The Blind Wish (Jinni Wars) Hardcover – July 14, 2015
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About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
We stood along the canal that divided the Cavern into two similar hemispheres. The canal began at the waterfall, snaked through the glittering jinni city, and poured into the Lake of Fire. A web of tall gas lamps kept the city pulsing in bright, golden light. The jinn called them wishlights.
Spreading outward from the canal were the homes and buildings made by the jinn, some stacked and sloping up the curved walls. There were more jinn, more buildings, and more scents and colors here than in my human village in the mountains, and I wasn’t sure I would ever become accustomed to the crowd. Today was worse than usual. I had to twist my shoulders sideways to avoid brushing up against anyone, and when that didn’t work and I found myself face-in-armpit with a tall stranger, I would hold my breath and slink away as fast as I could. A few times, Shirin smiled apologetically at me, as though she understood what was troubling me but could do nothing to change it.
It was the day of the Breaking, something that happened once a year. All jinn except my twin, Najwa, who was still in the Baghdad palace, had come to the canal. As it was my first time witnessing the Breaking, Atish and Shirin guided me, like a lost child, to a row of carts where an army of old women stood handing out the glass orbs.
Atish was the newest member of the Shaitan, the elite branch of the jinni army, and Shirin was still waiting for her chance to be marked into the Corps of Physicians. Both of them had been friends with Najwa before I arrived, and had saved me when I’d made a mess of things before. Alhamdulillah for Najwa’s friends, because without them I’d be sniffing jinni armpits all day.
“See?” Atish asked. He pointed at the dozens of children lining the canal. Some leaned out over the water, holding up their little orbs of glass. But theirs were lit from within, each a different color. One boy, taller than the rest, pulled back his arm and threw his orb into the waterfall.
The ball of light plopped into the canal and bobbed to the surface before floating downstream. Seconds later, a spray of colored orbs attacked the waterfall as the rest of the children sent theirs flying.
By twos and threes, they floated past where I stood, pressed between Atish and Shirin. Each one was still whole, still glowing, like soap bubbles in sunlight.
“How do they not break?” I asked.
“Magic,” Atish said wickedly.
I snorted in response and rubbed my thumb over the slick surface of my own orb. “Show me what I’m supposed to do, oh great wise man.”
He held his orb up to his nose and shut his eyes. A moment later, a faint pop came from his hands, followed by a golden flame that grew from within the orb. “Easy.” He winked at me.
Beside me, Shirin groaned. “That does nothing for her, you know.” She leaned in close. “You’re supposed to think of something you regret, something that is keeping you from moving on. It could be something as small as lying about what you ate for breakfast, or, you know . . .”
She didn’t have to finish. I knew she was referring to the wish I’d made on Najwa. When I first met Najwa, I’d been on my way to Baghdad to marry Prince Kamal. I was desperate to avoid marrying the prince, because I wanted to be with my little brother Yashar. When a jinni showed up at my window, I thought she was an answer to my prayers. I grabbed her, wished on her, and made her take my place. What I didn’t know then was that I was making a Fire Wish--a wish demanded by one jinni from another. Basically, I enslaved Najwa and stole her life from her. It’s hard to recover from doing something like that to anyone, especially your sister.
“But the point is,” Shirin continued, “you put your bad memory in here, where it can’t get out, and then you send it to the lake.”
“Why to the lake? What’s supposed to happen to it there?”
“It shrivels and dies,” Atish said.
“No.” Shirin shook her head. “It disintegrates. It’ll float out there until it comes across one of the flames. Then the flames will break the glass and absorb the weight of the memory.”
“And then I won’t remember it anymore?” I asked. I wasn’t sure forgetting any of my mistakes was a good thing. How would I know who I was if I forgot what I had done?
“You’ll remember it,” she said. “But it won’t drag you down anymore.”
“Which raises the question,” Atish said with a teeth-flashing grin, “what could I have done that I regret this year?”
I gulped, not sure how to respond, which annoyed me. He was teasing me, and I liked it--which annoyed me even more.
Shirin took my hand in hers, palm outstretched. “Just hold up the orb, like Atish did, and send the memory into the orb. It’s like recording a memory in a crystal shard. Only this is more symbolic.”
The jinn can store memories in crystals, which they revisit whenever they want to. It was useful, but my first experience as witness to such a memory had been morbid and shocking. I wasn’t in a hurry to to through that again.
“I haven’t recorded any memories. Ever.”
“You just think about it, then wish it into the glass. It’s not that hard. I mean, all those children did it,” she said.
I nodded, and stared into the clear ball. The orbs from the children’s memories floated past, lighting my orb from behind. If they could do it, so could I.
But lighting it wasn’t the hard part. I had to choose one bad memory. Why only one? I could fill up an entire box of these little balls each year.
- Lexile Measure : HL720L
- Grade Level : 7 - 9
- Item Weight : 15.2 ounces
- Hardcover : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0385369808
- ISBN-13 : 978-0385369800
- Publisher : Random House Books for Young Readers (July 14, 2015)
- Product Dimensions : 5.75 x 1 x 8.55 inches
- Reading level : 12 and up
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,076,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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