- It is "hidden" over in YA, and my usual excuses for venturing over there do not apply (ie, neither Gaimen nor Pratchett wrote it)
- The cover is... not compelling. (Yes, I judge books by their covers. It usually works out.)
- My almost unhealthy lack of fixation on unicorns
- The alarmingly pink cover (sans dust jacket)
- My friend's gleeful exclamation when I told her I finished: "I knew there was a 15 year old girl in you!"
The story follows a young woman named Viola as she struggles to deal with her status as a liked-but-ignored outsider in high school, and her devastating breakup with her it-turns-out-quite-gay best friend. Also she manages to summon a genie on the third page or so, so there's that. It's a story about love and self-reliance and loyalty and wishes.
Jinn (that's the jinn Viola summons. Try to keep up.) comes from a world called Caliban where all of the jinn were exiled to in time immemorial. Pearce had fun with Caliban, and some of my favorite parts of the book were explorations of that world. It is very possible that this says more about me than the book. Caliban is basically timeless; jinn only age when they are on earth granting wishes. It is ruled by an elite of ancient jinn who parcel out assignments to Earth, punish jinn who break the rules, and try to convince everyone to please have sex before we all die out please thanks. Once summoned, Jinn just wants to grant the requisite three wishes and get back to being immortal with the scantily clad jinn chicks in the perfectly beautiful world and delivering flowers and not knowing anybody's damn name.
Viola, on the other hand, rather sensibly wants to make sure she doesn't squander her opportunity by screwing up her wishes. Which I thought was smart, but apparently Caliban looks ill on that sort of behavior and sends jinn MPs to stress her out and make her wish faster. They are dicks. Meanwhile, Jinn starts actually liking her and her insistence on treating him as a friend so he makes rather a mess of the whole following-the-rules shtick. Hi-jinx ensue!
No lie: this book reads fast. I chewed through it in a single Saturday, and still had time for kayaking. More importantly: I was compelled to finish it in a single Saturday. I wasn't immediately drawn in, but I found it extremely difficult to put down once I hit the halfway point or so. The characters are fun and believable. The world is very-authentic feeling high school with interesting and non-standard fantasy elements. The ending satisfies, and everyone learns at least one valuable lesson. Even the mean ones. Bottom line: while not something I would pick up unprompted, this was a very enjoyable read.
Holy crap is that cover ever pink though. Seriously.