Release Date: August 19th 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
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 50 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 her clever girlfriend Siti, 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 the first book in P. Djèlí Clark’s Dead Djinn Universe. I’ve been making my way through the novellas and short stories in this world and I was incredibly excited to pick up this full-length novel. The story follows Fatma el-Sha’arawi, an agent in Egypt’s Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities. When a secret brotherhood ends up murdered in mysterious circumstances, Agent Fatma is on the case. When the murderer claims to be al-Jahiz returned, Fatma must work with her colleagues and girlfriend Siti to uncover who the imposter is or risk the civil unrest in Cairo spreading over the globe.
A Master of Djinn is a brilliant, addictive tale. After thoroughly enjoying the other stories set in this world, I got completely wrapped up in this fantastic story. I would note while this can be read without reading the other stories, I would highly recommend picking up A Dead Djinn in Cairo first. They are of course all brilliant stories and worth picking up. Clark has incredible worldbuilding and I loved learning about the magic and creatures. Steampunk Cairo practically leapt off the page and Clark’s vivid writing really brought it to life. A Master of Djinn is quite a quick-paced story, full of magic, murder and mystery. The book has had quite a bit of buzz around it already, and it’s absolutely easy to see why. This is a compelling book and one fantasy fans will just adore.
One of the stand out things for this book is the fascinating characters. Fatma is a brilliantly, clever detective. She’s a really quick, sarcastic character that you absolutely cannot help falling in love with. I enjoyed learning more about her backstory as well as seeing her cope with getting a new partner. I also really liked the dynamics between Fatma and Siti and enjoyed seeing how their relationship developed as the story progressed.
A Master of Djinn is a fascinating, unputdownable read. If you’re looking for a fantasy story to completely sweep you away, this is an absolute must-read.