Since long I have been longing to read a light weight, medium paced fiction, that covers only a few strong characters, a simple story line, filled with imagination, fantasy and no doubt cleverly placed climax. Once Upon A Genie by Durriya Kapasi unleashed all the promises it made when I picked it for a read.
The story revolves around the main character, named Daisy, residing in Canada. Daughter of a divorced parents, nurtured by her grandmother, Daisy is a unique blend of life and struggle. She is broken after the demise of her grandmother. Her grandmother leaves a scroll back for her, instructing her to open her treasure chest. Daisy finds a glass bottle in the box, and accidently the bottle slips out of her hand and breaks, thus unleashing a genie, Khalil Bin Muwahid. Khalil with the gratitude of being free now, grants Daisy any three wishes so that he could be ultimately free.
Daisy, being unmindful, conveys a wish by mistake to Khalil. This wish leads them to the journey of the Jinn’s enchanted world. During the course of this time, Khalil and Daisy fall in love with each other, withstanding the reality that the third wish will separate them from each other forever. But for their love sake, the rules of the Jinn worlds are amended. She is now never to ask for her third wish so as to live with Khalil everlastingly.
The story takes a new turn when Daisy comes to know that her best friend, Darren is diagnosed with cancer. He is struggling for his life. Daisy, sets into a dilemma where her third wish will save a life but will bereft her from her very existence, the love she owns, Khalil.
Durriya has captured reader’s imagination by maintaining a perfect flow in the story throughout her book. The climax is quite interesting and it takes a wild imagination to predict what daisy had chosen finally, Khalil, her love or Darren, her best friend.
The characters in the story are a blend of traditional and modern aspirations and fantasy. Thus making the reader fall in love with the beautiful, sensitive and committed Daisy or handsome Khalil or the ever available friend Darren. This create an everlasting bond between these characters and the reader. It seems to me as a sweet conspiracy from the author towards applying her writing skills to that effect.
At the end, the book leaves some loose ends and pushes all my imagination towards an upcoming sequel or who knows, a prequel. I leave that best to Durriya for her keen sense of observation and her vast spread of imagination which is widely available in this book. For now, I congratulate Durriya for an amazing work as a debutant writer and I look forward for her upcoming releases.
Reviewed by: Sajid Hussain