Review – Tale of the Djinn: The Guardian (Tales of the Djinn #1) by Emma Holly

Tales of the Djinn: The Guardian cover image

Publisher: Self
Publish Date: Out now
How I got this book: ARC from the author

Elyse Solomon hasn’t had it easy. She lost her dad and her husband under suspicious circumstances, and her relatives know more than they’re admitting about both deaths. Then a mysterious stranger with a briefcase full of cash moves into the basement of her New York brownstone. Arcadius is gorgeous and sophisticated, but nothing about him adds up—that is, until Elyse discovers her sexy tenant is a genie desperate to save his people from a deadly curse. With so much heartache behind her, can Elyse find the courage to help the man who might be her true soul mate?
This blurb came from the author’s website.

Frequent visitors to the site know that I am a huge Emma Holly fan. I have a soft spot for most of her paranormals because of her world-building and characterization. When I saw she was working on a new series with Djinn I was extremely excited and eagerly accepted the review request. Unfortunately after finishing this first installment I have mixed feelings. I loved the world-building, thought the characters and setting fascinating, really enjoyed the different adventures but I thought the overall romantic relationship took a backseat.

Elyse’s recent life was full of tragedy. Her father was presumed dead and her husband was found brutally murdered. She was trying to maintain her home and continue to handle the things her father had left despite pressure from her uncle and cousin to let them take over. However, Elyse knew there was tension between her father and his brother, she wasn’t overly fond of her cousin and as a result didn’t appreciate their never-ending pressure. As part of maintaining her independence when two strangers showed up interested in renting the attached apartment she made the decision without consulting her relatives much to their displeasure.

Arcadius and his sidekick Joseph were desperately trying to find their way back home. They thought a possible entry-point was somewhere around Elyse’s building and were prepared to do whatever it took to get home. They weren’t counting on forming an attachment to Elyse or discovering there was a lot more at stake than a trip home. I enjoyed the touches of magic Joseph used as he helped Arcadius try to manipulate the situation and gain a large enough emotional sacrifice to open the door to their world.

While some dramatic action certainly took place during the first part of the story, I found it more of an extended set-up. I got to know the characters and some of their back-story in preparation for their adventures in Arcadius’ world. That is where I felt all of the pieces really started to come together from Arcadius’ presence on earth, his bedtime stories, and their trek to his actually home. I really liked how I experienced the “Arabian Nights” feel through both Holly’s narrative and the embedded story telling. I found myself captivated by their journey including the characters they encountered and how they dealt with a variety of different obstacles. I also found the unraveling of the reason for their journey equally as captivating and really wanted to know how things were going to turn out overall.

As much as I enjoyed the adventure and magical portions of this story I never really bought into the romance. For some reason I could see the sexual tension and attraction but I didn’t see the emotional connection besides a fascination with “other”. I still really want to see what happens to the bad guy and the two other individuals who were sent to different parts of Earth. I am also wondering how Arcadius and Joseph are going to reconcile their changed selves with their home world. In the back of my mind I am hoping that Joseph either gets his own story or his story will be woven throughout the series because I think with as much as he sacrificed, he deserves happiness.

While I didn’t find that Tales of the Djinn: The Guardian lived up to the romantic connection I expect from Holly I was still fascinated by her new world and characters. I firmly believe that the next installment will provide that connection I missed here. The teaser she provided has seriously whet my appetite and I am looking forward to seeing if Elyse and Arcadius’ relationship deepens even when they are not the central point.

I give Tales of the Djinn: The Guardian a B-

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2 thoughts on “Review – Tale of the Djinn: The Guardian (Tales of the Djinn #1) by Emma Holly”

  1. I really do like your recap of the story, and if the romance is a bit in the background, I don’t think I would mind that if the worldbuilding fascinates me. Djinn!

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