8 SFF Books featuring Djinn

I’ve read a couple books recently that include Djinn and adored them and so felt that it would be a good idea to make a nice recommendation list. The list is split into two sections which is “Books I’ve personally read” and “Books I’ve not read”. The ones I’ve read I can vouch for being excellent however the rest I can’t guarantee anything yet although I have added several to my to-read list so might update this later.


Books that I’ve personally read

17624060Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

Struggling to make their way in 1899 New York, the Golem and the Jinni try to fit in with their immigrant neighbors while masking their true selves. Meeting by chance, they become unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures, until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful menace will soon bring the Golem and the Jinni together again, threatening their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.

 

Welcome to the Empty Quarter, the domain of Djinn, ghouls, demons and the effrit who 14760580take the shapes of beasts. You used to walk among us, and we among you. Now things are different. Now we are Unseen. Alif is a half-Arab, half-Indian, 23-year-old hacker working in the Arab Emirates. His job is to provide security to enemies of the Arab states, ranging from pornographers to militant Islamists. Alif has fallen in love with the beguiling Intisar, an aristocratic woman he meets online. But their budding love affair is cruelly ended when her father arranges a marriage for her with a man of her class… A man who turns out to be the state’s leading censor, a shadowy and powerful figure known only as ‘the Hand’. As their final communication, Intisar sends the heartbroken Alif a mysterious old book. Bound in what looks like human skin, and titled The Thousand and One Days, Alif soon realizes that this token of affection is actually a dangerous source of old world magic. And as the keeper of this amulet — this Djinn-penned tome of secrets — Alif is about to become a wanted fugitive from both the corporeal and the celestial worlds…

 

30753517A fascinating collection of new and classic tales of the fearsome Djinn, from bestselling, award-winning and breakthrough international writers.

Imagine a world filled with fierce, fiery beings, hiding in our shadows, in our dreams, under our skins. Eavesdropping and exploring; savaging our bodies, saving our souls. They are monsters, saviours, victims, childhood friends.

Some have called them genies: these are the Djinn. And they are everywhere. On street corners, behind the wheel of a taxi, in the chorus, between the pages of books. Every language has a word for them. Every culture knows their traditions. Every religion, every history has them hiding in their dark places. There is no part of the world that does not know them.

They are the Djinn. They are among us.

 

Nathaniel is a boy magician-in-training, sold to the 59267government by his birth parents at the age of five and sent to live as an apprentice to a master. Powerful magicians rule Britain, and its empire, and Nathaniel is told his is the “ultimate sacrifice” for a “noble destiny.”

If leaving his parents and erasing his past life isn’t tough enough, Nathaniel’s master, Arthur Underwood, is a cold, condescending, and cruel middle-ranking magician in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The boy’s only saving grace is the master’s wife, Martha Underwood, who shows him genuine affection that he rewards with fierce devotion. Nathaniel gets along tolerably well over the years in the Underwood household until the summer before his eleventh birthday. Everything changes when he is publicly humiliated by the ruthless magician Simon Lovelace and betrayed by his cowardly master who does not defend him.

Nathaniel vows revenge. In a Faustian fever, he devours magical texts and hones his magic skills, all the while trying to appear subservient to his master. When he musters the strength to summon the 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus to avenge Lovelace by stealing the powerful Amulet of Samarkand, the boy magician plunges into a situation more dangerous and deadly than anything he could ever imagine.


Books I have not personally read

16123804A 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.

 

 

 

 

 

21396155When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

 

 

9239417One minute Sara’s bored on vacation in Istanbul. The next, she’s unearthed a flying carpet that cleverly drags her to the mysterious Island of the Djinn—or genies. By her side is Amesh, a hot boy she’s starting to love but doesn’t yet trust. When Amesh learns the secret of invoking djinn, he loses control. He swears he’ll call upon only one djinn and make one wish. The plan sounds safe enough. But neither Sara nor Amesh are any match for the formidable monster that that swells before them. It hypnotizes Amesh, compelling him to steal Sara’s flying carpet—the ancient Carpet of Ka—and leave her stranded.

Discovering the Carpet of Ka has sparked a new path for Sara, one that will lead her to battle creatures even deadlier than djinn. In this fight, Sara can save mankind, herself, or the boy she loves. Who will she be forced to sacrifice?

 

 

29103804At seventeen, Adeelah Naji is transformed into a genie and imprisoned in a bottle. For a thousand years, she fulfills the wishes of greedy masters—building their palaces, lining their pockets with gold, and granting them every earthly pleasure. All that sustains her is the hope of finding Karim, the boy she fell in love with as a human. When at last she finds a note from her beloved, she confirms he has access to the elixir of life and that he still searches for her.

But someone else also hunts her. Faruq—the man who plots to use her powers to murder and seize the life forces of others—is just one step behind her. With the help of a kind master named Nathan, Adeelah continues to search for Karim while trying to evade Faruq. To complicate matters, she begins to experience growing fatigue and pain after conjuring, and finds herself struggling against an undeniable attraction to Nathan.

As Faruq closes in, Adeelah must decide just how much she’ll risk to protect Nathan and be with Karim forever. How much power does she really have to change her future, and what is she willing to sacrifice for an eternity of love? If she makes the wrong choice, the deaths of many will be on her hands.

 


 

Have you read any of these? What do you think? Are there any books I’ve missed that you feel should have been included? Let me know!

 

TTT – Ten Short SFF Books You Can Read in One Sitting

Top Ten Tuesday

So, this is my first time taking part in Top Ten Tuesday but when I saw the prompt for this week, I just had to take part as there are so many fantastic short books/novellas out there! TTT is hosted by Broke and Bookish and they have a link-up so if you enjoy this topic you can find lots more posts about it!

I’m a fast reader so I can read a lot in a day, so I’ve tried to stick to picking books under 200 pages and I’ve stuck to SFF because those are my favourite genres. I would heartily recommend all the books on this list and it was a struggle to pick just ten!

In no particular order, here are 10 short books that I adored!

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  1. The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson

I’m a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson and so I couldn’t make a list of quick reads without including this in it! Not only is it short, but it’s also one of my favourites by him and I’d definitely recommend it.

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2. The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz

It’s a charming f/f asexual sci-fi novella. What’s not to love? Seriously though, it’s great. You can find my review of it here

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3. The Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster

I’m a huge fan of weather magic and will instantly read any book that features it. Not only does this novella include it, but it includes fantastic female characters, queer pirates and POC (just look at that cover – it’s stunning!).

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4. Brother’s Ruin by Emma Newman

It’s a fantastic steampunk fantasy novella that has some fantastic worldbuilding and sets the ground for what I expect will be a fantastic series. I’m in the middle of writing my review of it, so expect that up soon!

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5. Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds

A great sci-fi novella featuring a group of mismatched individuals waking up on an abandoned ship. You can read my review of it here.

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6. Runtime by RoAnna Sylver

I felt Chameleon Moon (which I adore) was a bit too long to be included here, but Runtime is a fantastic short story and an excellent introduction to several characters along with the world of Parole so it definitely deserves a place on here. You can find my review here.

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7. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

This post-apocalyptic novel features giant killer plants. I picked up it for that reason alone because I adore books with odd apocalypses and this did not disappoint!

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8. The Second Mango by Shira Glassman

The first in the fantastic Mangoverse series, it’s full of diversity and is just such a positive, happy read. Find my review here.

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9. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

I think this is the longest on here, but it’s just such a fantastic read that I couldn’t put it down. I loved the concept which is “conflict is light years away so hundreds of years pass between deployment and the return home of soldiers” and I really enjoyed both seeing humanity progress between each deployment and how the returning soldiers coped with the changes in society.

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10. Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Stardust is one of the few books where I love the film adaption almost as much as the book itself. I saw the film first and was a huge fan and so obviously had to go read the novel. It’s wonderful, and I’d definitely recommend it.

So! That’s my first Top Ten Tuesday! What did you think? Have you read and enjoyed any of these books? Are there are you would recommend to me based on my choices here?

12 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Books by Black Women

In honour of Black History month, I’ve put together this list of 12 Sci-Fi or Fantasy books by Black Women that all sound excellent. I’ve stuck to just one book per author, but plenty of them have tons more that you should check out too. I’ve not read any of these yet, but they all had good reviews and have been added to my own TBR list.


The Books

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Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

The rich and privileged have fled the city, barricaded it behind roadblocks, and left it to crumble. The inner city has had to rediscover old ways-farming, barter, herb lore. But now the monied need a harvest of bodies, and so they prey upon the helpless of the streets. With nowhere to turn, a young woman must open herself to ancient truths, eternal powers, and the tragic mystery surrounding her mother and grandmother.

She must bargain with gods, and give birth to new legends.

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The Switch II: Clockwork by Valjeanne Jeffers

Includes the Switch and The Switch II: Clockwork. Look for The Switch in the groundbreaking anthology: Steamfunk!

“As she looked on, the target unzipped his jumpsuit and pushed it down. His blond companion sauntered over to his desk, and slipped off her pants. She straddled him, curling an arm about his neck. With her other hand she unzipped her tunic to bare her plump breasts. Moans of pleasure filled Z100’s apartment.

Z100 watched them, arousal spreading down her pelvis. She cut the tape off, got up and poured herself another glass of wine. She’d planted the tiny cameras in the men’s offices. They were later retrieved by spies posing as under dweller janitors.”

York is a city of contradictions. Women are hard-pressed for lovers, because lovemaking can be dangerous. The upper city is powered by computers, the underground by steam. And the wealthy don’t work for a living, underdwellers do it for them.

But certain underdwellers have a big problem with this arrangement. And so does the time keeper.

Welcome to the Revolution…

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My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due

When Jessica marries David, he is everything she wants in a family man: brilliant, attentive, ever youthful. Yet she still feels something about him is just out of reach. Soon, as people close to Jessica begin to meet violent, mysterious deaths, David makes an unimaginable confession: More than 400 years ago, he and other members of an Ethiopian sect traded their humanity so they would never die, a secret he must protect at any cost. Now, his immortal brethren have decided David must return and leave his family in Miami. Instead, David vows to invoke a forbidden ritual to keep Jessica and his daughter with him forever. Harrowing, engrossing and skillfully rendered, My Soul to Keep traps Jessica between the desperation of immortals who want to rob her of her life and a husband who wants to rob her of her soul. With deft plotting and an unforgettable climax, this tour de force reminiscent of early Anne Rice will win Due a new legion of fans.

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Mindscape by Andrea Hairston

MINDSCAPE takes us to a future in which the world itself has been literally divided by the Barrier, a phenomenon that will not be ignored. For 115 years this extraterrestrial, epidimensional entity has divided the earth into warring zones. Although a treaty to end the interzonal wars has been hammered out, power-hungry politicians, gangsters, and spiritual fundamentalists are determined to thwart it. Celestina, the treaty’s architect, is assassinated, and her protegee, Elleni, a talented renegade and one of the few able to negotiate the Barrier, takes up her mantle. Now Elleni and a motley crew of allies risk their lives to make the treaty work. Can they repair their fractured world before the Barrier devours them completely?

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The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin

Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.

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Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor

When a massive object crashes into the ocean off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous and legendary city, three people wandering along Bar Beach (Adaora, the marine biologist- Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa- Agu, the troubled soldier) find themselves running a race against time to save the country they love and the world itself… from itself.

Told from multiple points of view and crisscrossing narratives, combining everything from superhero comics to Nigerian mythology to tie together a story about a city consuming itself.

‘There was no time to flee. No time to turn. No time to shriek. And there was no pain. It was like being thrown into the stars.’

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Everfair by Nisi Shawl

An alternate history / historical fantasy / steampunk novel set in the Belgian Congo, from noted short story writer Nisi Shawl.

Everfair is a wonderful Neo-Victorian alternate history novel that explores the question of what might have come of Belgium’s disastrous colonization of the Congo if the native populations had learned about steam technology a bit earlier. Fabian Socialists from Great Britian join forces with African-American missionaries to purchase land from the Belgian Congo’s “owner,” King Leopold II. This land, named Everfair, is set aside as a safe haven, an imaginary Utopia for native populations of the Congo as well as escaped slaves returning from America and other places where African natives were being mistreated.

Shawl’s speculative masterpiece manages to turn one of the worst human rights disasters on record into a marvelous and exciting exploration of the possibilities inherent in a turn of history. Everfair is told from a multiplicity of voices: Africans, Europeans, East Asians, and African Americans in complex relationships with one another, in a compelling range of voices that have historically been silenced. Everfair is not only a beautiful book but an educational and inspiring one that will give the reader new insight into an often ignored period of history.

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Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

The first science fiction written by a black woman, Kindred has become a cornerstone of black American literature. This combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction is a novel of rich literary complexity. Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland. After saving a drowning white boy there, she finds herself staring into the barrel of a shotgun and is transported back to the present just in time to save her life. During numerous such time-defying episodes with the same young man, she realizes the challenge she’s been given: to protect this young slaveholder until he can father her own great-grandmother.

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A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar

Jevick, the pepper merchant’s son, has been raised on stories of Olondria, a distant land where books are as common as they are rare in his home. When his father dies and Jevick takes his place on the yearly selling trip to Olondria, Jevick’s life is as close to perfect as he can imagine. But just as he revels in Olondria’s Rabelaisian Feast of Birds, he is pulled drastically off course and becomes haunted by the ghost of an illiterate young girl.

In desperation, Jevick seeks the aid of Olondrian priests and quickly becomes a pawn in the struggle between the empire’s two most powerful cults. Yet even as the country shimmers on the cusp of war, he must face his ghost and learn her story before he has any chance of becoming free by setting her free: an ordeal that challenges his understanding of art and life, home and exile, and the limits of that seductive necromancy, reading.

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Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord

A tale of adventure, magic, and the power of the human spirit. Paama’s husband is a fool and a glutton. Bad enough that he followed her to her parents’ home in the village of Makendha—now he’s disgraced himself by murdering livestock and stealing corn. When Paama leaves him for good, she attracts the attention of the undying ones—the djombi— who present her with a gift: the Chaos Stick, which allows her to manipulate the subtle forces of the world. Unfortunately, a wrathful djombi with indigo skin believes this power should be his and his alone.

A contemporary fairy tale that is inspired in part by a Senegalese folk tale.

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Love is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Emily Bird was raised not to ask questions. She has perfect hair, the perfect boyfriend, and a perfect Ivy-League future. But a chance meeting with Roosevelt David, a homeland security agent, at a party for Washington DC’s elite leads to Bird waking up in a hospital, days later, with no memory of the end of the night.

Meanwhile, the world has fallen apart: A deadly flu virus is sweeping the nation, forcing quarantines, curfews, even martial law. And Roosevelt is certain that Bird knows something. Something about the virus–something about her parents’ top secret scientific work–something she shouldn’t know.

The only one Bird can trust is Coffee, a quiet, outsider genius who deals drugs to their classmates and is a firm believer in conspiracy theories. And he believes in Bird. But as Bird and Coffee dig deeper into what really happened that night, Bird finds that she might know more than she remembers. And what she knows could unleash the biggest government scandal in US history.

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Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope

Enter an alternate 1920’s world of magic and adventure in this gripping, new adult, fantasy romance…

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her magical abilities are feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive – an injured spy who steals her heart.

Jack’s mission behind enemy lines nearly cost him his life but he is saved by the healing power of a mysterious young woman. Together they embark on a perilous journey straight into the heart of a centuries-old conflict.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.

The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.


All covers and descriptions are taken from Goodreads

Have you read any of these? Are there any authors you feel I’ve left out? Let me know in the comments!

8 Sci-Fi Books featuring Muslim characters to add to your TBR list!

There’s been a lot on Twitter recently about #MuslimShelfSpace and one genre I’ve not seen mentioned much is that of Sci-Fi, so I present to you a list of Sci-Fi stories featuring Muslim characters to add to your to-read list.

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ISTANBUL: QUEEN OF CITIES. Here histories, empires, and continents meet and cross. It is the mid-twenty first century and Turkey is a proud and powerful member of a European Union that runs from the Atlantic to Mt. Ararat.

In the sleepy Istanbul district of Eskiköy stands the former whirling dervish house of Adem Dede. Six characters’ lives revolve around it.

Over the space of five days of an Istanbul heat wave, these lives weave a story of corporate wheeling and dealing, Islamic mysticism, political and economic intrigues, ancient Ottoman mysteries, a terrifying new terrorist threat, and a nanotechnology with the potential to transform every human on the planet.

 

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In medieval Baghdad, a penniless man is brought before the most powerful man in the world, the caliph himself, to tell his story. It begins with a walk in the bazaar, but soon grows into a tale unlike any other told in the caliph’s empire. It’s a story that includes not just buried treasure and a band of thieves, but also men haunted by their past and others trapped by their future; it includes not just a beloved wife and a veiled seductress, but also long journeys taken by caravan and even longer ones taken with a single step. Above all, it’s a story about recognizing the will of Allah and accepting it, no matter what form it takes.

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In an unnamed Middle Eastern security state, a young Arab-Indian hacker shields his clients—dissidents, outlaws, Islamists, and other watched groups—from surveillance and tries to stay out of trouble. He goes by Alif—the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and a convenient handle to hide behind. The aristocratic woman Alif loves has jilted him for a prince chosen by her parents, and his computer has just been breached by the state’s electronic security force, putting his clients and his own neck on the line. Then it turns out his lover’s new fiancé is the “Hand of God,” as they call the head of state security, and his henchmen come after Alif, driving him underground.

When Alif discovers The Thousand and One Days, the secret book of the jinn, which both he and the Hand suspect may unleash a new level of information technology, the stakes are raised and Alif must struggle for life or death, aided by forces seen and unseen.

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In a decadent world of cheap pleasures and easy death, Marid Audrian has kept his independence the hard way. Still, like everything else in the Budayeen, he’s available…for a price.
For a new kind of killer roams the streets of the Arab ghetto, a madman whose bootlegged personality cartridges range from a sinister James Bond to a sadistic disemboweler named Khan. And Marid Audrian has been made an offer he can’t refuse.

The 200-year-old “godfather” of the Budayeen’s underworld has enlisted Marid as his instrument of vengeance. But first Marid must undergo the most sophisticated of surgical implants before he dares to confront a killer who carries the power of every psychopath since the beginning of time.

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Four centuries after humanity has colonized the galaxy, information freight companies are used as an alternative to electronic communication. On one of her frequent trips into deep space, Katmer Al-Shei, owner of one of the smaller information companies, is accused of smuggling artificial intelligence. When Al-Shei tries to clear her name, she uncovers conspiracy after conspiracy, all set against the backdrop of a looming war.

 

 

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Written for the discerning science fiction reader, the book races from the creation to apocalypse and from the ordinary to utter insanity, while the fire smoldering between the words may indeed set preconceptions alight. He who doesn’t lose himself doesn’t understand or he who understands loses himself. Translated seamlessly by English writer and translator Feyza Howell.

 

 

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HWJN is the #1 selling Arabic book in Saudi, it is a mix between fantasy, SciFi and romance. While most people get excited about legends of spirits and genies (Jinn) and pass it on as the listen to it with awe and horror (after adding their own spices to it); here comes Hawjan. The young Jinni who is in his early nineties to redefine our understanding of the Jinn world that resembles ours in so many ways, still it is a parallel dimension to ours. He shares his tale so that we can live it through a “human” perspective regardless of the differences between our two worlds.

 

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How would the world look like if major historical events in the Islamic world played out differently? How would technology develop?
#Yaqteenya is an alternate history novel that explores those questions from an Middle Eastern point of view, in a setting that is part SciFi and part fantasy.

Yaqteenya is facing its first civil war, To save it from it self, Al-Baz needs to break its #1 law and leave Yaqteenay to find answers about the truth that the rulers of the land.

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Are there any books I missed out that you think should be included? Let me know!

All the descriptions and cover images are taken from Goodreads. Clicking on the cover image will bring you to the relevant Goodreads page.