Book Review: The Hidden Palace (The Golem and the Jinni #2) by Helene Wecker (four stars)
“Stop searching for the things that no one can explain. Isn’t this world cruel enough as it is?”
A fitting sequel to The Golem and the Jinni. Starts slowly as Wecker widens the scope of the story and cast. Like the best historical fiction, she blends her plot into real events, in this case the swelling tide of the First World War, capturing how it looked to the Hebrew and Lebanese communities of Manhattan. Good, clean writing.
“Jinn do not have friends. We may be allies, or enemies, or lovers, but not friends.” “And I suppose a lover is not necessarily an ally.” “Not in my experience.” “Nor mine.”
The pace picks up midway as the scattered treads start to tighten. The various dénouement are well foreshadowed but not revealed beforehand. Some surprise and sorrow is still possible.
“You are exactly like them,” he said, pointing out toward the city. “You’d make me as meek and obedient as yourself, if I would only allow it. You’d make a human of me—no, you would turn me into you.”
Recommended for fans of historical fiction. Not typical fantasy, horror, or science fiction but incorporates elements of all, but with an intimacy that occasionally hurts. Well done.
“Sometimes, she challenges me, constantly, to be better than I am.” “And are there times when you resent the challenge? When you wish that, just this once, she’d let you be a little bit worse than you are?” “Of course.”