Top positive review
Good Sampling from International Authors - not all stories are focused on djinn/genies
Reviewed in the United States on May 26, 2018
I really liked the premise of this anthology - different takes on djinns (or jinns, or genies, etc.) from a variety of viewpoints, but none of them the Disney version. For the most part I think it delivered. The one thing I was a little disappointed in is several of the stories seemed to just include a supernatural element of some sort, but it's not clear that it's a djinn - it could be any sort of supernatural power of manifestation. There are 22 stories (including 1 poem) in this anthology, so rather than trying to review them all, I'll simply call out the ones that particularly spoke to me:
**The Congregation** by Kamila Shamsie - 4/5. This is the first story in the anthology (after the poem) and I think it was a strong opener. About a boy and his twin who is a jinn and their lifelong desire to be united. There's a particularly touching quote near the end of the story, from an exorcist, "All he's ever wanted is to be possessed. There is no evil here, only love. God save us from a world that can't tell the difference."
**Hurrem and the Djinn** by Claire North - 4/5. The voice of this story does remind me somewhat of the opening of the Disney version of this to be honest, but I liked it. A twist on the classic One Thousand and One Nights mixed with some fantastic original magic scenes, I really liked this. I liked the prior Claire North title I read as well, so I will be trying to fit more of her work into my reading.
**Reap** by Sami Shah - 4/5. This was one I couldn't stop reading. I'd actually lean toward classing it as supernatural horror, a genre I don't generally enjoy, but all the same this was a great story. I would have read a longer, more developed version of it for sure. The one thing that detracted from it for me is while there's something supernatural going on, without a doubt, it's one of those stories where there aren't really djinn involved, necessarily. There might be, but it's never explored.
**Message in a Bottle** by K.J. Parker - 3.5/5. I liked this one for the clear writing style and the magic of the world created. I thought the necromancy felt a bit like Max Gladstone's Craft books, in the best of ways. I'm not sure I loved the ending, but I enjoyed getting there. K.J. Parker is an author I've been trying to get to, so it was nice reading this short story.
**Bring Your Own Spoon** by Saad Z. Hossain - 4.5/5. Loved this sort of dystopian sci-fi tale. Touching on how food can create community set against a society where currency has shifted, but the poor are still poor and access to basics like clean food and water are not guaranteed. I really enjoyed the cooking/urban foraging type thing going on in this story. I would absolutely read a followup about Imbi and Hanu discovering what's beyond the city.
**The Spite House** by Kirsty Logan - 3.5/5. This was probably the closest to a "traditional" genie story that I found in the anthology. The author did a great job of subverting the wish-fulfillment (but be careful what you wish for and how you wish for it) trope.