A jinni. A princess. And the wish that changes everything. . . .
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.
I didn’t know much going into this novel only that it had to do with the jin. Immediately upon starting this book I was intrigued since the setting was in the Middle East. I don’t believe I’ve ever read another book to take place completely there so that was an unexpected perk of this book. I enjoyed the change of scenery the setting provided and thought it added a bit of unique flare to this novel.
Otherwise the book was entertaining though I never connected in a deep way to the story or the characters. I found the pacing to be moderate though this wasn’t the type of book I had to keep reading or couldn’t wait to pick up. Sadly, I sort of meandered through the book and set it aside at various times for several days. Not because it was bad in any way, I just never felt compelled to devote all my time to it.
As I said, I did enjoy the setting and felt that Lough did a wonderful job vividly describing her world. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of the jinni kingdom full of beauty and magic far under the earth’s surface. I could easily visualize the world and wanted to spend more time getting to know both Baghdad and the jinn caverns.
Though the setting was unique sadly the story was not. The basis of the book, as you can see in the summary, was that of two girls (human and jinn) switching places with one another. I wasn’t bothered with this plot device but it did make for me forgetting frequently which girl was which. That’s a good segue to my next section…
This was where this story failed for me. I enjoyed the setting and overall story but the characters all meshed together. I never found any of them to be unique and the two girls voices were very similar. Though the chapters were titled with who’s point of view we were in I still couldn’t remember which was which. For a switching roles story this was a big problem. Because of my disconnect I could never get fully invested in the characters or the story. Funny enough, I feel that the secondary characters were entirely more interesting and I feel that I can recall much more about them than the two leads.
Beyond the main characters being easily confused and forgotten the romance was very insta-love. We had two romances and both were lightly developed leaving me wishing that both had been explored further.
Though The Fire Wish relied on a fairly simplistic plot I did love Lough’s descriptions of the setting. I enjoyed the diverse nature of the characters and to read descriptions of the Middle East. Sadly though, I never connected to the characters because I felt that they were not able to stand out from each other. I found them too similar and couldn’t have told you which I was reading if the chapter wasn’t labeled with the point of view’s name. Given that, the book was still entertaining and was refreshing enough that I would read the second installment.
I had the honor of being on the Blog Tour for this book and interviewing Amber Lough. You can read the interview here (and enter to win a copy).