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In this enthralling historical epic, set in New York City and the Middle East in the years leading to World War I— the long-awaited follow-up to the acclaimed New York Times bestseller The Golem and the Jinni—Helene Wecker revisits her beloved characters Chava and Ahmad as they confront unexpected new challenges in a rapidly changing human world. Chava is a golem, a woman m In this enthralling historical epic, set in New York City and the Middle East in the years leading to World War I— the long-awaited follow-up to the acclaimed New York Times bestseller The Golem and the Jinni—Helene Wecker revisits her beloved characters Chava and Ahmad as they confront unexpected new challenges in a rapidly changing human world. Chava is a golem, a woman made of clay, able to hear the thoughts and longings of the people around her and compelled by her nature to help them. Ahmad is a jinni, a perpetually restless and free-spirited creature of fire, imprisoned in the shape of a man. Fearing they’ll be exposed as monsters, these magical beings hide their true selves and pretend to be human—just two more immigrants in the bustling world of 1900s Manhattan. Having encountered each other under calamitous circumstances, Chava and Ahmad’s lives are now entwined—but they’re not yet certain of what they mean to each other.  Each has unwittingly affected the humans around them. Park Avenue heiress Sophia Winston, whose brief encounter with Ahmad left her with a strange illness that makes her shiver with cold, travels to the Middle East to seek a cure. There she meets a tempestuous female jinni who’s been banished from her tribe. Back in New York, in a tenement on the Lower East Side, a little girl named Kreindel helps her rabbi father build a golem they name Yossele—not knowing that she’s about to be sent to an orphanage uptown, where the hulking Yossele will become her only friend and protector. Spanning the tumultuous years from the turn of the twentieth century to the beginning of World War I, The Hidden Palace follows these lives and others as they collide and interleave. Can Chava and Ahmad find their places in the human world while remaining true to each other? Or will their opposing natures and desires eventually tear them apart—especially once they encounter, thrillingly, other beings like themselves?


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In this enthralling historical epic, set in New York City and the Middle East in the years leading to World War I— the long-awaited follow-up to the acclaimed New York Times bestseller The Golem and the Jinni—Helene Wecker revisits her beloved characters Chava and Ahmad as they confront unexpected new challenges in a rapidly changing human world. Chava is a golem, a woman m In this enthralling historical epic, set in New York City and the Middle East in the years leading to World War I— the long-awaited follow-up to the acclaimed New York Times bestseller The Golem and the Jinni—Helene Wecker revisits her beloved characters Chava and Ahmad as they confront unexpected new challenges in a rapidly changing human world. Chava is a golem, a woman made of clay, able to hear the thoughts and longings of the people around her and compelled by her nature to help them. Ahmad is a jinni, a perpetually restless and free-spirited creature of fire, imprisoned in the shape of a man. Fearing they’ll be exposed as monsters, these magical beings hide their true selves and pretend to be human—just two more immigrants in the bustling world of 1900s Manhattan. Having encountered each other under calamitous circumstances, Chava and Ahmad’s lives are now entwined—but they’re not yet certain of what they mean to each other.  Each has unwittingly affected the humans around them. Park Avenue heiress Sophia Winston, whose brief encounter with Ahmad left her with a strange illness that makes her shiver with cold, travels to the Middle East to seek a cure. There she meets a tempestuous female jinni who’s been banished from her tribe. Back in New York, in a tenement on the Lower East Side, a little girl named Kreindel helps her rabbi father build a golem they name Yossele—not knowing that she’s about to be sent to an orphanage uptown, where the hulking Yossele will become her only friend and protector. Spanning the tumultuous years from the turn of the twentieth century to the beginning of World War I, The Hidden Palace follows these lives and others as they collide and interleave. Can Chava and Ahmad find their places in the human world while remaining true to each other? Or will their opposing natures and desires eventually tear them apart—especially once they encounter, thrillingly, other beings like themselves?

30 review for The Hidden Palace

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Rodrigues [decafJess]

    I was incredibly nervous to start this book. I adored The Golem and the Jinni, but it has been eight years since I read it and the details were a little fuzzy. What if The Hidden Palace was confusing to me? What if it didn't live up the hype in my mind? I put it off until I couldn't any more and dove right in. If you, too, are feeling a bit anxious about forgetting the details of The Golem and the Jinni, fear not. It seems the author anticipated as much and lays a neat trail of breadcrumbs for us I was incredibly nervous to start this book. I adored The Golem and the Jinni, but it has been eight years since I read it and the details were a little fuzzy. What if The Hidden Palace was confusing to me? What if it didn't live up the hype in my mind? I put it off until I couldn't any more and dove right in. If you, too, are feeling a bit anxious about forgetting the details of The Golem and the Jinni, fear not. It seems the author anticipated as much and lays a neat trail of breadcrumbs for us to follow, replaying memories for us, explaining prior events, and bringing us back up to speed. I fell right into the rhythm of the story, remembering as I went along, and was entranced. There are multiple narrators and they took turns being my favorite. There are, of course, Chava (the golem) and Ahmad (the jinni), along with Sophia (the young women whose brief dalliance with Ahmad in The Golem and the Jinni has left her in persistent physical suffering), Anna and her son Toby (Chava's pregnant friend from the previous book), and two new characters: a young jinn woman in the Syrian desert, and Kreindel, the young daughter of an Orthodox rabbi who stumbles into dark magic. Their stories all weave closer and closer together until they are all drawn together in a climactic finish. I felt most invested in Sophia's story, oddly enough, as I remembered little of her from the previous book, and loved the new characters. No one is completely good, no one is completely bad - they are all multifaceted and complex characters that we see from different angles, getting a better understanding of each them as they interact with the others. I would have read all 480 pages in a single sitting if my life would have allowed it. I very highly recommend this book, particularly to fans of historical fiction and magical realism. While it is chock-full of mythological elements, the historical and geographical setting are characters of their own and it doesn't quite feel right to call it a fantasy novel. It is a deep look at humanity shown through the lens of the inhuman. Again -- I VERY HIGHLY recommend this book. Thank you to the author for writing this. arc received to review

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    OMG. OMG. OMG. *hyperventilates* OMG. OMG. OMG. *hyperventilates*

  3. 4 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    If you have not yet read The Golem and the Jinni, stop! Right now! Go back. Read that, then we can talk about the sequel. Read it already? Great. Not yet? Ok, I’ll wait, but not for a thousand years, like some. You’re back? Cool. Great book, right? So Chava, the golem of book #1 and Ahmad, the jinni of that tale, are a bit older, and a bit wiser. They are also a bit more rounded as characters. We’ll get to them in a bit. Helene Wecker - image from Fantasy Book Cafe The story begins with an extreme If you have not yet read The Golem and the Jinni, stop! Right now! Go back. Read that, then we can talk about the sequel. Read it already? Great. Not yet? Ok, I’ll wait, but not for a thousand years, like some. You’re back? Cool. Great book, right? So Chava, the golem of book #1 and Ahmad, the jinni of that tale, are a bit older, and a bit wiser. They are also a bit more rounded as characters. We’ll get to them in a bit. Helene Wecker - image from Fantasy Book Cafe The story begins with an extremely devout rabbi, Lev Altschul (very old school) on the Lower East Side (not the guy from the earlier book) He has come across some ancient texts, books with arcane knowledge. He is not the greatest parent in the world, a widower, much more devoted to his studies than his daughter, Kreindel. She is taken care of by, essentially, a committee of congregation members. But she loves her pop and wants to learn, wants to study. Of course, girls were not welcome to imbibe the texts that Jewish boys were encouraged to learn. She spies on lessons and picks up what she can. As it happens there is a pogrom underway in one of the usual places in Eastern Europe. The rabbi, with the help of those old books, can now do something about it. He determines to send to a rabbi in Lithuania a weapon that can be used to defend oppressed Jews there. He works day and night to construct a golem for them. It does seem that Wecker’s golems always run into transit issues. Instead of heading across the Atlantic, as planned, this one, Yossele, remains in New York, due to an untimely building fire. He awaits only wakening. Replicants from Blade Runner – image from NME Speaking of golems, Chava is trying her best to be as human as possible, given her natural limitations. Q: When you thought about writing a golem character, did you think about other legends and myths about people being created out of inanimate matter? Adam from earth? The famous Golem of Prague, the greek myth of Prometheus, or Pygmalion? Frankenstein’s monster? Or even the idea of creating a modern robot? Did you want to write from those traditions or come up with something completely different? A: I certainly wrote the Golem’s character with those legends and stories in mind. In fact, in early drafts she was much closer to something like the Golem of Prague. She had less emotion, and less insight into the emotions of others. But it became clear that that wouldn’t do for a main character. So I made her more empathic, more “human” in that sense, and I think that brought her closer to the androids and cyborgs of modern science fiction, like the replicants of Blade Runner and Star Trek’s Lt. Commander Data. But I think all these stories have the same sources at heart, and the same central question, of what happens when we create life that approaches human but isn’t quite. - from LitLovers interview re Book One Despite being a magical clay being conjured by a spell, Chava still feels the compulsion to help others. And being telepathic allows her to have a pretty good idea of what folks feel, and need. Shutting out the onslaught of telepathic noise remains a challenge, but a much reduced one, as she has learned how to block a lot of it out, and she tries to stay away from overcrowded places. Concerned about people noticing her agelessness, after so long a time at the bakery, where she has been working since she arrived, Chava decides it is wise to move on. After completing a course of study at Teacher’s College, she finds an excellent gig at a Jewish orphanage in Manhattan, teaching cooking. Lt Commander Data of Star Trek NG – image from Wikipedia Speaking of hot things, in Book One, Ahmad was mostly an elemental character, all fire and immediate gratification. Book Two shows a bad boy who can still bring the heat, but who has gained considerably more awareness, of himself, and of the world around him. He has grown a sense of decency, personal responsibility, and a need for purpose. He remains in business with Arbeely, the man who had released him from his thousand-year imprisonment in a flask. He molds iron with his bare hands. Business is good, booming even, so they expand to grander quarters, where Ahmad’s smoldering creative ambitions ignite to full blast. Sleepless in Manhattan, Chava and Ahmad walk the streets and rooftops in the wee hours. They are best friends, committed to exclusivity with each other re the benefits of their connection. The young man enamored of Chava in Book One, her husband, is no more, killed off in that earlier tale. She is rightfully concerned about the downsides of having a husband or bf made of flesh and blood, and who might not live, ya know, forever, not to mention the risk of him discovering what she really is. Ahmad has sworn off humans, after the damage he did to Sophia Winston in the first book. And, speaking of damaged heiresses, Sophia has been promoted to a top-tier character. She struggles to cope with the affliction that resulted from her getting jiggi with a jinni. I guess you could call it an STD, but not the usual sort. (Even had penicillin been invented, it would not have done the trick.) She cannot get warm. Sophia is convinced that only place where there is any hope of succor is the Middle East. She travels to many ancient sites, in a constant search for local experts in pharmacology able to concoct potions that alleviate her perpetual chill. (I suppose one might see in Sophia’s inability to douse her inner flames a symbol of her carrying the torch for someone. I wouldn’t. But some might.) Cleopatra’s Needle, was transported from Egypt and installed in Central Park in 1881 - image from Wikipedia In case there were not enough magical beings wandering about, Wecker balances the scales, tipped by the weighty presence of Yossele, by adding one more. As it happens, Sophia encounters in her travels yet another fire being, a jinniyeh, Dima. It appears that the iron-bound jinni (Ahmad) is a character of legend in the jinni world. This female jinni has something special about her too, (I mean, aside from being a jinni, and going about her business unimpeded by attire) and is hoping to meet up with the only other jinni she has heard of who is also an outsider in their particular circle. She stands in contrast to Ahmad, presenting as the self-centered ball of fire he used to be. Everybody wants something. Chava wants to be human; Ahmad wants a purpose; Sophia wants a cure; the jinniyeh wants a compatriot, maybe a partner. And in case that is not enough, Yossele wants to protect his master. Kreindel wants to study Hebrew and learn all that her father had learned. More? Remember Anna, a former workmate of Chava’s at the bakery? Chava had seriously put an end to Anna’s husband whaling on her, and subsequently helped Anna and her son, Toby. Anna is terrified of Chava and wants her to stay away. In this book, Toby is a fifteen-year-old Western Union messenger, who wants to know who his father is, and who that creep in his recurring dreams might be, and what the deal is with Chava and that Arab guy. Wecker has seriously kicked up her game for this novel. There was plenty going in in the first book in terms of discussions about serious questions of religion and morality. That is no less the case in this one, with the exception that these characters are better drawn, more complex, and more interesting. They struggle with ethical dilemmas, and are challenged to make difficult decisions. There are some lovely interactions among them that will make you smile, maybe even recognize similar tete-a-tetes from your own experience. Pennsylvania Station - image from Traditional Building This is not a ha ha funny book, but there are some elements of humor here and there. In a way it is a running joke that Ahmad, while working on a large construction, has continual problems keep the over-sized glass panels he has designed from smashing. Given that the primary ingredient in glass is sand, it seems fair to ask if Ahmad might be trying to build a literal sand-castle. Washington Square Park – circa 1907 – image from NY Public Library Speaking of palaces, not all are hidden. The newly opened Pennsylvania Station, a glorious structure, is seen as a kind of palatial caravansery, a roadside inn for travelers from all over, where information was exchanged and commerce was conducted. It is a favorite spot for Ahmad on his urban peregrinations. He does not tell Chava about it, however, which makes Penn Station a bit of a hidden palace for him. Enough, certainly to merit being shown on the cover of the book. The ancient city of Palmyra, which we visit in Sophia’s wanderings, had once been a center of trade, and had a caravansary, but was mostly a ruin at the time of her visit. Palatial buildings are not the only old-world structures that echo in early 20th century Manhattan. The famous arch in Washington Square Park, erected in 1895, which was featured on the cover of The Golem and the Jinni, is reminiscent of the famous arch of Palmyra. The Greenwich Village arch is encountered again in Book Two. Cleopatra’s Needle, a two-hundred-ton obelisk, originally built in Egypt in the 15th century, was transported to Central Park in 1881. Sophia’s father visits it often. The arch in Palmyra - image from Wikipedia There are many historical touchstones, as the book begins in 1900 and ends with the approach of World War I. Wecker notes the completion of the Williamsburg Bridge in 1903, the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911, the 911 of its time, with mass casualties, and people jumping from the top three floors of the ten-story Asch building to keep from being burned alive. We hear news of the start of World War I in Europe, come across the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 and see the Arab community in lower Manhattan’s Little Syria neighborhood beginning its move to Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. We also see some of the anachronistic social and legal norms of the time. Kreindel is not allowed to study what Yeshiva boys can. Chava is not allowed to own property. Women walking alone at night are considered suspect. So the women in Wecker’s stories have to be extra strong. I don’t think I set out to deliberately showcase strong women, but I did consciously work to give every female character her due. I was very aware that I couldn’t be lazy about the women in my book, that the Victorian setting and the “fairytale” aspects might pull me toward more stereotypically weak or flat female characters if I wasn’t careful. At the same time, I couldn’t be anachronistic; I had to be true to the constraints that women lived with in that era. In the end, I became very interested in how they lived with those constraints, how they either chafed against them or found a (perhaps uneasy) peace and a certain amount of self-expression despite them. - from the Fantasy Literature interview in 2013Secrecy is a theme that permeates. Chava thinks Ahmad would prefer having a jinniyeh to her, but cannot bring herself to ask him. He is hiding from her what he has learned about a huge sacrifice Arbeely had made for him. Kreindel lies about her age, and is hiding the fact that there is a golem under her control in Manhattan. (For my money, Kreindel is the most intriguing character in the novel, a child with limited tools forced to cope with life and death decisions, in an often hostile environment. She generates both admiration for her tough-as-nails exterior and empathy for her suffering.) Sophia is hiding her need for a special potion. Dima hides from her kind what her special characteristic is. In addition to hiding from humans what she actually is, Chava keeps Riverside Park and the streets she walks by day secret from Ahmad, as he keeps Penn Station secret from her. Ahmad is working on a huge project in his building that he will not let anyone see. I suppose one might see each of these characters as their own walking, talking hidden palaces. The Williamsburg Bridge under construction circa 1900-1906 - image from the Library of Congress via Untappedcities.com The whole Golem/Jinni duology (so far) might have gone in a very different direction. Wecker talks about how it all got started in a lovely interview with the blogger Lady Grey, who has, in fact, been a friend of Wecker’s since childhood. It was during her MFA program that Wecker ran into a problem. She had wanted to write a book of linked stories, family tales of cultural background and immigration. Wecker is Jewish and her husband is Arab-American. She was impressed by how similar their family stories were, and wanted to highlight that. You don’t pay all that money for them to be nice to you. They’re gonna tell you what they think. I was having this conversation with a friend of mine, Amanda, who was in my workshop with me. She gave me probably the best tough love conversation I’ve had in my life. She said, “Helene, can I ask you a question? Why are you writing like this?” I said “What do you mean, writing like what?” She said, “Ok, you’re doing these very Raymond Carver, very realist short stories. Very MFA model. But that’s not who you are. I’ve been to your apartment. I’ve seen your bookshelves. I know what a nerd you are. And you are always talking in class about injecting the genre into literature, and busting down the barriers and bringing magic into stories and that’s what you groove on. So why are you not doing that?” I honestly had never thought of that. She had taken my head and whipped it around to where I needed to be looking at. You know I’m still like “But that’s not…these stories…don’t…with the,…that, no.“ She said “ok, look. The next thing I see from you in the workshop, I want it to be about your family, but I want it to be magical.” I was like, “Ok…well that’s my marching orders. I’m going to do what she said. I went home and sat and thought about it. It was, literally, two hours later I had the rough outline for what would be The Golem and the Jinni.” - from the Lady Grey interviewIt has been eight years since The Golem and the Jinni was published. Why did it take so long to wrote Volume Two? When her first novel was published, Wecker had a one-year-old. That child is now nine and a second has joined the family. Go ahead, try writing a novel with a baby, then giving birth to another, then having small children to take care of, even if you are sharing the duties with your mate. Piece of cake, right? Her editor was pretty understanding, at one point even telling her that if she was not ok with what she had written so far, to take another YEAR! So, supportive beyond belief. I was lucky, and The Golem and the Jinni was successful enough that, before long, I could start thinking seriously about selling my next book. Readers seemed interested in a sequel; my publisher, too, liked the concept. I had a few vague ideas for other, non-Golem-and-Jinni books, but none of them were clamoring to be told. I was now mother to a two-year-old, with a baby on the way. I was turning forty, and I was tired. The first book had taken me seven years to write. I really, really didn’t want to do that again. Write a sequel, said my weary brain. It’s got to be easier than starting over from the beginning. - from the Fantasy Café interviewI guess that may have provided the needed direction, but her real -world constraints remained, and the work took much longer than hoped. I have seen no affirmation that a third Golem/Jinni book is planned. A third book is expected from Wecker, but there is no certainty that it will be another Golem/Jinni novel. In the interview with Lady Grey, Wecker talks about having a slew of material that was cut from this book. It sounded to me like she was contemplating a volume of stories that could accompany her two novels. But the ending of this one presents several hooks that could be developed into a third novel. I know which direction I hope she takes. ==========In the summer of 2019 GR reduced the allowable review size by 25%, from 20,000 to 15,000 characters. In order to accommodate the text beyond that I have moved it to the comments section directly below.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Angela M

    “Jewish and Arab folklores, magic, the Jewish and Syrian immigrant culture and two unforgettable inhuman but sometimes human characters converge on the streets of New York . This makes for a very compelling story that is very different from what I normally read, but yet enjoyable . The lovely style of writing kept me there when some of the story seemed a bit convoluted. The book raises questions about love, friendship and what it means to be human.” The above was the brief review that I wrote aft “Jewish and Arab folklores, magic, the Jewish and Syrian immigrant culture and two unforgettable inhuman but sometimes human characters converge on the streets of New York . This makes for a very compelling story that is very different from what I normally read, but yet enjoyable . The lovely style of writing kept me there when some of the story seemed a bit convoluted. The book raises questions about love, friendship and what it means to be human.” The above was the brief review that I wrote after reading The Golem and the Jinni. I could say pretty much the same thing about this long awaited sequel. The story of Chava and Ahmad continues, with some new characters including another golem and another jinni, a female jinniyeh, as well as some recurring characters, Anna and Sophia. Told from multiple perspectives, their stories mesh, moving between Syria to New York City. Just as in the first book, this will require a suspension of disbelief and my guess is that if you enjoyed the first book and were as anxious as I was to see what the future would bring for Chava and Ahmad, you’ll enjoy this one. It’s over eight years since the first book , so I was glad that the author refreshes us with some of the details of that book. One of the things I really enjoyed was how the story reflects the time and place so well. We’re taken back to historic New York City, one of my favorite places and times to read about in the past. I love how Weckler touches on certain events that depict what is happening not just in New York , but the country and the world . The Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire , Women’s voting rights, workers’s rights , the automobile the Titanic, WWI are some that struck me. The writing is wonderful. “ The months stretched onward, the seasons passing each in turn, completing their circle, beginning again. And as they changed, New York changed, too, the city reveling in its constant newness, its own restless cycle of reinvention. Automobiles began to fit the streets…The long awaited subway opened at last…Telephones appeared …” While fantasy or folklore , while the main characters are non human, although you’d swear they were at times,and while this is not my usual kind of book, I enjoyed getting back to Chava and Ahmed. Recommended to those who enjoyed the first book, or if you’re looking for a little something different to read I received a copy of this book from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    4.5 stars. I'm not sure what direction I thought Helene Wecker would go with this sequel to The Golem and the Jinni, but this was surprising in some good ways. We meet all of our favorite characters from the first book, with new challenges that flow from the prior conflicts and issues but take us in some new directions, along with some new characters (I loved Toby and Kreindal!). Full review to come! Initial post: Look at this! A sequel to the wonderful fantasy The Golem and the Jinni! And I've j 4.5 stars. I'm not sure what direction I thought Helene Wecker would go with this sequel to The Golem and the Jinni, but this was surprising in some good ways. We meet all of our favorite characters from the first book, with new challenges that flow from the prior conflicts and issues but take us in some new directions, along with some new characters (I loved Toby and Kreindal!). Full review to come! Initial post: Look at this! A sequel to the wonderful fantasy The Golem and the Jinni! And I've just been sent the ARC, without even having asked for it (it warms my heart so much when publicists contact me to offer books I'm really excited about reading). So it's a happy day here in the Night Owl household. :) Coming out in June 2021.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    If you loved The Golem and the Jinni, then you will most definitely enjoy The Hidden Palace! Helene Wecker does not disappoint with this sequel! I loved: 1. the return of old, beloved characters and the introduction of new, intriguing ones; 2. the intertwining relationships and the parallel story-lines - I could feel the angst and joy through each of the characters' thoughts and actions; 3. the short but detailed summary from The Golem and the Jinni - very helpful; 4. how several historical events du If you loved The Golem and the Jinni, then you will most definitely enjoy The Hidden Palace! Helene Wecker does not disappoint with this sequel! I loved: 1. the return of old, beloved characters and the introduction of new, intriguing ones; 2. the intertwining relationships and the parallel story-lines - I could feel the angst and joy through each of the characters' thoughts and actions; 3. the short but detailed summary from The Golem and the Jinni - very helpful; 4. how several historical events during this time period (1900-1915) are believably woven into this story; and, 5. the exciting climax and satisfying ending, although the possibility of a trilogy is plausible (which wouldn't disappoint me in the least!) Even if you are not a fan of fantasy, you would be hard-pressed to not feel an emotional attachment (good or bad) to these memorable characters and/or an intense anticipation as the plot escalates! Highly recommend!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Two supernaturals …. Plus two more! > yes another golem and another female-jinni…. … sounds complex ….but the story flows effortlessly and the dazzling magic that captured our hearts in the first book — does so again in this second book. Actually… there is just ‘more’ of everything…. ….more drama, romance, more changes in relationships, history, (The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, The Sinking of the Titanic, The Odessa pogroms, and the beginning of the Great War), more characters, more suspense, more Two supernaturals …. Plus two more! > yes another golem and another female-jinni…. … sounds complex ….but the story flows effortlessly and the dazzling magic that captured our hearts in the first book — does so again in this second book. Actually… there is just ‘more’ of everything…. ….more drama, romance, more changes in relationships, history, (The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, The Sinking of the Titanic, The Odessa pogroms, and the beginning of the Great War), more characters, more suspense, more mythology, heroes and villains, action, travel, more community collaboration, more historical years covered, and more unexpected uniqueness. It’s just MORE…. This sequel, “The Hidden Palace”, to “The Golem and the Jinni” is on steroids……and as enchanting as can be. From 1900 - to 1915 … Helene Wecker takes us beyond lower Manhattan, and Little Syria to the Middle East… with new characters- new challenges - new storyline- some oddball surprises requiring us to suspend a little belief, a couple wonderful character standouts: Kreindel, an uncompromising orphan, and Toby, a jocular bike messenger, …..along with Chava and Ahmad…. there is just the right amount of emotional strife….seriousness, and uncanny folklore. “The Hidden Palace”, this historical legend tale is a smashing hit….packed with ingenious sides, illuminated by warmth and delicacy of Helene’s prose. An ambitious achievement,…..dazzling, delightful, and deeply affecting. MARVELOUS!!! Note: Goodreads member and friend, Will Byrnes wrote an outstanding comprehensive review. For more details … I highly recommend reading his review. This is one of those self select novels. If you loved “The Golem and The Jinni”… you’ll love “The Hidden Palace”.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Simona B

    I seriously hope the publication date won't be pushed back any more *aggressively crosses fingers* I seriously hope the publication date won't be pushed back any more *aggressively crosses fingers*

  9. 4 out of 5

    NILTON TEIXEIRA

    It’s with great sadness that I must separate myself from this book. As I said during my reading activity, this is an absorbing work of love. With this one, 8 years after the publication of “The Golem and the Jinni”, which mesmerized me, the author once again surprised me and surpassed any expectations that I had. The writing is superb! Her talent of telling a story is extraordinary. What an enthralling book! There is a delicious level of maturity that is simply fascinating. The storyline is awesome! T It’s with great sadness that I must separate myself from this book. As I said during my reading activity, this is an absorbing work of love. With this one, 8 years after the publication of “The Golem and the Jinni”, which mesmerized me, the author once again surprised me and surpassed any expectations that I had. The writing is superb! Her talent of telling a story is extraordinary. What an enthralling book! There is a delicious level of maturity that is simply fascinating. The storyline is awesome! There were times that I thought I knew where it was going, just to realize later how wrong I was (but to my delight). The characters are so rich and so believable and so interesting. Not once I was bored or disappointed. I just can’t praise this book enough. If you have not read the first book, you don’t know what you are missing. What an imagination the author has. I’m closing this chapter with goosebumps running from head to toes. Brilliant!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    It makes me sad to write this review, but after waiting eight years for a follow up to Helene Wecker’s wonderful novel The Golem and the Jinni, this was a massive disappointment. I dearly loved Wecker’s first novel and very much wanted a sequel, but now I wish I hadn’t. This isn’t a *bad* book per se. I’m not sure Wecker is capable of writing a truly bad book. But it’s hugely disappointing compared to the original novel. This is overlong and meandering, devoid of action until the very end, and la It makes me sad to write this review, but after waiting eight years for a follow up to Helene Wecker’s wonderful novel The Golem and the Jinni, this was a massive disappointment. I dearly loved Wecker’s first novel and very much wanted a sequel, but now I wish I hadn’t. This isn’t a *bad* book per se. I’m not sure Wecker is capable of writing a truly bad book. But it’s hugely disappointing compared to the original novel. This is overlong and meandering, devoid of action until the very end, and lacks the magic and atmosphere of its predecessor. The characters are mostly just living their lives now, aside from some clumsily manufactured attempts to create conflict for them, which mostly results in long stretches of mundane daily life peppered with bouts of angst. Without the wonderful descriptions of our two protagonists learning to make their way in the world and the histories of their kind, we are left this time with their tangential presence to real world historical events. This could have worked beautifully, but alas. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, the Titanic, the construction of the train station. In other words, the exact same events that always get used in novels of this era. Their presence here adds nothing to their story or to the imagined story of the characters. It’s a boring, safe route to go in an era when there are loads of other interesting goings-on to incorporate into a novel. We also have a new golem and a new jinn, both of whom are half-formed and not particularly likable characters that add nothing to the story. The other new secondary characters are fine, but nothing special or unique. So maybe The Golem and the Jinni book didn’t need a sequel after all. Wecker writes as beautifully as ever, but the story is slow, unfocused, and ultimately not very interesting or engaging. *I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lotte

    2021. oof. this is becoming like a log haha. —- Guess it's 2019, then. ._. ----- ...2018?!! Excuse me while I die 2021. oof. this is becoming like a log haha. —- Guess it's 2019, then. ._. ----- ...2018?!! Excuse me while I die

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cari

    2.5 This long-awaited sequel was sadly not what I was hoping for. On the plus side, the descriptions are still wonderful. This alternate world, where mythical creatures inhabit human places unnoticed, was still compelling and beautifully rendered. The narration is filled with accurate cultural and historical references deftly interwoven with the fantasy plot. In this novel we still have multiple POV narration and we get to see old characters again, along with the new. What didn´t work for me then? 2.5 This long-awaited sequel was sadly not what I was hoping for. On the plus side, the descriptions are still wonderful. This alternate world, where mythical creatures inhabit human places unnoticed, was still compelling and beautifully rendered. The narration is filled with accurate cultural and historical references deftly interwoven with the fantasy plot. In this novel we still have multiple POV narration and we get to see old characters again, along with the new. What didn´t work for me then? The pace of the story was uneven. There are parts that stretch for too long without a clear purpose and in contrast, important aspects of the story do not receive as much attention. (view spoiler)[ Two such aspects are Arbeely’s death and the aftermath of Chava and Ahmed’s failed relationship. Compared to Matthew's mom and Rabbi Meyer's deaths, Arbeely's passing was dealt with too quickly and we never get to see whether Ahmad got closure and was able to say goodbye. (hide spoiler)] The plot itself seemed unfocused at times and maybe as a result the ending feels rushed. Everyone converges for the final showdown and then quickly disperse. (view spoiler)[ Dima and Sophia's convoluted union needed more developing. Sophia's wandering in the dessert should have been trimmed and more time devoted to this part of the story. Her miraculous recovery was confusing at best. (hide spoiler)] The wrap up in the epilogue did not really clarify things in a satisfying way. But, it leaves the door open to future installments. (Although this can be inferred from the subtitle of this book alone: “A novel of the Golem and the Jinni.” Maybe with this book a series is born?) (view spoiler)[ After all, it seems like Chava will open a home for displaced mythical creatures in a move reminiscent of X-men’s professor Xavier mansion school for mutants. That is not to mention the possibility to continue the storylines of Sophia/Dima and Toby/Kreindel. (hide spoiler)] As someone who adores “The Golem and the Jinni,” I was very disappointed by the new developments for the main couple in this book. (view spoiler)[ More than anything I was deeply saddened by Chava and Ahmed’s ugly break-up and how little space in the book was afforded to them. There is a pervasive atmosphere of defeat to their relationship. The way it is portrayed, it felt as though they never stood a chance. Societal and cultural constraints, differences of character and nature all were presented as unsurmountable obstacles. Their lack of communication should have been the major problem, except that nothing they could have said would have made a difference: since Chava cannot read Ahmad’s mind, she can never fully trust him. Ahmad’s mental breakdown was heartbreaking and more so the fact that he endured it alone. It is baffling that Chava, who feels compelled to help everyone, walked away from a bereft, grieving partner of over a decade and never looked back. I could not understand her lack of compassion when he needed her the most. To not ever consider checking up on him for three whole years, after all they had been through, it almost seems out of character. Especially in contrast to how Chava reacts after meeting Dima for 5 seconds (and in full villain mode). She immediately cares not only during their brief interaction towards the end, but in the epilogue too we see Chava worried about how Dima must be doing. She seems more understanding and invested in the well-being of this "villainous stranger" than she ever was in secluded, manic Ahmad! There is something so terribly disheartening about that... Which is why their final scene doesn’t really work for me. Having them exchange “I love you’s” (for the first time!!) right before parting ways, without really addressing what happened between them, feels like a cop out. It should have been a powerful moment, instead it was too little, too late. I was surprised when Chava hinted that maybe she'll visit him in Chicago... To do what, rekindle the resentment? While "The Golem and the Jinni" ends in a hopeful note: maybe love can conquer differences, the sequel explores the futility of trying to love someone who's different. What makes it worse, is that even with all the odds stacked against them, it is still unclear why Chava and Ahmad gave up so easily and irrevocably on each other. Their challenges were many but not unconquerable, had they chosen to do so. It is clear that both Chava and Ahmad are "young" in terms of how long they have been learning to live as humans and that they still need to find their way. However, their inability and unwillingness to understand each other were unexpected. I found the book very pessimistic in its view of this "interracial couple" and I felt like it undermines the first novel. (hide spoiler)] “The Hidden Palace” as a title is a melancholic choice. In the previous book, the Jinni’s palace is a beautiful refuge. Here we have a building but it is none of those things. (view spoiler)[It’s more akin to a self-imposed prison or a mausoleum, where Ahmad tries to bury his grief. The building is also an extended metaphor for Ahmad’s life in Little Syria: complicated, hiding a secret and ultimately destroyed, vanished without a trace. (hide spoiler)] In that sense, this book did not really offer the solace found in “The Golem and the Jinni.” "The Hidden Palace" does not have the same sense of wonder and promise.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    I was so happy to be back in this world with Ahmad and Chava! The sequel is just as immersive as the original, and it was lovely visiting with these old friends. Things are changing in the world, and for our favorite beings from folklore. Chava wonders how she will hide her lack of aging from the community she has built, while Ahmad worries he is becoming too like the people he lives amongst. As they push each other, resentments grow. Will Chava and Ahmad find a way to work out their differences I was so happy to be back in this world with Ahmad and Chava! The sequel is just as immersive as the original, and it was lovely visiting with these old friends. Things are changing in the world, and for our favorite beings from folklore. Chava wonders how she will hide her lack of aging from the community she has built, while Ahmad worries he is becoming too like the people he lives amongst. As they push each other, resentments grow. Will Chava and Ahmad find a way to work out their differences? And what will happen when they find new people more like themselves? NetGalley provided me with an arc in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Yenny

    OMG. NEED IT NOW. But take your time, Helene, so we may read another beautiful book by you. Did not know there's going to be a sequel~! I hope this is going to be great...because I love the way it ends on the first book; the not knowing what's really going to happen to them. OMG. NEED IT NOW. But take your time, Helene, so we may read another beautiful book by you. Did not know there's going to be a sequel~! I hope this is going to be great...because I love the way it ends on the first book; the not knowing what's really going to happen to them.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie G. Lewis

    I had vowed to only read series from dead authors. I hate to wait for the next book. I waited! I read it with delight and despair. In a few months or so, I will read it again.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I recall enjoying The Golem and the Jinni very much, but I had forgotten some key story elements, particularly the jinni's encounter with the human Sophia Winston and its lasting physical effect on her. A bit of a refresher is given on this and other preceding events, though I would hesitate to give this sequel to anyone who hadn't read the first. It was good to revisit the characters of Chava the golem and Ahmad the jinni as their relationship develops and they continue to try to fit in among th I recall enjoying The Golem and the Jinni very much, but I had forgotten some key story elements, particularly the jinni's encounter with the human Sophia Winston and its lasting physical effect on her. A bit of a refresher is given on this and other preceding events, though I would hesitate to give this sequel to anyone who hadn't read the first. It was good to revisit the characters of Chava the golem and Ahmad the jinni as their relationship develops and they continue to try to fit in among the humans of early 20th century America. The historical setting is meticulously recreated, from the immigrant neighborhoods of New York to the towns and deserts of Syria, where Sophia seeks a cure for her malady. Significant events are woven into the story, such as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and the sinking of the Titanic, and characters encounter notable figures like T.E. Lawrence and Gertrude Bell. However, I felt that the story lacked focus and meandered at times. Multiple side characters have their own arcs that are integrated with varying degrees of success. Dima, the female jinni, seemed especially superfluous. Most of them converged for a set piece at the end, with loose ends addressed - but not necessarily wrapped up - in an epilogue. I would have liked more resolution for Sophia after her ordeal, and I wasn't entirely clear on Chava's plans, though perhaps another sequel is in the works. Recommended, with some reservations, to fans of the original novel. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the review copy.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    (I received this book as an eARC from edelweiss) I absolutely loved The Golem and the Jinni. When I was a bookseller, it was one of my most frequently recommended books, and The Hidden Palace is a more-than-worthy follow-up. This time, the story has a larger cast of characters, some new, some familiar, following them farther afield and over many more years, still with the Jinni and the Golem at the heart of the tale. In this wider setting, Helene Wecker's nuanced characters and careful interweavi (I received this book as an eARC from edelweiss) I absolutely loved The Golem and the Jinni. When I was a bookseller, it was one of my most frequently recommended books, and The Hidden Palace is a more-than-worthy follow-up. This time, the story has a larger cast of characters, some new, some familiar, following them farther afield and over many more years, still with the Jinni and the Golem at the heart of the tale. In this wider setting, Helene Wecker's nuanced characters and careful interweaving of fable and history shine yet again. I can't wait to buy myself a copy for my shelf when this is released in June.

  18. 4 out of 5

    gio

    Omg this is finally gonna happen in 2021?? COVER???

  19. 5 out of 5

    Geoffrey

    (Note: I received an advanced reader copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley) Through my reading over the last few years, I’ve discovered that (amongst many other things), two elements that I enjoy are old New York as a setting, and also fantasy elements based on old myths and legends. So when I finally discovered this pair intertwined in Helene Wecker’s The Golem and the Jinni, the book immediately found a new fan who eagerly consumed it in a matter of just a few days. When provided the opportun (Note: I received an advanced reader copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley) Through my reading over the last few years, I’ve discovered that (amongst many other things), two elements that I enjoy are old New York as a setting, and also fantasy elements based on old myths and legends. So when I finally discovered this pair intertwined in Helene Wecker’s The Golem and the Jinni, the book immediately found a new fan who eagerly consumed it in a matter of just a few days. When provided the opportunity to read The Hidden Palace, I was both excited, but also a little cautious as I recalled too many times in the past where a sequel had proven only to be a shadow of what had made a preceding work such a delight. Happily, those concerns were soon cast off as I speedily found myself reimbursed back amongst the characters who had so captured my near undivided attention a few years ago. The book picks up from its predecessor and carries on with what feels like the obvious direction it should flow, towards all the natural questions and conflicts that now must arise. What are Chava and Ahmad, originating retrospectively in clay and fire, to do as near-immortal beings living in an ultimately mortal human world that continues to move forward around them at an ever-increasing pace? How can these near-immortal beings find their places amidst such rapid change? Are they even able to carve out lives where they can find sufficient meaning? And what of those people who continue to feel the ripples effects of being in the orbit of this pair? The story that ultimately results from this is one full of strife, searching, contemplation, loneliness, community, tragedy, hope, and overall is a work of beauty. And although I would definitely accept The Hidden Palace as a satisfying conclusion to the greater story of a jinni and golem in turn-of-the-century New York, I confess that I also wouldn't mind Wecker visiting these characters in a third installment, to use just a bit of understatement.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cook Memorial Public Library

    Highly recommended by Jo, who will interview Libertyville native Helene Wecker in a Zoom event at 7 p.m. central time June 16. To register: https://cooklib.libnet.info/event/511... Check our catalog: https://encore.cooklib.org/iii/encore... Highly recommended by Jo, who will interview Libertyville native Helene Wecker in a Zoom event at 7 p.m. central time June 16. To register: https://cooklib.libnet.info/event/511... Check our catalog: https://encore.cooklib.org/iii/encore...

  21. 4 out of 5

    laurel [the suspected bibliophile]

    3.5 stars, I think? The writing is gorgeous, and I love how everything meanders through and just dives into the setting, the people, the different threads weaving together to form this tapestry of humanity about the Golem and the Jinni, and yet...the ultimate ending (and the climax) felt very unsatisfying. Rushed and incomplete. Still enjoyable, however, as I love Wecker's writing style and her ability to just wrap so many different things together. Full RTC. I received this ARC from NetGalley for a 3.5 stars, I think? The writing is gorgeous, and I love how everything meanders through and just dives into the setting, the people, the different threads weaving together to form this tapestry of humanity about the Golem and the Jinni, and yet...the ultimate ending (and the climax) felt very unsatisfying. Rushed and incomplete. Still enjoyable, however, as I love Wecker's writing style and her ability to just wrap so many different things together. Full RTC. I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mitch

    A bit of second book syndrome, far too many coincidences to be believable, but Chava and Ahmad are still two of the most complex and compelling characters I’ve ever read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sherry

    an excellent sequel!

  24. 5 out of 5

    kartik narayanan

    DNF since it was too slow.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Walks Through Walls

    Expected publication pushed back to September 2019. Sadface. :( ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Super disgruntled to discover that the projected publication date is in 2018! Given that the first book was published in 2013, I started reading it with the anticipation that I'd surely be able to continue on to the sequel as soon as I finished it, but when I clicked through I found out it won't be out for some years, yet! How heartbreaking. Though apparently it's a fairly recent announcement that there's a sequel at Expected publication pushed back to September 2019. Sadface. :( ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Super disgruntled to discover that the projected publication date is in 2018! Given that the first book was published in 2013, I started reading it with the anticipation that I'd surely be able to continue on to the sequel as soon as I finished it, but when I clicked through I found out it won't be out for some years, yet! How heartbreaking. Though apparently it's a fairly recent announcement that there's a sequel at all, so I can't complain. Definitely will be waiting with anticipation for the next 2 years or so.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Phoebe Jeziel

    someone tell me that my boi Ahmad is gonna finally get those cuffs off his wrists pls and thank u

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jacqie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Popsugar 2021: a book set somewhere you'd like to visit in 2021 I was in New York City this past weekend and it seemed like the perfect time to read this book, since our hotel was on the lower west side. A lot has changed in the last century! Little Syria was quite near where the World Trade Center was built. It was destroyed by the construction of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel in the 1940's. The Golem and the Jinni was one of a kind. It's a very hard act to follow. Of course, there was always the Popsugar 2021: a book set somewhere you'd like to visit in 2021 I was in New York City this past weekend and it seemed like the perfect time to read this book, since our hotel was on the lower west side. A lot has changed in the last century! Little Syria was quite near where the World Trade Center was built. It was destroyed by the construction of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel in the 1940's. The Golem and the Jinni was one of a kind. It's a very hard act to follow. Of course, there was always the opening for a sequel, since both main characters are essentially immortal beings. So, this book runs from about 1901 through 1915. In that time, Chava and Ahmad try a relationship but their very different natures make things... complicated. The author introduces two young children who grow to be teenagers in the book. Toby is the son of Chava's friend Anna, and there is a supernatural nightmare that haunts him. He tries to tire himself out working as a messenger boy for Western Union on a bicycle that Chava buys for him. Kreindel is the daughter of an ultra-Orthodox rabbi. Her father decides on his own that the Jews in the war-torn Middle East need a golem protector and he takes it upon himself to create one, with his daughter's help. Unfortunately, a tragedy keeps him from achieving his goal and the golem Yossele ends up with Kreindel as his master. Chava and Ahmad break apart because of human tragedies and because they can't figure out how to heal the rifts that form in their relationship. Chava goes on to school for Home Economics and reinvents herself as Charlotte Levy, becoming a home economics instructor. Meanwhile, Ahmad disappears into creating a masterwork of metal and glass, the hidden palace of the book's title. He loses touch with the humans around him, but they have not forgotten him and his strange ways. MEANWHILE, Sophia Winston, who miscarried Ahmad's child in the previous book, debarks for the Middle East to see if she can find a way to cure herself from her constant deep chills and shakes. Her family pays for this because they can't figure out a way for her to continue in her previous life as a young socialite and heiress. She travels for years, never finding a cure but finding her own strength. MEANWHILE>>> a young jinneyeh hears a legend concerning Ahmad and becomes curious about him..... So, you can see there are a lot of different pieces here. An isolated, madly creating jinni. A golem hiding in plain sight as a teacher. A young boy who has an inkling of a world beyond the ordinary (Toby was probably my favorite character in this book). A young girl on her own with a golem to keep secret. A woman traveling the desert. A jinneyeh who has become fascinated with a story. All of these pieces come together, of course. And I wasn't quite sure what would happen if they did. But it took a while. I was frustrated by the Golem and Jinni's relationship. It seemed that the author wanted Ahmad isolated, and because of that he had to make a lot of choices that I didn't like. I'm not sure about what the purpose for the titular hidden palace really was, other than to be a setting for the climax. If there's some sort of real life correlation in New York City, I don't know what it is. And I didn't think it was important enough to be the title. I liked reading about Sophia's desert adventures well enough- I wouldn't mind reading a book just about her, frankly. The author is generally better at writing golem characters who are both a bit scary but also sympathetic than she is at writing the jinni characters- the book felt a bit unbalanced in that way. And there a lot of detail about what the characters were doing for the more than ten years that passed in the book. I didn't fall into it quite the way that I did in the first. I got a bit impatient to see where the story was going because a lot of the characters were in places that I didn't like. For me, the first book was better and perhaps it was so good that this perfectly fine book suffers in comparison. The first book contained the strong theme of the immigrant experience. Perhaps this one was about the first generation after immigration- I don't know. Probably the fact that I don't know shows that the theme doesn't match the power of the first book. However, this is a perfectly enjoyable read and you won't be sorry you read it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    John Wiswell

    Dang, this is a bold sequel. The original is a deeply beloved book to me. This is an unexpected follow-up. It dares let the surviving characters from the original book go on to lead often mundane lives of small scale growth, which is fascinating thanks to Wecker's knack for intimate detail and personal stakes. There are more dramatic events in the book, yet the biggest stakes here come from the book daring to ask if two characters who had such a romantic meeting in the first book might not be ri Dang, this is a bold sequel. The original is a deeply beloved book to me. This is an unexpected follow-up. It dares let the surviving characters from the original book go on to lead often mundane lives of small scale growth, which is fascinating thanks to Wecker's knack for intimate detail and personal stakes. There are more dramatic events in the book, yet the biggest stakes here come from the book daring to ask if two characters who had such a romantic meeting in the first book might not be right as partners for the next phase of their lives. I'll be chewing on this for a while.

  29. 5 out of 5

    CC

    If Wecker needs 8 years to work on the next book, I’ll patiently wait for it. Hands down one of my favorite 2021 reads/listens so far.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Advance copy from NetGalley. What a lovely sequel! I snuggled right back into these characters’ lives, and I loved the additional points of view. Sophia, Kreindel, and Toby’s perspectives added nicely to the intersecting stories, and they enriched the overall narrative. I probably cared least about Dima, but she was still important to the story, and I liked that the other characters were more gracious towards her than I was. It’s been eight years since I read the first book, and the story could ha Advance copy from NetGalley. What a lovely sequel! I snuggled right back into these characters’ lives, and I loved the additional points of view. Sophia, Kreindel, and Toby’s perspectives added nicely to the intersecting stories, and they enriched the overall narrative. I probably cared least about Dima, but she was still important to the story, and I liked that the other characters were more gracious towards her than I was. It’s been eight years since I read the first book, and the story could have ended there. The author gracefully worked in review of important plot points to ease the continuation of the story after so long away from it. The complications addressed in this sequel made sense for how things would continue, but it was still hard to see beloved characters struggling. Like the first book, it was a beautifully written, slow build to the culmination of these struggles, and Wecker marked important events in history along the way—the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, World War I, the Russian pogroms, the sinking of the Titanic and the Lusitania—incorporating them into her characters’ lives both directly and peripherally. Once the story hit the climax, it was very hard to put the book down or think of anything else. The kindness of the immigrant communities and the individuals who guarded Chava and Ahmad’s secrets is part of what makes the books so wonderful. The golem and the jinni’s experience of living among humans—being changed by them, as well as affecting them—is a nice metaphor for the immigrant experience of both adjusting to a new country and enriching it. The book ends on a hopeful note that, like the first, could be left alone as a completion of the story, but leaves room for more if the author decides to pick up these characters again. I hope she does.

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