Review: Tales of the Djinn: The Guardian
Tales of the Djinn: The Guardian by Emma Holly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This isn't your mother's I Dream of Jeannie nor the genie in Disney's Aladdin.
Elyse Solomon is reeling from the death of her father and now her husband. Unmotivated and trying to get through life, she finally decides to rent out the basement unit her husband had finished. It's a tiny place with no view, but it does lead out to a secluded and lovely garden. To her surprise, two exotically handsome and well-dressed gentlemen rent it for a year, paid in cash. Suspicious of their possible criminal affiliation, Elyse keeps an eye on them.
Arcadius is used to luxury where he comes from. Gemstones grow on trees for his people to pluck. He's on Earth to find a way to get back home and save his people. This is where the story gets wild. He's a Djiin from another place called Qaf. He and his most trusted aide, Joseph, are trying to find a way back home. The only way is with the help of Elyse.
The world building in this story is magical, no pun intended. Ms. Holly creates an interesting world of angels, djinn and ifrits. It is also a different interpretation of God's creations and the order he created his creatures. It is refreshing and unique. The descriptions of each location are spectacular. It's easy to visualize Elyse's brownstone apartment complex, the desert in Qaf, the harem-like rooms and the palace in Qaf. Although, I must admit, this book came to life as an animated cartoon in my mind rather than a regular movie.
The characters in this story are fabulous. It's easy to like Elyse and Arcardius. Their budding romance is sweet and at times humorous. Arcardius is a man of the old world while Elyse is an independent modern woman. The undertones of BDSM through implied sexual slavery and a bit of kinky sex is delicious. The one who stole the show though is Joseph. His story and how he responds to everyone makes him my favourite character. Ms. Holly does an excellent job with her characters. Even her evil ones are great, if predictably evil to the bone. There is very little gray in this world; it's black and white when it comes to good and evil.
What I really loved about this story is the stories within a story. It reminds me of Scheherazade telling her stories of One Thousand and One Nights. Each story is fabulous and heartbreaking. It's my kind of book because there are no happily-ever-afters. Instead it's a parable to teach a specific lesson. Be careful of what you wish for because you don't know how your wish will be granted.
Ms. Holly creates a fantastic tale of adventure, love, betrayal, friendship and possible redemption. Recommended for paranormal lovers who luxuriate in dark pleasures.
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