Wench Review of...

Nicole Peeler's Jinn and Juice

Nicole Peeler is a Wench fave author, and I am one of the few Wenches who didn't listen to the others when it came to her Jane True series. So when we got the Netgalley for her new series, The Jinni, Jinn and Juice, and I saw the absolutely gorgeous cover (I mean seriously, look at that cover!!!), I jumped for a chance to read it!

I'll admit I'm rarely intrigued by Jinni lore in mainstream lit, since the mythology leans heavily on Western tropes and leaves out much of the dark, creepy and dangerous, and is more about the sexy, "exotic" stereotypes, especially when it comes to female Jinn in their skimpy belly dancing outfits, more sultry than terrifying and powerful, but I was willing to give it a try!

Click through to see what I thought! 

This review is largely spoiler free.

The world building was flawless. I was instantly fascinated by the different kinds of supernatural creatures, the Purebloods and the Immunda, the bound or unbound Jinn and the magi who can bind them, the whole world of Sideways. The steel-tainted magic of Pittsburgh and Lyla being able to tap into it when others can't. Glimpses into the world she came from. It was all absolutely riveting. I was intrigued to read about Lyla's past, and how she became a Jinni, and was interested to see how Ms. Peeler would retell the stories of the region my parents and their parents call home that I grew up listening to. 

Lyla's origin was definitely one of the most interesting things in the book for me. Being cursed by a Jinni as old and powerful as Kouros is a big fucking deal. And the reader instantly gets that there might be more to it than meets the eye. 

Purgatory is a club at which our resident Jinni, Lyla, dances and where all her VERY interesting friends also work. There's Charlie, whom I loved, Rachel Divide, a drag queen psychic, Yulia a will-o'-wisp, Bertha the bouncer, and many more. She has a solid group of friends who have her back. And they're all a little bit crazy, like all the best people are!

"Should I put the body with the others?"

Charlie nodded. "I'll help."
Oz turned to me, eyes wide. "Others?"
"Never go into the basement," I said.

Ozan Sawyer is a just out of the wrapper Magi.. and I was worried about what kind of "alpha" male we'd have as Lyla's new "master" since that could go horribly wrong for me, personally. The dynamics needed to balance out some way, and they did. Oz is a wonderful guy. I know people complain about him being too mild, too passive, not all-knowing, not ALPHA enough. But I thought he was a solid guy. Not to mention.. VERY sexy. I have a thing for gingers with tattoos... and nice guys with minimal egos and manners are my weakness. So I was willing to give it a chance even though their relationship progressed at a pretty accelerated rate. 

The timing was frustrating, just ONE week before her curse was up. ONE week. One week and she'd be free. But a Magi bound her. Sigh. But good stories often are frustrating, so I buckled down for the ride. 

The book was well paced, the world was fascinating, and I adored Lyla's family, aka her friends who love her and would do anything for her. We're so used to reading those loner female leads, who need to be taught they are awesome, they are worthy of love, etc. But Lyla already knows, and she knows her friends would do anything for her. I can get behind that. 
"Not that he does anything when I'm passed out," I told her hastily.

"He'd better not. Because I swear to the goddess if I find out he's touched you I will slit him from crotch to tongue."

I also loved how Lyla is unapologetic about the life she chooses to live. About dancing, and being a fun loving party girl. Hell, I'd be like that if I was immortal. But like Lyla, it wouldn't be the ONLY thing about me. I know people were complaining about her not "acting like an ancient being" but really... why is there a certain way an ancient being would act? Your personality is still your own. 

"It's just that you've lived for so long. You must have so much to tell.. so much knowledge to share. And you dance in a bar."

I couldn't help but laugh. "I'm sorry to disappoint you," I said. "But I love dancing. And I gave up crashing against human ignorance about three centuries ago, which is why I don't participate in coffee klatches anymore. I don't have anything to tell anyone that's not already on Wikipedia. It's not that the stories aren't out there, it's that humans don't listen."

"But still..."
"Oz, I dance in a bar because I like dancing in a bar. I like being with my friends; I like performing."

I guess my only issue with the story was some of the stereotypical stuff about the region where the baddie is from, the really tired motivations someone from there would do what they did, and just the fact that Lyla as a Jinni was a decidedly Western pop culture version of one, kinda a la I Dream Of Jeannie, and I was expecting something grittier, darker, and less ...sexy belly dancing Jinni in skimpy clothes who pretty much falls for the first one of her Masters who treated her like a person and not a slave.

That being said, this was a solid first installment of a new series. And despite my issues, I was fascinated enough with the characters and her past, and Kouros's motivations, to keep on reading on! I'll admit, I especially cannot get enough of her amazing friends, especially Charlie!

This Wench rates it :


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