The Dictionary of Mythology by J. A. Coleman (Arcturus Publishing, 2007) lists a genie as:
a spirit made of fire capable of taking on any shape [also djinn, djinni, jinnee, jinni].
The five orders of jinn, in descending order of power, are marid, efrit, shaitan, jinn, jann.
They were created some 5,000 years ago and lived on Mount Qaf but were dispersed when they became disobedient. The survivors reassembled on an island in the Indian Ocean from where they now operate.
They are said to have magic powers over humans and interbreed with them.
In some accounts they are described as half hyaena, half wolf, with the power to take the form of any animal, serpent or giant invisible to humans. It is said that they ride abroad at night on such mounts as foxes or ostriches.
We all know, from such tales as The Arabian Nights: Tales of the Thousand and One Nights that a genie is able to grant wishes to whatever human lucky enough to stumble across one. While not commonly seen in paranormal romance, I have stumbled across a book or two featuring them, such as Cindy Spencer Pape's Djinni and the Geek.
Or my guest next week, Shona Husk, who wrote Boyfriend In A Bottle!
-Arabian Nights: Tales of the Thousand and One Nights
-Jewish Fairy Tales and Legends by Gertrude Landa.