This is going to be a short review for a short (and enjoyable) book!
In an alternate Cairo of the past, machines, magic, and humans live side by side. Agent Hamed al-Nasr and his new recruit, Agent Onsi, work for the the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, the organization that keeps humans and magical creatures living together in harmony. But when a haunted tram car turns out to be more than it first appears, the two will have to work together quickly to keep the balance in check.
I’m learning that I really, really like short novels. This one is about 130 pages, and perfect to read in a lazy afternoon. Although it was short, it felt like a really well-built world, and I liked the characters a lot.
Agent Hamed and Agent Onsi are definitely the stereotypical grumpy old guy and overexcited newbie on the job, but their characters were still really fun to observe. I could definitely see this becoming a short series of detective novels with them as the main detectives. (the first book, A Dead Djinn in Cairo, is set in the same universe, but with a different MC)
My favorite part of this book though, was the world. Though it may sound strange, I really think the cover of this one helped immerse me into the story. Everything was described how I saw it there, and Combined with the awesome descriptions, it made for a really vivid picture. I felt like I was actually walking the streets of Cairo with the agents. The mystery aspect was also interesting, and as I knew nothing about the lore included, I was on my toes until the end.
So if you’re ever in the mood for something short and sweet, I highly recommend this book!
Intended Audience: Adults (although I think this would be fine for YA readers too)
Content warnings: none that I can remember??