem - a creature made entirely of clay and destined to serve its master's every command. She is a masterpiece. When Otto falls ill on the boat journey, he manages to animate the Golem before he dies. And so this creature lands in New York City in 1899, uninformed as to the ways of the world, how to behave, what to expect and how she will hide among the humans. It is her good luck that an old rabbi recognizes her for what she is - and takes her in.

    Not far away in Little Syria (Lower Manhattan) a local woman brings a battered copper flask to the neighbourhood metalworker for repair. When he erases one of the intricate designs that encircle the flask......you guessed it - a Jinni is released. The Jinni faces the same challenges as that of the Golem - he has been trapped in the flask for thousands of years.

    And chance being what it is, these two beings - one of earth and one of fire - meet, and each recognizes that the other is not of this world. Their lives are entwined in ways they could not imagine....and someone else is watching them...

    Oh, where to start! The setting is beautifully brought to life by Wecker. The lives of immigrants, the wealthy, the tenements, daily life, night life, attractions such as Central Park and more provide a rich and detailed background for Wecker's novel.

    The Golem and the Jinni are both mythical creatures, but Wecker's writing made them very real and 'human'. I found myself so caught up in their story, rooting for them and hoping they would find happiness. The supporting cast of characters is just as well drawn and equally compelling.

    This was such a unique and different idea for a novel. Middle Eastern mysticism mixed with Jewish folklore and dipped into New York City's rich history. And under Wecker's skillful pen, it really works.

    But such is the stuff of magical stories - dastardly villains, good vs. evil, sacrifice, love won and lost, fast friendships and more. And this is the feeling that Helene Wecker's novel gave me - that I was sitting in a beautiful silk tent somewhere in the desert, reclining on pillows and listening to Scheherazade spin one of her 1001 tales. I was enthralled from first page to last. Wecker has truly woven a magical debut.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2013

    What a wonderful, well-written story.  I found myself truly cari

    What a wonderful, well-written story.  I found myself truly caring about these characters.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 12, 2013

    very interesting!

    This was well written and had a complex plot, and interwoven characters and events - from the past and present. Very interesting, unique story and settings - and though these mainly concerned two non-human beings (a jinni, or genie) and a "golem" - a man-made being/creature - all the human elements were contained in them and the rest of the story. Very captivating.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 12, 2013

    Loved it

    This was fun and interesting. I enjoyed the characters and the imaginative interactions between cultures. I will be looking for more from this author!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2013

    3AM and still reading

    It has been a long time since I have come across a book that I did not want to stop reading. This is a wondrful story that blends history, mysticism, and romance in a seamless story that crosses the ages.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2013

    Enjoyed this book

    Two magical characters must learn to try and live in a humane world. Each of them struggle with the emotions of the humane beings around them. Both are slaves of a kind. They form a lasting friendship, and then struggle with the feelings they have for one and other. It is a strange and extremely original story. I enjoyed the writing style of Helen Wecker, and will be looking for more books by this author. This book would be enjoyed by readers of fantasy it is one of the most original fantasy novels I have read in a long time. I would recommend this book for book club discussions, there are many complex relationships, societal, moral issues etc. to discuss.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2013

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading this turn of the century fairy tail i

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading this turn of the century fairy tail in the middle of NYC.  All of the characters and circumstances were very interesting and kept me wanting to read more.  I see one reviewer said he found the book confusing, but that might be due to the flashbacks that if you keep on reading tie everything together.  

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 1, 2013

    Stumbled upon it in the bookstore and so glad I did. Loved it!

    Stumbled upon it in the bookstore and so glad I did. Loved it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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