Short Story Review: A Tale of Ash in Seven Birds by Amal El-Mohtar

A Tale of Ash in Seven Birds (The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories) by Amal El-Mohtar

Publisher: Solaris

Publication Date: March 9, 2017

Edition: ebook

Genre: Fantasy , Short-Story

Rating: 3/5

Rise as a phoenix


A fascinating collection of new and classic tales of the fearsome Djinn, from bestselling, award-winning and breakthrough international writers.

Imagine a world filled with fierce, fiery beings, hiding in our shadows, in our dreams, under our skins. Eavesdropping and exploring; savaging our bodies, saving our souls. They are monsters, saviours, victims, childhood friends.

Some have called them genies: these are the Djinn. And they are everywhere. On street corners, behind the wheel of a taxi, in the chorus, between the pages of books. Every language has a word for them. Every culture knows their traditions. Every religion, every history has them hiding in their dark places. There is no part of the world that does not know them.

They are the Djinn. They are among us.

With stories from: Nnedi Okorafor, Neil Gaiman, Amal El-Mohtar, Catherine King, Claire North,  E.J. Swift, Hermes (trans. Robin Moger), Jamal Mahjoub, James Smythe, J.Y. Yang, Kamila Shamsie, Kirsty Logan, K.J. Parker, Kuzhali Manickavel, Maria Dahvana Headley, Monica Byrne, Saad Hossein, Sami Shah, Sophia Al-Maria and Usman Malik.

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

A Tale of Ash in Seven Birds is about your rise and recantation, as your go from bird to bird, trying to escape and beat-out, the wizard-nation from killing you.

Amal goes through seven birds (as the title appropriately suggest), giving what it is this bird is known for, why you have changed to this bird, its strength, and then finishes off with how the wizard-nation will, once again, try to defeat you.

This is an extremely short story – only 6 pages on my ebook – which works to the story’s advantage because this is the type of story where you will want to read it multiple times to find more message that the authors has hidden in the words.

Amal actually commented on her blog stating:

 I’ve thus far managed to read it out loud all of once without choking up, but that says more about me and the state of the world than it does about the story, I think. (There are Hamilton references in it, but only one that’s egregious.)

I am not one for underlying messages, unless I know what exactly it is I should be looking for, but I still enjoyed reading this – particularly because of the flow of Amal’s prose.

3/5 Rating


Date Read: 03/05/2017
Review Written: 03/05/2017
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