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.
A jinni book, by George it’s a book about jinni lore. I was so ecstatic to pick this one up and read something new, away from the typical paranormal of ghosts and vampires and zombies. And the culture change that comes along with reading a book regarding jinni, the world that Zayele and Najiwa are embedded in. A culture strange, in a good way. One that I wasn’t used to reading, and happy at the chance to embark into unknown territory. I set out to read The Fire Wish with high hopes.
Now those hopes weren’t crushed, just disheveled. The premise accounted for in Lough’s novel was one that fascinated me. A war between humans and jinni. Two young girls swap places due to a wish. They must survive in enemy territory or be killed. How riveting! The Fire Wish turns the peril of survival in strange lands, understanding an alien culture, one that is considered heathenish to both sides, and the acknowledging that neither side is what the rumors made them out to be. It’s about growth.
And love got thrown in the gears. A love that I felt bubbled out of thin air, especially the attraction of Atish towards Zayele, and its reciprocation. Something I could neither understand nor feel to be genuine. And it irked me.
Unfortunately, I found The Fire Wish to be predictable. There was nothing that really ended up wowing me, nothing that left me hanging off the edge of my seat. I felt like I was being told a joke I already knew the punchline to. So, I read mostly the entire novel knowing the big secret that would be exposed at the end. One neither of the main characters questioned how or why they were able to survive in each others world, despite how blatantly obvious it became throughout the duration of the novel.
While The Fire Wish is told from a alternating point of view between Zayele and Najiwa, I could find no differentiating character traits between the two girls. I felt as though I was reading straight through with one sole narrator. It was one of the reasons why I felt it was difficult to get into the story itself. Despite the anchoring pasts and different relationships with others that these two girls had, their present actions and how they reacted to the world and people around them were close to exactly the same.
Final Summation: Good in theory, not so great in practice, The Fire Wish had potential that I looked forward to but ultimately fell flat. Still a decent read with problems yet unfinished. I look forward to the second book and hope for some striking development from the characters as well as the world issues between humans and jinni, for better or for worse.