The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories reviewed

The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories Book Cover The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories
Neil Gaiman, Amal El-Mohtar, Catherine King, Claire North, E. J. Swift, Hermes, Jamal Majoub, James Smythe, J. Y. Yang, Kamila Shamsie, Kirsty Logan, K.J. Parker, Kuzhali Manickavel, Maria Dahvana Headley, Monica Byrne, Nada Adel Sobhi, Nnedi Okorafor, Saad Hossein, Sami Shah, Sophia Al-Maria, Usman Malik,
Fantasy
Solaris
March 14, 2017
ebook
356
NetGalley

A fascinating collection of new and classic tales of the fearsome Djinn, from bestselling, award-winning and breakthrough international writers. Imagine a world filled with fierce, fiery beings, hiding in our shadows, in our dreams, under our skins. Eavesdropping and exploring; savaging our bodies, saving our souls. They are monsters, saviours, victims, childhood friends. Some have called them genies: these are the Djinn. And they are everywhere. On street corners, behind the wheel of a taxi, in the chorus, between the pages of books. Every language has a word for them. Every culture knows their traditions. Every religion, every history has them hiding in their dark places. There is no part of the world that does not know them. They are the Djinn. They are among us. With stories from: Nnedi Okorafor, Neil Gaiman, Amal El-Mohtar, Catherine King, Claire North, E.J. Swift, Hermes (trans. Robin Moger), Jamal Majoub, James Smythe, J.Y. Yang, Kamila Shamsie, Kirsty Logan, K.J. Parker, Kuzhali Manickavel, Maria Dahvana Headley, Monica Byrne, Nada Adel Sobhi, Saad Hossein, Sami Shah, Sophia Al-Maria and Usman Malik.

This book has 21 chapters in “The Djinn falls in love and other stories” on the subject of Djinns.  With one or two exceptions these appear to be new stories.  The djinns are mainly an Islamic concept and the spelling varyies almost as much as the characteristics.  They can be quite “devilish”, they can grant wishes, they live for exceptionally long periods, they are magical and these terms really only scratch the surface of these beings that are created by godly fire.  It’s a subject that has always intrigued me so I was looking forward to reading this anthology.

These stories vary widely in era, approach and general setting. There are ones that have a far older feel and ones that are either modern or even sci fi based. Some of the content is violent (djinns can be seen as devils or devilish at least). Some content is sexual. Some are short and some are longer. If you have an interest in the subject there should be something for you here.

I guess the majority of these tales I did enjoy at least to some degree. The nature of such an anthology is that not all the stories will appeal to every reader. For me there were probably four standout stories. Neil Gaiman‘s story I enjoyed but, as it is from American Gods, I had read it before. It simply reminds me of what an excellent author he is.

I did enjoy the dark mischief of The Spite House by Kirsty Logan about djinns who are no longer that and do not grant wishes… or do they? It was well written and enjoyable.

There were two others which stood out for me. I found Black Powder by Maria Dahvana Headley extremely atmospheric and very well written. This really was one of those stories that effortlessly creates pictures with words. With a real feel of the Wild West and trappers this was also faintly contemporary and mysterious as well as edgy. Great story.

The other stand out tale also created a vivid picture with words for me. Reap by Sami Shah was a clever story. It is set in the USA with a section operating drones. However the real story occurs in Afghanistan as observed by the drone operators. I found it very atmospheric and crisply written. This is one that will stay with me, along with Black Powder, for some time to come.

I think there will always be highs and less attractive stories in such an anthology. Equally what those highs are will vary from reader to reader. However I thoroughly enjoyed reading most of the stories and even the less appealing ones were largely ok for me. This would be a good read for lovers of fantasy and certainly for anyone with an interest in tales about djinns.

Note – I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review