Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer.
So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, Al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world fifty years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be Al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage.
Alongside her Ministry colleagues and a familiar person from her past, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city – or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems . . .
P. Djèlí Clark is the winner of the Nebula, Locus, and Alex Awards and has been shortlisted for the Hugo Award.
My thoughts: do not stop, do not pass Go, do not collect £200. Just buy this book. It is brilliant. It really is. There’s djinn, magic, delicious food, kickass hijabis, swords, women in killer suits (ok, just one), love, cats, crime, a lunatic trying to take over the world, the German kaiser, a princess, myths come to life, and just so much good stuff.
It’s smart, funny, intelligent fantasy that honestly I enjoyed a ridiculous amount. It made me want to know more about Arabic mythology (must finish reading Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange), steampunk Egypt at the beginning of the 20th century is such a fantastic idea that I just want more.
I loved Fatma and her friends, I loved her smart brain and her defiant spirit, her love for Siti, her burgeoning friendship with the equally cool Hadia – solving magical crime and making time to pray while looking stylish in her hijab at the same time.
I can’t wait for book two and I really want to know more about the case with the terrifying rogue angel and the Clock of Worlds…
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.