Book Title: Djinn City
Author: Saad Z. Hossain
Total Number of Pages: 456
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
Publication Date: 30 Dec 2017
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy / Adventure
Indelbed is a lonely kid living in a crumbling mansion in super dense, super chaotic Dhaka. His father, Dr. Kaikobad, is the black sheep of their clan, the once illustrious Khan Rahman family. A drunken loutish widower, he refuses to allow Indelbed to go to school and the only thing Indelbed knows about his mother is the official cause of her early demise: ‘Death by Indelbed’. But when Dr. Kaikobad falls into a supernatural coma, Indelbed and his older cousin, the wise-cracking slacker, rais, learn that Indelbed’s dad was, in fact, a magician and a trusted emissary to the djinn world. But the djinns, it turns out, are displeased and one of the consequences of their displeasure is that a ‘hunt’ is announced with ten-year-old Indelbed as prey. Still reeling from the fact that genies actually exist, Indelbed finds himself on the run. Soon, the boys are at the center of a great djinn controversy, one tied to the continuing fallout from an ancient war, with ramifications for the future of life as we know it. Djinn city is a darkly comedic fantasy adventure and a brilliant follow-up to Saad Z. Hossain’s acclaimed first novel escape from Baghdad.
Set in Bangladesh, Djinn City follows up the story of a 10 year old boy, Indelbed who gets entangled in a world of people with superhuman abilities and are involved in practicing occult.
Hossain’s Djinn City cannot be caged into one genre; it is a medley of comedy, adventure, fantasy and at times the characters drip with sarcasm.
Born in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, Indelbed is used to his father’s idiosyncratic behaviour. His father, Dr. Kaikobad always keeps the intellectual Indelbed in the shadows. He never had a chance to go to school neither does he know the real cause of his mother’s death, only knows that in the death certificate, it says “Death by Indelbed”.
When Dr. Kaikobad is succumbed into a supernatural coma, Indelbed and his cousin, Rais, shuffle through their family history. What they discover truly shocks them. Upon research, they find that Indelbed’s mother was a part of the unearthly Djinn (genie) world and that Dr. Kaikobad is also a highly trusted representative of Djinn.
As a consequence of the age old Djinn controversy, a hunt is announced by the djinns to capture Indelbed. While in prison, he comes across a person who later in the story plays a very important role in helping Indelbed to survive.
The Djinn have their factions (like in Divergent), some are good, some are bad. The book has an appendix at the end where all these factions are discussed. One such “bad” faction named Matteras, take Indelbed in their grip, Ifrit Givras comes to his rescue and teaches him the different ways that are needed to survive in the Djinn world. He says, “When fighting monsters, what else can you do but become one?”
The rest of the tale follows Indelbed on his journey of survival and keeping others safe from the roaming rock worms, dragons and monsters. The story is also filled with sea beasts, flying carpets and otherworldly machines.
I have never been a fan of fantasy but this book really got to me, in a good way of course. Lyrical prose, dramatic scenes supported with a vivid narrative, what’s there not to like, you ask? The cliffhanger in the end! I didn’t see that coming 😅.
MY FINAL VERDICT
Phew! This was the most difficult book to review. There’s so much going on in between the pages that it’s hard to sum up in a review. But, I summed up as much as I could.
If you are a sucker for adventure fantasy mixed with satire, then I would definitely recommend you to read this book. The book is quite thick but then not all good things can be stored in small space!
POESY IN CHRYSALIS RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ / ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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