Saturday, June 6, 2015

Summoned (Rainy Kaye)

(The Summoned series, Book 1)
Rainy Kaye
TeZLA Publishing
Fiction, Fantasy
***+ (Okay/Good)

DESCRIPTION: Being a genie is no Disney movie. Just ask Dimitri, a twentysomething jinn bound to the cruel Walker clan as his father was before him. He doesn't even get any magic out of the deal, just terrible pain for failing a task or even contemplating disobedience. Under Kurt's wish orders, Dim has stolen, attacked, kidnapped, and killed - and there's no end in sight, for him or for any heir he'll likely be forced to breed someday.
That doesn't mean he has to like it. And Sylvia, Kurt's daughter, looks to be an even more sadistic master than the man himself. But it's not worth dreaming of a freedom he'll never have, is it?
When Dimitri meets Syd, a feisty one-night stand who refuses to leave, he begins to question his jaded existence... just as Kurt becomes more demanding and evasive than ever, a sure hint something big and foul is in the works. Now that he finally has the incentive to investigate the roots and limitations of his genie curse, it may be too late - for him, and for the woman he may love.

REVIEW: This starts a bit slow, but Dimitri's voice carries things along, and I liked this dark, interesting twist on genie mythology. He tries to be jaded and tough, but his misery shines through his snark, and I couldn't help feeling sorry for him even when I wanted to smack him for missing obvious clues. Syd's a bit of a stereotype, a cocky and contradictory provider of sex and drugs and plot points, though she's one of the more redeemable characters in the cast. As for Kurt and Sylvia, they embody the concept of absolute power corrupting absolutely down through the generations. Despite violence and sex (both tending to be drawn-out affairs), the plot takes some time to build momentum, and even when it does it tends to slow down and wallow in Dimitri's helpless torment. The ending pulls a few too many curves, though at least it didn't go where I half-feared it might (no spoilers, sorry, save that, no, the genie curse isn't just all in Dimitri's head; it's a very real thing, despite some hints to the contrary.) I also felt there was a little more explanation needed on the jinn in this world... though I suspect the sequel deals with that. On the whole, it's not a bad book, if a little dark and somewhat overlong.

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