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.Kindle Edition, 384 pagesPublished November 25th 2014 by Orbit
Three stars: A book with interesting and varied characters, but it is held back by a slow pace and it is lacking a bit of something.
Leila adjusts her impressive snake headdress as she prepares to head on stage for her burlesque number. Leila is a belly dancer and a jinni. For the last one thousand years, she has lived and served numerous masters, and now she is only days away from finally breaking the curse that will end her life as a jinni. All she has to do is stay low and keep away from any Magi. Unfortunately for Leila while dancing on stage, she is spotted by a Magi. Before she knows it, Leila is bound again, and it looks like she won't be breaking her curse anytime soon. Will Leila spend another thousand years as a jinni?
What I Liked:
- I haven't read many jinni books, so I was eager to dive in and read Jinn and Juice. I was not disappointed in the jinn and the rest of the paranormal creatures. If you are wanting a book with jinn, this is a good one to try. I especially liked the way Ms. Peeler developed the mythology and history of the jinn. Don't expect this to be a story about rubbing a lamp and getting three wishes. The jinn are so much complicated than that.
- For me, the secondary characters stole the show. Leila spent years and years serving others and living a solitary life before finding her way to Pittsburgh where she made some interesting and loyal friends. Leila's group of friends consist of a troll, a will o' wisp, a seer, a drag queen and two spider lithe named Trip and Trap. I loved the varied cast of paranormal, and I enjoyed that they were one big happy family.
- Leila, the jinni, is an intriguing protagonist. She was a human cursed to be a jinni by a powerful jinni. Leila has been an outcast jinni for the last thousand years, and now she is looking to break her curse. She is intelligent, determined and resourceful. I liked getting to know her and learning her history. She was completely different from what I expected as far as jinn go.
- This is a Urban Fantasy novel driven by the plot. I appreciated that there was plenty of action, lots of developments and that it for the most part refrains from a romance. There is the beginning of a romance, but nothing that overtakes the plot. I liked the uniqueness of the world, the characters and the story.
- I enjoyed watching the relationship unfold and change between Leila and Oz. It starts out with the two at odds, and then over time, they begin to work together and become friends with the potential for something more. Oz was a solid, stand up good guy, and I liked watching Leila learn to trust him and count on him as a friend.
- The ending is fast and furious and it comes to a satisfactory close. There isn't a cliffhanger, but there are new story lines laid out for the next book.
And The Not So Much:
- I quickly became engaged after the first chapter, and I was expecting this to be a great read, but for some reason, it began to fade and drag in the middle. I thought the pace slowed significantly, and I found I wasn't as locked into the story as I hoped. I ended it thinking it was a good read, but it lacked something overall. I guess I was hoping for so much more.
- The world building is good and I thought the author did a good job of explaining the paranormal plane of Sideways. The book is set in Pittsburgh, but I never felt like the author did a good job of developing the Pittsburgh part. This was where the world building faltered for me.
- I was expecting this book to be full of snark and humor. Ms Peeler's Jane True series is known for its humor. I was disappointed in the lack of humor in this one. There were a few lines that made me smile, but nothing that made me snicker or laugh out loud. I found the lack of humor disappointing.
- Early on, a story line involving a missing friend, a kitsune, is introduced. Later, the fate of the friend is learned, and then nothing further happens. I was expecting a bit more from this character and that story line, but it went nowhere.
- I wish a bit more history on Leila's past and some of her former masters was shared. She has a great deal of animosity toward the Mage, and I wanted to know more about her misfortune while bound to other masters so I could better understand what her life as a jinni was like and why she hated the Mage as much as she does.
Overall Jinn and Juice had the potential to be a great read, it has interesting characters, well developed mythology, good world building, and an action packed story line, but it falters a bit with too much information and a slow middle. I liked it, but at this point, I am not certain as to whether or not I will continue as it lacked a bit of something for me.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.