"Interesting New Slant on Genie Theme"
This is Ms. Nance's debut novel. The sequel, MORE THAN
MAGIC was one of the kickoff stories for Love Spells new
Perfect Heroes line.
Multimedia specialist Zoe Calderone no longer believes in
wishes or men. Her every wish had ended first in
disillusionment and then abandonment by the two men who had
mattered most in her life (her father and husband). When
her neighbor Elvina and 9-year-old daughter Mary invite her
to participate in a conjuring, Zoe refuses. When Mary
makes Zoe an offer she can't refuse, Zoe capitulates but
only to teach her daughter one of life's tough lessons.
Zoe repeats the words in the spell book and lo and behold,
three strands of smoke, one from each of the three
candles, twine together to form a man. Not any man, a
gorgeous naked man, a bound Djinni named Simon, who demands
that she declare her wishes. This just won't do. Zoe
refuses to wish, knowing that the wishes will inevitably
Simon for his part doesn't trust the treachery of human
females. Once he had trusted his hearted and his true name
to once such as her. He had thought to marry the human,
but instead was betrayed. His faith in the female resulted
in his binding, a state intolerable to a free spirited
Djinni. He was sentenced to grant 3 wishes each, to 100
summoners. He has served 92; Zoe is summoner number 93.
Simon has already suffered 1000 years of binding, and in
recent years belief in magic has dwindled. His only wish is
to rapidly grant her wishes and find the remaining 7
summoners so that he may finally be free to return to his
people. The greed and avarice that has marked the wishes
of his previous summoners hasn't done much to change his
opinion of humans. It hasn't prepared him for ZoŽ's
stubborn refusal to wish. He tries tricking her into
To prove to her daughter that wishes are futile, she makes
a harmless test wish. She wishes for a new car. Simon, not
having been summoned for so long, doesn't have a clue of
the requirements, and invents his own. The car is totally
unsuitable. Oh it's a major improvement over the typical
vehicle, that's the problem: it just won't fit in.
Zoe's refusal to wish causes Simon no endless frustration,
but it also affords him time to get to know and care for
the woman. Her company is being sabotaged by a well-heeled
rival and her ex-husband is involved as well. Her
daughter's custody is threatened. Simon wants her to wish.
His need for her to wish becomes unbearable and her resorts
to evil forces to coerce her, but he can't go through with
it. She has come to mean a great deal to him.
He takes her to his world hoping to make her understand.
On Kaf, Zoe learns the true extend of Simon's burden. She
realizes that the stereotype of the bound genie is not the
norm, that Simon's people are free. She also finds that
Simon must live as an outcast in his own world until his
sentence is served. She returns, determined to make her
wishes, perhaps to wish him free.
Upon return, Simon uses his ma-at (magic) to help Mary
overcome a learning problem. He hoped to prove how good the
ma-at can be, but Zoe is fiercely independent. In her fury
she wishes Simon could live as a human for 2 weeks to
understand her feelings about hard work over taking the
easy road. She doesn't realize what she's done. Djinn
living on Terra (Earth) must return to Kaf every 12 days to
revitalize. If they do not do so they die. Naturally Zoe's
enemies choose this time to do their nasty deeds. Simon
must find a way to help her without his magic, in doing so
he becomes very weak. Zoe can't use her wishes to save
Simon's life for he can't grant them, thanks to her
thoughtless wish. She realizes that she believes in him
and loves him with all her heart. Can she find a way to
save his life? If so, is she strong enough to set him
free, knowing that she will lose him anyway?
This was an interesting new prospective on the genie
theme. The story got kind of slow toward middle, but the
pacing improved considerably in the sequel, so I don't see
it as a major stumbling block for Ms. Nance's future.
Copyright © 1999
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted January 3, 2002