Exclusive Sneak Peek at the Jinni Wars Series by Amber Lough + Giveaway (International)

THE JINNI WARS

by Amber Lough

Before we get to the exclusive excerpt from THE FIRE WISH, here's a note from Amber:

 
Have you ever had a dream that that burrowed like the roots of a weed into your veins?
 
My dream was of a book—one that I had written—on a library shelf. I could smell the musty scent of old paper, vinyl book covers. I could feel the warmth of muted readers, squatting down to get a better look at the array of worlds on that shelf. I could see one of them sliding mine out between two others, weighing it, studying it, choosing it. It was for this dream, more than anything, that I set out to write books.
 
It’s dizzying to be where I am now. I have two books out—a beautiful, matching pair. 
 
I’m grateful for those weedy roots that gripped me and wouldn’t let go. I’ll continue to feed them with more stories, more bits of writing, more books to come.
 
Thank you YABC for having me here and for sharing my book.
 
~ Amber Lough (THE JINNI WARS series, Penguin Random House)

About the Books

b2ap3_thumbnail_978-0-385-36976-3.jpgTHE FIRE WISH (THE JINNI WARS #1)

A jinni. A princess. And the wish that changes everything. . . .Beautifully written and accessible fantasy for fans of Tamora Pierce, Rachel Hartman, and Laini Taylor.
 
In this romantic and evocative fantasy, Najwa is a jinni, training to be a spy in the war against the humans. Zayele is a human on her way to marry a prince of Baghdad—which she’ll do anything to avoid. So she captures Najwa and makes a wish. With a rush of smoke and fire, they fall apart and re-form—as each other. A jinni and a human, trading lives. Both girls must play their parts among enemies who would kill them if the deception were ever discovered—enemies including the young men Najwa and Zayele are just discovering they might love.
 
To learn more about this book and see our review, go HERE.
 
b2ap3_thumbnail_image1.JPGTHE BLIND WISH (THE JINNI WARS #2)
 
Two sisters. A war. And the wish to end regret. . . . The magical, evocative follow-up to The Fire Wish.

The war: The lies that started the conflict are in the open now, but the war between the humans and the jinn is as bitter as ever—and becoming far more treacherous.

The sisters: Najwa and Zayele have just learned they’re half-jinni, half-human twins. Najwa is now the jinni representative at the human palace, working to bring peace. But her new role comes at a price—she’s no longer allowed alone with her cherished Prince Kamal. And as Zayele adjusts to life among the jinn, she discovers that she’s a magus, one of the most powerful jinn in the Cavern. Suddenly, she’s thrown into special training, and the strongest young men in the army are competing to be paired up with her.

The wish: Once again, Zayele makes a wish. A wish that she doesn’t think can possibly go wrong. A wish that neither sister could imagine would change the outcome of the war.
 
To learn more about this book and see our review, go HERE.

 

Are you ready to start reading?!

1
 
Najwa
 
The earth and all her layers sped past while I traveled to the surface. I was smoke and flame, swirling through granite, through shale and sand. It took only a moment, and then I emerged, myself again. I stepped onto the dirt and shielded my eyes from the blinding star in the sky. I was in a human’s garden, just as I’d wished.
 
Shahtabi,” I whispered. It wasn’t a long-lasting wish, but it kept me from being seen by humans. It kept me safe, and it was the first wish I’d learned in school.
 
The sun beat down on a garden filled with flowers and their spiny, pale green stems. It cast shadows—real, sun-made shadows—on the dirt. The garden was soft, without a trace of crystal. Instead, it had flowers. Delicate, fragrant roses opened on the ends of the stems, yellow and pink in their soft centers.
 
A bird landed beside me on a branch and turned its head to look at me. It had shimmering feathers that it fluffed out before turning its head another way and taking off. Just like that, it was flying through the air, straighter than a bat. I had seen a live bird, and I had seen it fly!
 
But I was here for a flower, so I squeezed my hand around a stem and was about to break it free when I heard music.
 
I dropped the stem, leaving it to bounce on its bush for a moment, and looked in the direction of the music. An arched door stood open. Someone, a human, was in there playing one of their stringed instruments. An oud.
 
The notes fluttered upward, and then dove into a melody I recognized. I couldn’t name it, or remember when I had heard it, but it felt familiar. It was like breathing in a scent that made you sad, but not remembering why.
 
I should have gotten the flower and headed straight back, but I didn’t. I tiptoed to the doorway. It was darker inside, and after my eyes adjusted, I saw a young man about my age bending over an oud and plucking at the strings. His sun-darkened fingers danced over them.
 
I knew this song. It swirled around in my memory, elusive and haunting, but I couldn’t remember where or when it had come from. I was sure I’d never even heard an oud played before. Why did it sound familiar?
 
The young man finished playing and put down the oud; then he pulled off his turban, tossed it onto the floor, and ran his fingers through his hair. It stood up, messy and thick.
 
I pressed my back into the doorway and took in the room. Shelves lined the walls, filled with bound books. Charts covered in numbers and maps of the stars hung on the walls above the shelves, while scales brimming with broken rocks stood scattered on the single table in the room’s center. It was a kind of laboratory, but one in which human boys played music.
 
The music hung thickly in the air, like the scent of cinnamon, as he stood up and went to the table, taking two long strides before picking up a stone ball off one of the scales. He stared at the ball, which was so large he had to hold it with both hands. Then he turned it over, where it caught the light in milky-white layers. It was selenite. We used it to house the flames of our streetlights, but it was heavy. I had never seen anyone rolling it in his hands before, pressing it close to his face.
 
“How is this going to work?” he asked the almost-empty room.
 
My face started to tingle. Soon my shahtabi wish would fade, and he’d see me standing in his doorway. I backed out of the boy’s laboratory while he was still staring at the selenite ball. Then I turned and ran to one of the rosebushes.
 
I was in a pool of hot sunlight when the wish died out, with a thorn-riddled stem between two fingers. Quickly, I bent the stem till it snapped, gasping as the thorns pierced my skin, and held the rose tight against me.
 
Mashila,” I whispered.
 
My body fell into a cloud of smoke and flame, and I dragged the rose with me, its bit of pink dusting the air like a blush.
 
2
 
Zayele
 
“I dare you to cross it,” Destawan said. He pointed at the river rushing past us, its water bubbling and white with cold.
 
He was daring me to cross the bridge, which wouldn’t have been so bad if the bridge were still intact. But then it wouldn’t have been a good dare.
 
When the first spring melt happened, the river flooded and took with it bits of the bridge. The thick, woven ropes managed to stay on their posts, but most of the wooden strips were worn away and rotted. No one bothered to fix it, because there was a nice stone bridge just a few hundred feet down the river.
 
Destawan smirked. He was visiting from another village while his father came to trade with mine. He had gotten four of the children to follow him around, and it made him cocky. Or maybe he’d always been cocky.
 
“Don’t dare Zayele,” my brother Yashar said. He stared at Destawan with his unseeing eyes. “She’s a young woman now.”
 
“Then why is she here with us?” Destawan said. I rolled my eyes at Destawan, but he didn’t notice. He pointed at the bridge again. “They said you were the fastest climber, so it’s either that or Truth.”
 
I’d only known Destawan for a day, but I knew he wasn’t going to give me an easy question to answer. He’d want me to admit to something humiliating. I’d rather fall in the river than give him that.
 
“I’ll do it,” I said.
 
“Zayele—”
 
“Don’t worry about me. It’ll be easy.” I moved away from the children. They had come to see what Destawan would dare me to do. Now they ran alongside me, saying stupid things like “Don’t do it, Zayele,” and “It’s just a dare.” I ignored them and fixed my hijab so the wind wouldn’t blow it off my head. Then I took off my shoes and carried them in one of my hands.
 
“Zayele,” Yashar whispered. “Please.” He reached out for me, and I turned to take his hand, guiding him down to the start of the bridge. We stepped over the broken rocks and the clumps of green grass. Everything was clean and bright today, glowing beneath gray clouds.
 
Down by the bridge, the water roared, crashing into the biggest of the boulders that stood in the middle of the river. The boulders dared the water to take them down.
 
Destawan laughed and jumped up on a giant brown rock that flanked the river. We stood there for a moment in the shadow of the gorge, watching water flow by. The bridge was only a few feet above the river, but it wasn’t the fall that would hurt. It was the rapids. Yashar gripped my hand and wouldn’t let go.
 
“It’s really not that bad,” I told him. “The wood’s almost gone, but there’s so much rope. I could walk it blindfolded.” Bad choice of words, I realized.
 
“Are there any rotted bits on the rope? Does it look secure?” Yashar hadn’t always been such a worrier, but since he’d gone blind, things bothered him more than they used to. I patted his shoulder.
 
“It’s not that far, really. Just twenty or thirty feet.” I pulled my hand out of his and set down my shoes. Then I smiled at Destawan. “If I fall in the river, be sure to tell my father it was all your idea.” He paled, which only spurred me on. Be careful what you dare, I guess.
 
The bridge used to have wooden planks on which to walk, but they’d rotted away, leaving only a scattering of weakened planks and the thick ropes that had been the railing. Each of these ropes was tied to a boulder on the river’s bank. The ropes were made from woven grass, as thick as my arm, and they were heavy and wet from last night’s rain.
 
I’d have to trust that whoever had woven the ropes had done a good job.
 
I grabbed onto one of the handrails with both hands. I walked sideways, holding on to one side of the bridge. I didn’t want to get spread out if the middle ties broke apart. Step by step, I moved along the rope. My ankles clicked together each time I finished a step. Within a few feet, I was out over the water.
 
My toes were turning blue in the cold, and beneath them was the white water. It was impossibly fast. I could swim, but not in that.
 
I had to keep moving. The wind was stronger here, coming down the gorge, and my hands were getting stiff. I stepped sideways, then brought my other foot up to the next one. After a while, I looked up to see how much farther I had to go. I was only halfway.
 
“Zayele!” the children screamed. I couldn’t tell if they were cheering for me or warning me, but I didn’t want to look back. I didn’t want to see their faces.
 
One more step. Then another. And another, with the water rushing, rushing past. Where did it all go?
 
I didn’t want to think of how cold it was. I only thought of movement, of the other side. And then, finally, my left hand touched something hard and unmoving. It was the wooden post on the far side.
 
Behind me, everyone cheered. I was shaking a little, but I turned around anyway and lifted a fist into the air. Then I cupped my hands around my mouth and shouted, “Your turn, Destawan!” 
 
He shook his head and everyone laughed. Then he pointed at the village, and we all turned to see six horses trotting into the village center. We rarely had visitors this time of year, because the mountains were still frozen and no one had any crops yet.
 
I ran down to the other bridge, where I could cross over and get a closer look. Our village pushed up against the cliff, a little above the riverbank, and the horses and riders lined the street along the river. One of the horsemen carried the black banner of the Vizier of Baghdad. The vizier hadn’t been to our village since the night my uncle and his wife were murdered by jinn, and knowing this, something in me turned cold.

 

About the Author

AMBER LOUGH is the author of The Fire Wish and The Blind Wish. She is a lover of foreign words and cultures, nearly forgotten folktales, and groups of three. She spent much of her childhood in Japan and Bahrain. Later, she returned to the Middle East as an Air Force intelligence officer to spend eight months in Baghdad, where the ancient sands still echo the voices lost to wind and time. She lives in Germany with her scientist husband and two impish children. For a pronunciation guide, a cast of characters, and more, please visit www.amberlough.com.

 

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