December 30, 2012
The Princess of Dhagabad by Anna Kashina
The Princess of Dhagabad has long awaited her twelfth birthday. For it is on this day that she is allowed to have the bottle that her grandmother left to her. And she gets quite the surprise that the bottle holds a Djinn. An all-powerful being that is essentially her slave since she holds the bottle. At first indifferent, he grows to be her closest friend and when she must marry, he is there to make sure that everything can go as smooth as possible. He just doesn't account for the Princess's wishes and sense of adventure, and the belief that she can change things that have never before been changed.
The Princess is pretty inquisitive. She has a genuine love of the world around her and it frightens Hasan, her Djinn, that she too could become like him because of the knowledge that she surrounds herself with. He, himself, is somewhat mysterious, but because the history of the Djinn and himself are laid out, it gives an interesting perspective into the life of the Djinn and how he became one. The Princess's parents, and indeed many of the people at the palace, aren't as kind or supportive of her though and at many times it feels like it is the Princess and the Djinn against the world. Which is somewhat unbelievable. I'd like to think there are more redeemable people than just the two of them.
The plot meandered along. I had a sense it was more setting up the characters and the relationships before the next book. But that was ok, I thought the history and story telling behind the characters was interesting. The writing was a tad juvenile, but easy to lose yourself in. I liked when the Princess had her world view but found Hasan's point of view to be a little over flowery. It didn't detract too much from the book though. There were some mature themes that I didn't expect in this book. The Sultan and his harem were described in great detail, including some of those activities that they partake in. Not that that's a bad thing, just not what I expected from this young adult seeming fantasy story. There is a little bit of violence, but it is not nearly as descriptive as the sex scenes are.
I'll definitely be looking out for the second book in the series. I'm eager to see what happens and if Hasan and the Princess can overcome more obstacles with their friendship.
The Princess of Dhagabad