A jinni. A princess. And the wish that changes everything. . . .
Najwa is a jinni, training to be a spy in the war against the humans. Zayele is a human on her way to marry a prince of Baghdad—which she’ll do anything to avoid. So she captures Najwa and makes a wish. With a rush of smoke and fire, they fall apart and re-form—as each other. A jinni and a human, trading lives. Both girls must play their parts among enemies who would kill them if the deception were ever discovered—enemies including the young men Najwa and Zayele are just discovering they might love.
This was a really quick, cute read.
I thought there would be more action, plot twists, and court intrigue but it was a fairly simple plot that ended nicely.
The setting is the Middle East, where jinnis exist. Najwa is a jinni and Zayele is a human. They’re the two main characters and the book is told in their alternating views. When Zayele meets Najwa on her way to marry the younger prince of Baghdad at the time, Kamal, she wishes for the jinni to take her place. To be honest I thought it was a really weak move on the character’s part, but it got the plot moving. They end up trading spots entirely and Najwa takes up Zayele’s role to marry the prince while Zayele gets transported to the jinni world, the Cavern. The descriptions were quite nice, with its glittering homes and bubbling lakes. But the book really doesn’t deliver that well.
I thought there would be a lot of cool deception! Twists! Spying! Huge revelations! The spying scenes take place mostly in the beginning, and aren’t that exciting. Jinnis just wish themselves to vanish while they eavesdrop. There was so much of the plot that could’ve been explored further, but are just briefly touched upon. (In the description it talked about a war. What war? Lol never in the book was I excited about a war.)
I appreciated how different the two narrators were, and how it showed. Najwa is an obedient and quiet girl while Zayele is more outgoing and spontaneous. However, despite these obvious characterizations they are also almost too dumb to exist (I’m trying to find substitutions for tstl). Zayele shows her remarkable lack of wite in the jinni world (the Cavern) when she has to get saved by the character she falls into insta-love with. Najwa is obedient and quiet (like above description) to the point of being bland and weak. Also, the chapters were really short and I would read like a single scene until they changed perspectives again. This really ruined the effects of a cliffhanger chapter, since I knew that I would get back to the other girl’s story in like a minute.
There WAS a pretty large plot twist in the book, but it wasn’t that surprising and I thought it was all rather boring, to be honest. It’s hard to stay that interested in a book that doesn’t have anything else to add to it other than a cool atmosphere of being in the Middle East (which wares off once it focuses on the dry insta-love).
The love interests developed rather too quickly, and although it was cute seeing the girls fall for the guys meant for the other, they fell in love faster than Romeo and Juliet.
This book really caters more to middle schoolers than a young adult reader in my opinion. If I were still in middle school I would probably enjoy the whole magic thing going on and simple plot (as well as the obligated romance) but as a high schooler I’d be searching for something with a bit more substance.