A magical world filled with Genies and shopping and high stakes. That’s what M.A. Guglielmo has crafted in her debut novel Summoned. Zahara, a jinn (genie) is summoned by Daniel to save the world from a couple of fallen angles. The last thing an evil jinn wants to do is save the world. But she’s itching for her first soul, so she’ll take what she can get.
The world M.A. Guglielmo (goo-yell-mo) is a really cool place. Set in modern day Morocco, among a few other spots, there’s so much to love. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know anything about Morocco. So reading this book was a great learning experience. Words that people are less likely to know are always italicized and I utilized my kindle’s dictionary and wikipedia functions often.
That’s not to say there’s too much you don’t know, because half the fun of the book was looking something up and going down a rabbit hole of Moroccan culture. It never feels overwhelming, as long as you’re willing to put in the extra 2 minutes every now and again, if you don’t know what a word means. I definitely learned a lot about the place, and want to visit real bad now, which is awesome!
As for the characters, we’re immediately greeted with the naive Daniel, a “warlock” of sorts. He definitely has innate power because he could summon Zahara, our cover jinn. He doesn’t however, know much else. He was dragged into this whole situation because a dead grandparent reached out from beyond the grave!
We also have Zahara. She’s a sex crazed shop-a-holic and wouldn’t have it any other way. She’ll also gladly screw you over in bargaining if you’re not super careful with the way you ask for help either. She must have learned from the best while traveling through the seven hells in jinn school.
Thirdly, we have Zaid, who, in my opinion, is the best character in the book. He’s this really awesome jinn who has amazing combat skills, and boldly defied his family by converting from the old religions to muslim. He always seems to have a new secret hiding around every twist and turn in this magical novel.
With all of that being said, the book isn’t perfect. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a perfect book though, so take that with a grain of salt. There’s times where actions feel a little loose, and we probably could have used an extra paragraph or two, to fully grasp the reason an action is taken, or why things are the way they are. Those small pacing issues aside though, the book is a fun read. Even for someone like me who reads primarily middle grade fiction, and struggled to really “get” some of the book, it was still great fun!
Overall grade is 3.5 out of 5 stars! Definitely worth your time.
Zahara, party girl of the paranormal, floats up out of a lamp in Daniel Goldstein’s apartment ready to trick an evil sorcerer into giving up his soul. But Daniel, whose Moroccan grandmother has reached out from beyond the grave to command him to raise a jinn, wants to do good—by stopping a vengeful fallen angel.
The nymphomaniacal, shopping-obsessed Zahara isn’t the otherworldly ally Daniel had in mind. A do-gooder with a dangerous quest isn’t what Zahara’s looking for, either. Stuck in a magical contract with each other, the two travel to Morocco, where Zahara’s handsome friend Zaid, a jinn who’s converted to Islam, reluctantly joins their quest. As Daniel and Zaid struggle against jinn-hunting mercenaries and their attraction to one other, Zahara is forced to join forces with the fallen angel’s gorgeous but infuriating brother to stop a cataclysmic war between the human and jinn worlds.
You can find Summoned at all major retailers!