I received this galley in consideration for an honest review.The Fire Wish by Amber Lough
Series: The Jinni Wars
Published by Random House on July 22, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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.
The Fire Wish takes the oft used idea of two girls from different worlds who switch places, but sets it in a magically alternate Baghdad, where the humans and the Jinni have been at war for centuries. From the beginning, I really enjoyed the excellent world building and the way the story pushed forward, never losing its momentum. Both Najwa and Zayele want control of their futures and, for different reasons, both girls feel like they don’t have the agency they desire. When they switch places, both are forced to try to play the roles they were given, and both are terrified of being discovered. Their desperate attempts to remain undetected were well written and made for some very tense situations. The cultures of the Jinni and the humans are very different from one another, and it was brilliant the way we got to see the contrasts through Najwa and Zayele’s experiences in each other’s worlds. Instead of being told what was different, we were shown through their struggles to fit in to their new environments, and the dual points of view gave me the feeling of being in the story rather than just observing it. In addition to their attempts to escape detection, there were some really well placed plot twists that created momentum that will carry over nicely into book two.
The Fire Wish was a refreshing change of pace from many of the folklore-based books I’ve been reading. The stories of the Middle East are not often used as the basis for YA books, at least from what I encounter here in the States. It was interesting and fun to read a book set in a culture that, unfortunately, doesn’t always get credit for its rich history and numerous contributions. The writing was beautiful and had a deftness to it that made it both meaningful and easy to read. Happily, it’s a book that I feel comfortable recommending to all ages of YA readers. Once I became immersed in the story, I did not want to leave it. I admit that The Fire Wish was not really on my radar, but I am so glad I decided to read it and I hope that many others will give it a chance. The romance, action, and unique setting makes The Fire Wish a book that deserves a place on your reading list.