Summoned by Rainy Kaye
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
This might be the strangest book I’ve ever reviewed, in so many, many ways. First of all, I didn’t like Summoned at all when I started reading. I mean, I really didn’t. I pretty much hated the main character, Dimitri. I didn’t think much of the girl he picked up at a local bar, either, Syd. And I was really turned off by the instant (and frequent) graphic sex between them, without a shred of emotion connecting them. That lack of feeling between them nearly made me put the book right down. But I’m glad I didn’t.
Why did I keep reading? I’m not really sure, except that the general concept of Dimitri as a djinn made me curious. I’m fascinated by stories that feature djinn (or genies, as some of you might think of them, but that always makes me picture a big, blue Aladdin-style guy, with a Robin Williams voice). One of my very favorite series, Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden series, features djinns, and I’ve loved them ever since.
Even though the djinns in the Weather Warden series weren’t all good guys, by any stretch of the imagination, they all had magical power on their side. Dimitri, however, has none of that. No, the djinn as imagined by Rainy Kaye don’t have magical powers. Just a magical connection to a very bad family who makes them do horrible things, generation after generation. It’s a completely different take on the subject, and I think that’s why I kept reading longer than I normally would have.
This still doesn’t make Dimitri a likable character, in my opinion, but he was an interesting one. And suddenly, after reading along with all the morbid fascination of someone driving past a train wreck, the book reached out and grabbed me around the throat, and I was caught, hook, line and sinker. I was reading like a thing possessed, desperate to find out what was going to happen. And for that reason, I’m giving this book the full five stars. It managed to make the outcome of this story overwhelmingly important to me, and that’s no small thing.
Summoned is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. People aren’t nice. People do appalling things. Even our main character. I am NOT a person who loves that kind of bad boy, believe me. Not into Thug Chic in any way, and never have been. I’ll take my misunderstood heroes full of angsty suffering and confusion, but not cruelty and brute force. But somehow, in spite of all these things, the story was compelling, the characters believable for the most part, and the ride well worth the effort. If you want sweet little fairies and magical genies who live in lamps, this isn’t your book. If you want something very dark, and that comes at you from directions you weren’t expecting, you might want to give it a try. I doubt you’ve ever read anything quite like it before. At least, I know I haven’t.
(And BTW, the cover makes Summoned look like a YA book with a protagonist about 16 years old. Neither of these things is true, believe me. I certainly would not want any teenager of mine to read the book.)
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