Every month I get the Tor.com newsletter and with that comes a free ebook. Last month that was The Haunting of Tram Car 015. That title immediately grabbed my attention, probably because 015 is my area code, and I looked the story up on Goodreads. I found out this novella was the second in a series and that the first short story was for free on Tor.com as well. So I decided to read both as soon as possible. And I’m so happy I did! So today I have a mini review for both stories. Let’s jump in.
Egypt, 1912. In an alternate Cairo infused with the otherworldly, the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities investigate disturbances between the mortal and the (possibly) divine. What starts off as an odd suicide case for Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha’arawi leads her through the city’s underbelly as she encounters rampaging ghouls, saucy assassins, clockwork angels, and plot that could unravel time itself.
A Dead Djinn in Cairo by P. Djèlí Clark
Published by Tor Books on 18/05/2016
A Dead Djinn in Caïro
This story had such a cool world! And there was a lot of world building in a little amount of pages. The short story only has 43 pages but I know more about this world than a do about some other fantasy worlds. It’s set at an alternate Caïro where otherworldly beings live among humans. We follow Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha’arawi from the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities as she investigates an odd suicide.
There was a compelling mystery at the front of this story, even though it was a pretty fast one. Through the mystery you get a good look at the world and learn a lot. While the mystery was solved quite fast, as there are only 43 pages, it was really well done. The story also had me craving more of the world and the characters. It was such a quick but really fun read.
And her father always said if people were going to stare, you should give them a show.
I loved Fatma, she was an amazing protagonist. She is very well developed, and felt like a real person. I also liked Siti a lot and can’t wait to read more about both characters! Aasim was interesting but he needs more page time before I can really form an opinion about him. Hopefully we get that in the full length novel. If not, I guess he just wasn’t important enough haha.
The Haunting of Tram Car 015 returns to the alternate Cairo of Clark's short fiction, where humans live and work alongside otherworldly beings; the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities handles the issues that can arise between the magical and the mundane. Senior Agent Hamed al-Nasr shows his new partner Agent Onsi the ropes of investigation when they are called to subdue a dangerous, possessed tram car. What starts off as a simple matter of exorcism, however, becomes more complicated as the origins of the demon inside are revealed.
The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark
Published by Tor.com on 19/02/2019
The Haunting of Tram Car 015
I received this novella through tor.com’s newsletter and I would highly suggest you sign up as well. Every month there’s a new free ebook and there have been amazing titles in the past!
At first I was a bit disappointed. While this novella takes place in the Caïro from the previous story, Fatma isn’t our MC this time around. And since I really liked her as an MC that was something I had to get over haha. In this novella we follow Senior Agent Hamed. He was definitely a good MC, but I still prefer Fatma.
Except,” Hamed put in, “if what you say is possible, women could have thought up the al just as easily.” Abla shook her head sternly. “No woman would ever think up something so ridiculous.
This world is of course still amazing. Every now and then I went online to look some things up. I think it’s so cool to read something that’s based on a different culture and have their tales spun into this fantastical world. It also shows how amazing it is to read diverse books, and it reminded me I want to read more fantasy books based on different cultures.
I loved how the author managed to write a story about a plot that seems so small at first glance. It was actually really hard to put the book down and I didn’t see the little twists coming. I also really loved the side plot of the suffragettes. While Fatma wasn’t the MC in this story, we do get to read about her a little bit. And that made my heart very happy! I also loved seeing Siti again. This book got me even more excited for the upcoming sequel.
As you have read, I loved these stories so much! I can’t wait to read the full length novel and you can bet I will be reading more from P. Djèlí Clark. Have you read anything by this author? And do you plan on reading these stories? Let me know down below!