The Master was less fun than the Acolytes

A Master of Djinn (Dead Djinn Universe, #1)
by P. Djèlí Clark

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Fatma, Siti and Hamed are back. Promising start with likable characters, but a very slow plot. It took me two weeks to make it a third into the story, with several days of not wanting to pick it up. I thought it was me and was disappointed that this wasn‘t a fun rollercoaster ride, sweeping me along. I almost abandoned it, but instead skimmed through the denser passages in the middle to make some progress. Less filler would have been good. 

For example the convention in the middle with all those dignitaries served no real purpose. It added to the complexity of the world, but it did not really bring the plot forward or could have happened as a shorter scene. Maybe Clark had another short story/novelette in his hand and blew it up to novel length by expanding the word count, without actually adding significantly to the story?

I did like the development of Siti a lot. Fatma felt a little more one-dimensional than previously and Hamed and Onsi sadly where only small side characters. Nonetheless it was fun to encounter them again.

I liked the last part of the book, so if I disregard the middle, this was a good book. The Djinn are complex, multi-faceted and definitely not one-dimensional. It‘s nice that even the bad guys have personalities and are not just victims of circumstance. Still, this book was nowhere nearly as good and entertaining as the prequel stories.

You can definitely read this as a stand-alone novel, but for more enjoyment I recommend to first read the two novelettes and the short story that came before this:

Dead Djinn in Cairo: Goodreads review | WordPress review

The Angel of Khan el Khalili: Goodreads review | WordPress review

The Haunting of Tram Car 015: Goodreads review | WordPress review

This is part of my #ReadBIPOC2021 challenge (entry for June).

I received this free e-copy from the publisher/author via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review, thank you!

8 thoughts on “The Master was less fun than the Acolytes

  1. It does seem that sometimes novels set in what had previously been a novella series can suffer from feeling like they have too much filler. I’ve heard people say the same thing about the full-length Murderbot novel (though I personally liked it). I’ve yet to read this book, and I’ll be curious to see if my reaction mirrors yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved your review! It pretty much sums up what I think of it. But that scenes with the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire… they were hilarious but totally unbelievable and out of character.
    There’s nothing wrong with adding another layer to the short story setting, just like with introducing the Egyptian gods. Only in the case of the international conference, it didn’t feel integrated smoothly into the setting.
    Darn, I have to write my review, yet 😬

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Looking forward to your review now… I don’t mind another layer. It’s a novel after all. However, I just did not grab me, I felt no compulsion to pick up this book and continue reading. Maybe it was a pacing problem? I am not sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved the blogpost title, haha. I’m facing the same problem with Becky Chambers’ Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. What I’m looking for is a book that’s “a fun rollercoaster ride, sweeping me along” as you summed it up. That’s not what I’m getting, and it’s a disappointment and it’s taking FOREVER. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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