Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Jinn and Juice by Nicole Peeler

The Basics:
Jinn and Juice by Nicole Peeler
Book One in the Jinni series
Urban Fantasy
Published April 7, 2015
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Kobo Goodreads

Why I picked up this book:

The small version of the cover reminded me of a few late 1980s and early 1990s romance novels for which I have a soft spot. Also, I liked the blurb and haven't read anything featuring genies/jinni lately.


Cursed to be a jinni for a thousand years, Leila nears the end of her servitude—only to be bound once again against her will. Will she risk all to be human?

Born in ancient Persia, Leila turned to her house Jinni, Kouros, for help escaping an arranged marriage. Kouros did make it impossible for her to marry—by cursing Leila to live a thousand years as a Jinni herself.

If she can remain unBound, Leila's curse will soon be over. But Ozan Sawyer, a Magi with the ability to See, Call, and Bind jinn has other plans. 
Oz needs Leila to help him penetrate Pittsburgh's steel-soaked magic, a juice potent but poisonous to supernatural creatures, in order to find a missing girl with her own mysterious connection to Kouros. Unfortunately for Leila, becoming Bound to Oz may risk more than just her chance to be human once more—it could risk her very soul...

Jinn and Juice is the first in a new series by fantasy writer, Nicole Peeler, set in a world of immortal curses, powerful jinni and belly dancing.

My Thoughts:

This has happened to me more times lately than I care to admit: I picked up Jinn and Juice expecting one thing (paranormal romance), half-way through thought "Gee, this is really more urban fantasy than paranormal romance, and it'd would be an *awesome* idea for urban fantasy," and then went looking to see exactly how the book was being promoted and... lo and behold! It *is* tagged as urban fantasy.  

Head meet desk.

As it happens, Jinn and Juice is an excellent urban fantasy novel with a cover that led me astray. I loved that while there's still a mystery at the heart of the book, the set-up is very different from the normal detective/paranormal practitioner/protector of magic-kind tropes that are so common to the genre. 

Now, I don't know that Lyla had the weightiness of mind and spirit that I want to attribute to a one thousand-year-old but she was pretty darn entertaining. She's got sass and a chip on her shoulder. Her limits and powers are very well defined - which is important when the character is so powerful. She's got very clear motivation, and I was rooting for her from start to finish.

There's a colourful cast of characters surrounding Lyla, particularly the wisp-o-the-wisp, Yulia, and the spider wraith twins, Trip and Trap. I love that Jinn and Juice embraces some unusual creatures as secondary characters. Trip and Trap, in particular, could easily be found in a horror novel, but they feel absolutely right at home in Jinn and Juice, providing some otherworldly flavour.

The plot had some heavy elements - there's some talk here about cultural and gender-based oppression - but overall, I found it to be well-paced. There's plenty of worldbuilding that shows a great of balance. I read the book quickly and was entertained from start to finish. I'd also like to read the next in the series, so I'd call this one a success!

I know that the romance has been a point of some contention. I didn't feel like it was so terribly out of place (but perhaps I was influenced by my initial expectations about genre). Romantic subplots are popular in urban fantasy, and the closeness required by the master-slave relationship, combined with mutual sexual interest, and Oz refusing to behave the way that Lyla expects made it seem relatively believable to me. No less so than other nearly instant romances, at least.

Bottom line:

I enjoyed Jinn and Juice. I think that it stands out in the urban fantasy genre, for me, as having some unique components. I thought it was a quick and entertaining read, and happily recommend it. Also, I both love the cover and found it horribly misleading (based on my own book history).  

5 stars
For fans of urban fantasy, jinni

But don't just take my word for it! I grabbed a few links to other blog reviews of Jinn and Juice:

1 comment:

  1. Nicole has a great sense of humor. Glad to see this was a win for you!