The Jinni’s Last Wish
by Zenobia Neil
Publication Date: September 13, 2018
Paperback & eBook; 224 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy
As a eunuch in the Ottoman Imperial Harem, Olin has already lost his home, his freedom, and his manhood. His only wish is for a painless death, until he meets Dark Star, a beautiful odalisque who promises to give him his deepest desire. He refuses to believe her claim to possess a jinni in a bottle. But when Dark Star is accused of witchcraft, Olin rubs the bottle in desperation and discovers she’s told the truth.
Olin becomes the jinni’s master to save Dark Star, but it’s not enough. In the complex world of the Topkapi Palace, where silk pillows conceal knives, sherbets contain poison, and jewels buy loyalty, no one is safe. With each wish, Olin must choose between becoming like the masters he detests or risk his life, his body, and his sanity to break the bonds that tie them all.
“Vividly imagined and achingly beautiful, this is the closest you’ll get to an Ottoman harem without a time machine.” — Jessica Cale, Editor of Dirty, Sexy History
“Sensual, magical, and meticulously researched, THE JINNI’S LAST WISH is a scrumptious read.” –Heather Webb, international bestselling author of Last Christmas in Paris.”
“Hauntingly sensual, The Jinni’s Last Wish is an erotic fever dream that lingers long after the last page.” — Mia Hopkins, author of Thirsty
Before I start my review, I am going to be rating this as a fantasy simply because I have never read any historical fiction or nonfiction books about this time period in these countries! I don’t want to accidentally slip up and say that it is accurate or inaccurate, simply because I do not know. I could not tell the fantasy from the fact-based fiction if I tried. That being said, onto the review!
Olin is a eunuch in a harem for the Ottoman Empire’s Sultan. He hates his life, as he is considered neither a man nor a woman, but some sort of monster in between. If he doesn’t work for the Sultan, he will be forced into another demeaning job. He knows that he is lucky to still be alive, but what sort of life is he living? He will never be free again, he can only wish to rise in the ranks by working for the Sultan. Maybe someday he will be one of the Sultan’s most trusted guards, and won’t have more parts of himself cut off as punishment. Then, Dark Star, the girl who has been tormenting his thoughts, comes to him and tells him that she has a way for him to get his life back. At first, he worries that his new life will be worse than his current one, but then he decides to take the chance. Soon he learns that there are worse things than being one of the forgotten eunuch’s in the Sultan’s harem.
This fantasy setting was very dark, and I felt that it was appropriate for this type of story. Fictional harems are often glamorized, but this story changes the meaning back to its original context. Harems were just a way for a king to have as many women as he wanted, and none were there willingly. Many just gave in and acted as if they enjoyed their lives, especially after realizing that there were not many better options as a slave. Others still wanted to try to fight against the established rules. Even after going through all that they had been through, I still think that they didn’t have it as bad as the eunuchs. At least if they did something wrong they were usually just killed and not forced to go through more mutilation torture.
This was one of the best dark fantasy novels that I have read, and I don’t read very many dark fantasy novels. I only wish that the story hadn’t been focused on sex as much and has instead focused on more of the characters as people, but I do understand how it fits the setting of being in a harem 24/7. If it had a bit more development and hadn’t been randomly interrupted with a flashback or a sex dream during certain parts of the story, this would have been an absolutely perfect book for me! But despite those minor imperfections, I did truly enjoy this story.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new dark historical fantasy novel to read.
I received an advance copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books
About the Author
Zenobia Neil was named after an ancient warrior queen who fought against the Romans. She writes about the mythic past and Greek and Roman gods having too much fun. Zenobia spends her free time imagining interesting people and putting them in terrible situations.
She lives with her husband, two children, and dog in an overpriced hipster neighborhood of Los Angeles. Visit her at ZenobiaNeil.com.
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, November 12
Review at Passages to the Past
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Review at Pursuing Stacie
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Interview at T’s Stuff
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Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit
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Review at Bri’s Book Nook
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Review at Pass Me That Book
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Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
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Review at Jorie Loves a Story
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Review at Bookfever
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Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
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Review & Guest Post The Book Junkie Reads
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Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews
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The Jinni’s Last Wish