Author: Jasmine Richards
Reading Level: Middle Grade
ARC, 400 pages
Date Published: January 17, 2012
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
Magic, Djinn, Ogres, and Sorcerers. Thirteen-year-old Zardi loves to hear stories about fantastical beings, long banned from the kingdom of Arribitha. But anyone caught whispering of their powers will feel the rage of the sultan—a terrifying usurper who, even with his eyes closed, can see all.
When her own beloved sister is captured by the evil ruler, Zardi knows that she must go to any lengths to rescue her. Along with her best friend, Ridhan—a silver-haired, violet-eyed boy of mysterious origins—and an unlikely crew of sailors led by the infamous Captain Sinbad, Zardi ventures forth into strange and wondrous territory with a seemingly impossible mission: to bring magic back to Arribitha and defeat the sultan once and for all.
The book starts off a bit slowly, but everything that happens in the beginning is needed to understand and truly invest in Zardi and Rhidan’s quest. Some parts do drag a bit, but the action packed in is more than enough to keep young readers hooked. The evil Sultan, charming Sinbad, huge birds, slithering snakes, Cyclops, and traitorous friends who may really be foes move the story along in ways that are unimagined. It feels like there are a thousand different aspects to The Book of Wonders and all of them pay off.
Jasmine Richards’ debut is wondrously plotted, with monsters and magic, and friends and foes. Each setting is different; from Arribitha, Desolation Island, the caves, the snakes home, even the pirate ship the Falcon – they all come to life. Readers will never know exactly what is going to happen, but will more than delight in figuring it out. Zardi and Rhidan are two young heroes to cheer for and grow with. They may have closed one chapter in their own book of wonders, but I’m looking forward to each and every one that follows.
Opening line: “I heard the noise first.” ~ pg. 1
Favorite lines/passages: “Good-byes are tricky thinkgs,” Khalila murmured. “Hard but necessary. You realize that, once you’ve been alive as long as me.” ~ pg. 397
*This is the ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may differ from final copy
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.
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