Book Review: Obsessions of a Djinni (The Djinn Chronicles Book 1) by Claudia Herring

 
 
Hundreds of years ago, the djinni Yasir was separated from his love and bound to an urn to be a wish-granting slave. In 1811, Peter finds the urn on an expedition, and Yasir is reunited with his love, who is also his new master's wife. Yasir will do nearly anything to get his life back, and Lavinia gets caught in the middle of two dangerous men while struggling to reconcile with memories of her past life and trying to decide which man is the right choice.
 

 
Book Review: Obsessions of a Djinni (The Djinn Chronicles Book 1) by Claudia Herring | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, paranormal romance, historical, djinn
Title: Obsessions of a Djinni
Author:
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 364
My Book Rating:
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon
 

Review:

*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*

I’ll start by saying I had concerns this might be too “erotic romance that just kind of happens to have a djinni” for my taste. Something about the cover and blurb just gave me that vibe. But my love of djinn won out, I decided to give the book a try, and luckily my concerns were unfounded. Despite the romance being the focus, the book didn’t have a typical romance feel, it wasn’t full of sex scenes, the djinni aspect was a very integral part of the story, and it was the complexity of the characters and their situation that made this book stand out.

The whole book had a mysterious, ominous, serious feel. The writing was just the right amount of lavish and elegant to fit the story. The historical settings were richly and vividly depicted (I especially loved the depiction of Cairo, even though the time spent there was very brief). This is an author who clearly can write.

I did feel, however, the book could’ve been more polished or trimmed. There were some brief forays into POVs that didn’t seem necessary. There was sometimes too much description for my taste. There were scenes when “less is more” might’ve worked better (like the torture scene). None of these things were terrible, they mostly just slowed the book down. Also, this is the first in a series, but the book still ended in kind of an abrupt spot.

Something I loved though was this author’s version of djinn! They weren’t human. They could turn into mist and shapeshift. They had magic. They could be bound to objects and turned into wish-granting slaves by sorcerers. And the descriptions of Yasir’s appearance, clothes, and home inside the urn were so beautiful. I didn’t understand all the rules governing Yasir’s magic since he was bound but could also do magic of his own free will, but that doesn’t mean there were no rules, it just means I didn’t know what they were.

Last but certainly not least… These characters were not likeable people, but I found myself not entirely blaming them for the bad things they were doing, and that was my favorite aspect of the book. Their situations were not black-or-white, and I loved that they gave me such mixed feelings. (The section below contains mild spoilers, and if you already know you want to read the book, you may find more enjoyment in getting to know the characters on your own.)

*SPOILER*

Peter was not a terrible man to Lavinia before Yasir’s spell changed him, but he wasn’t a great person either. He desecrated graves for their treasures. He enjoyed haggling simply because he enjoyed getting things from people and knowing he paid less than they were worth. He may have cheated on Lavinia with prostitutes. He was a neglectful husband; he treated Lavinia well, but she was just one of his many treasures, more like a possession than a person to him. And let’s not forget that he married a girl who was only 16, and he was very insistent on getting her pregnant. Maybe that was normal at the time, but it still makes me feel less sympathy for him. All that being said, it wasn’t his fault when he turned physically abusive, and I felt bad that he was having his mind and his memories messed with.

Yasir did some real shady, not ok things. Namely he messed with people’s heads by casting spells to make them forget or to make them act/feel differently in order to get what he wanted. But I would expect no less from a vengeful, enslaved djinni on a mission. Djinn are not human, and I’m ok with supernaturals having a different moral code. I still found myself sympathizing with him for being tortured and enslaved and ripped away from his family and his lover. I could understand why he’d do bad things if that’s what it took to have a chance to get his love and his freedom back.

Lavinia wasn’t innocent in all this either. She was cheating on her husband. But again, I could understand why. She was also Thalia, so there was a part of her that knew and was drawn to Yasir and kind of meant to be with him. Although I don’t condone cheating, I do understand it in this case. And as I said, Peter never treated her as a person who was his equal, so she deserves better anyway, although it’s kind of yet to be determined if Yasir is actually better.

 

*END SPOILER*

I also want to mention one thing that could make some people uncomfortable and give some content warnings. *POSSIBLE SPOILERS* There were times when I couldn’t tell what was Lavinia’s feelings and thoughts and what was Yasir’s magic influencing her, but I think that was the point. From Lavinia’s POV, it makes sense that if she didn’t realize she was being spelled, we wouldn’t know for sure either. So that was good writing. It did make for some blurred lines of consent though. There was also teenage pregnancy and graphic/on-page depictions of torture, rape, and domestic abuse. *END SPOILERS*

Overall, while I did have a few complaints about the pacing and some things that could’ve been trimmed, I loved the mixed feelings these morally gray characters gave me with their whole complicated situation, I loved the portrayal of djinn, and I definitely think this author can write. Plus, it seems like the plot is going to get more intense and interesting in the next book!

 
 
Book Blurb

Originally released in 2014 under the title His Masters Bride

A world of mysterious powers and tumultuous intrigues comes to life in Regency England as a djinni, burdened with a dark secret, is thrown into a love triangle fraught with subterfuge.

Will he defeat his nemesis or be betrayed?

The djinni Yasir, imprisoned in an urn by a jealous magician, searches the centuries for his lost love. He finds Lavinia reborn in 1811 England, only to discover she’s his new master’s bride.

Desperate to have her, Yasir spell-casts Lavinia’s husband to forget he is master and give her the urn. When she opens the ancient vessel, Yasir emerges, terrifying in his magnificence yet somehow familiar, but she fails to recognize him. She distrusts this djinni even though his very presence enchants her.

Yasir’s spell is fading. Lavinia’s husband has changed. Now he’s violent as he struggles with the returning memories of when he possessed the urn. Lavinia strives to keep the two from encountering one another, while torn between fidelity for her husband and her increasing attraction to the djinni.

Impatient to win Lavinia’s confidence, Yasir must convince her of her true identity so they can reclaim their life together. He dare not reveal a deeper reason: Only with Lavinia can he regain his freedom and exact revenge on the magician who confined him to the urn—

If she does not go mad from the spell to awaken her memories.

If her husband does not escape the djinni’s magic and discover her secret.

If the magician does not find them first.

Basic Info

Book Author:
Publisher:
Series:
Genre: , , ,
My Book Rating:
Series/Standalone:
Setting Location: ,

More Info (Possible Spoilers)

Non-Human Type:
Romance Type:
Romance Aspects:
Other:

Warnings

Sex:
Violence:
Strong Language:

 
 
 

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  1. Greg

    Ooh this is kind of a different premise! I wonder if there’s more djinni type stories coming out or if they’ve been around and I just haven’t been aware. Well, either, way glad this was good. I like the sound of seeing inside the urn lol. Kinda cool. And unlikable characters- that’s kinda neat too. Makes sense given the premise, I guess. And I did peek at the spoilers (because of course) and that definitely sounds well written- sounds like nobody is perfect here, everyone’s flawed, and that of course is more realistic.

    Greg recently posted: Sunday Post #265

    1. Kristen Burns

      Maybe both? Cuz this was originally published in 2014. I’m sure there are always more books out there about things than we realize, we just… don’t know about them lol. Which is a shame! But I digress. I love the idea of djinn having a whole home inside of an urn or a lamp or whatever. And I really do like unlikeable characters who manage to give me mixed feelings and make me still root for them or feel bad for them.

      1. Greg

        Yeah the whole inside of the lamp/ urn thing has always fascinated me, even when I was a kid and there were genie stories lol. I was always like- what’s in there?? Is it just a doorway to another realm or are they really IN there, you know, all small and stuff with furniture and whatnot! What if it was like a mini- world, with lakes and forests and stuff?

        Greg recently posted: Sunday Post #265

        1. Kristen Burns

          I always they were actually in there and it’s one of those magical “bigger on the inside than it looks” things, like Mary Poppins’s bag. But then, I don’t imagine that if you broke it open you’d find a mini djinni and tiny furniture or something lol, so maybe it’s a little pocket dimension/realm.

          1. Greg

            Ooh I LOVE the idea of bigger on the inside. Like Snoopy’s doghouse. You know he’s got a pool table and all kinds of shit in there lol. Or Dr. Strange’s house. It’s bigger on the inside, plus the internal layout moves around, so a staircase might lead somewhere else than it did last week, and there’s different rooms and stuff, plus he’s got fae creatures flitting around. I love that concept so much.

            But yeah that made me laugh. I imagine this pissed off little djinn waving his finger “you broke my living room dammit!!!!”

            Greg recently posted: Sunday Post #265

            1. Kristen Burns

              Nice. If only my place was bigger on the inside and could fit a pool table lol.

              Seriously, I’m also cracking up imagining a teeny tiny little djinni and his teeny tiny little furniture, haha.

  2. Gayathri

    Shapeshifting and magic at will are my wannabe super powers. So maybe, just maybe, I just want to be a Djinni. Who knows. Great review, by the way.

  3. Lola

    That’s good to hear the djinn aspect was integral to the story. It sure sounds like a complicated and interesting love triangle that this book has. That sounds great how the author pulled off that mysterious and ominous vibe. It can be hard for books to really have such a strong vibe, so it’s fun when you read a book that has that. The characters sound pretty interesting with how they weren’t good people, but you also couldn’t fully blame them for the bad things they did. I also think it’s unique that the setting is historical, it seems that historical romance and historical fiction are pretty common, but I see less historical fantasy stories.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It is fun when books have a strong vibe like that, and I love complicated situations and morally ambiguous characters. It does seem that there’s less historical fantasy than historical other genres, but I really enjoy historical fantasy!

  4. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Glad your doubts were unfounded and you enjoyed this (and it wasn’t taken over by the romance). I read the spoilers and have to say some of those elements would most definitely bother me when reading, especially the consent issues so I think I’d probably give this one a miss but it does sound like there were good parts. I do love morally ambiguous characters but this may be a touch too ambiguous for me.

  5. Olivia Roach

    I love my morally ambiguous characters! I’m a bit wary from the synopsis because it makes it sound a bit love triangle-y but it seems like the mysterious element and atmosphere to this book could make it worth it. Ho hum, I would have to think about this one more xD But the idea of the djinn being so different is great. I love when not human characters are made to seem, well, not human xD I think we (writers and readers) tend to like them humanised because we can then better relate to them. But I love the otherworldly feel as it is supposed to be ^.^

    Olivia Roach recently posted: A Blade so Black [Book Review & Giveaway!]

    1. Kristen Burns

      They’re so interesting to read about! It is a love triangle, I guess, but idk, I literally never thought “love triangle” while reading. I guess because it just didn’t feel like the typical YA kind of triangle. The whole situation was so complicated, and the book seemed like it was more about the djinni than the woman. And yeah, I mean, I like humanized supernaturals, but I also like the otherwordly kind since many supernaturals are not and have never been human.