Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha'arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she's certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer. So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case.
... did not disappoint ... Clark takes a fascinating premise and extrapolates the reactions and consequences to the rest of the world. Against this inventive alternate history backdrop he sets up a clever crime and even cleverer detective ... True to form, Clark weaves in nuanced discussions of colonialism, the patriarchy, white feminism, sexism, racism, misogynoir, and blackface, among other issues. I especially appreciated the way he explored the way Westerners utilized racism and Egyptians colorism to denigrate and oppress ... builds on the momentum of not just the rest of the series but the Clark canon. It’s his most complex work to date, full of all the wit, imagination, and incisive socio-cultural critique fans have come to expect. At least a third of the pages of my review copy are dogeared, marking important passages and startling lines, interactions, and scenes worth coming back to. I could easily write three times as much as I have now and still only scratch the surface of this outstanding novel. This will be at the top of my To Recommend list for a long time coming.
... the literary equivalent of a cup of lovely mint tea: a refreshing, delightful and magical mystery to enjoy while absorbing vitamin D on a crisp spring day ... smooth and welcoming ... provides the perfect amount of fan service to engage returning fans without alienating new readers ... Clark’s characters have wholesome, wonderful interactions with each other, never waiting long to address their interpersonal conflicts and always resolving on friendly terms. 'Friendly' is an apt description of the book as a whole. While there is certainly conflict, tension and danger in A Master of Djinn, the reader will find themselves propelled along through the book by the likeability and relatability of Fatma. Even if you guess the plot’s various twists and turns, Fatma’s endearing style, gruffness and no-nonsense approach make A Master of Djinn worth reading ... While A Master of Djinn admittedly breaks little new ground, Clark has created an engaging mystery and a vivid world with intrigue, arcane secrets and an epic climax.
The fantastical worldbuilding highlights the thematic issues of colonialism, spirituality, and race relations, while Clark’s prose provides a cinematic lens to issues of gender and class viewed through Agent Fatma’s investigations and relationships ... Although the book is marketed as Clark’s debut novel, readers have been following him for several years and this work builds upon his alternate history Cairo, bringing together several enjoyable characters in a richly detailed, action-packed novel.