The Book of Wonders

( 8 )

Overview

Sorcerers, Cyclops, Djinnis . . . Magic.

Thirteen-year-old Zardi loves to hear stories about fantastical beings long banned from the kingdom of Arribitha. But anyone who is caught whispering of their powers will feel the rage of the sultan—a terrifying tyrant 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 risk everything to rescue her. Along with Rhidan, who is ...

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Overview

Sorcerers, Cyclops, Djinnis . . . Magic.

Thirteen-year-old Zardi loves to hear stories about fantastical beings long banned from the kingdom of Arribitha. But anyone who is caught whispering of their powers will feel the rage of the sultan—a terrifying tyrant 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 risk everything to rescue her. Along with Rhidan, who is her best friend, 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In her skillful debut novel, Richards, an editor of children’s books in the U.K., keeps the novelties coming. The setting is Arribitha, a land with ancient Middle Eastern overtones; the quest is full of danger and magic; and the combative protagonist, known variously as Zardi or Zee, is in fact a 13-year-old Scheherazade. Zardi is the daughter of a vizier serving a cruel sultan who has forbidden magic throughout his realm, and her best friend is Rhidan, a boy whose silver hair and violet eyes are unlike those of anyone else they know. When Zardi’s sister and father are taken by the sultan to be prey in his hunt, Zardi and Rhidan go chasing rumors of rebels who might be persuaded to help. Their escort is an unwilling Sinbad, a pirate-charlatan whose half-djinni mother sets the children on their path of destiny. It’s a fun action-adventure read, unapologetically two-dimensional, and a good challenge for developing readers, who will find the headlong action a worthwhile incentive to master the vocabulary. Ages 8–12. Agent: Adams Literary. (Jan.)
Angie Sage
“From the start, I so wanted to know what happened next. The atmosphere and magic really pulled me in.”
Diane Zahler
“Readers will want to spend a thousand and one nights in the exotic world of The Book of Wonders. It’s a dazzling tale!”
Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
Thirteen year old Zardi and her best friend Rhidan love to listen to stories of magic even though the Sultan of Arribitha has outlawed any mention of magic in the kingdom. Zardi's father is the Sultan's favorite advisor but that does not protect his older daughter Zubeyda from being chosen by the Sultan for his bizarre hunt. Zardi is horrified when her father is arrested for trying to save Zubeyda. Zardi and Rhidan decide to join with Sinbad the Sailor to find Rhidan's sorcerer father, save Zubeyda, and bring Aladdin, the true prince, back to rule Arribitha. On their journey they are captured by pirates, fight a giant metal guardian, and must battle a multitude of evil serpents while Zubeyda's time is running out. Stranded on Desolation Island, they must outwit the Cyclops to release a djinn who might choose to help them. The two friends call on magical powers they did not know they possessed to save Zubeyda and her father and to defeat the Sultan. In their next adventure, perhaps they will learn the truth about Rhidan's family. Reviewer: Shirley Nelson
Kirkus Reviews
Dipping into the deep plot well of Middle Eastern fairy and folk tales, this buoyant debut offers a fresh plot, brisk pacing and engaging characters. Zardi's 13th birthday celebration is cut short when her sister, Zubeyda, is abducted by the cruel sultan to serve as his praisemaker, an "honor" that in 90 days will end in her death. Zardi (short for Scheherazade) sets off to find the sultan's enemies and obtain help in rescuing Zubeyda, accompanied by her adopted brother, Rhidan, who is on a quest of his own: tracking down Sinbad the sailor, who has clues to Rhidan's mysterious heritage. Though not entirely reliable, Sinbad proves an ally, as does his mother, Sula, who defies the sultan's ban on magic and uses her powers to help Zardi and Rhidan discover their own. With Sinbad, they head for the Black Isle, home to powerful sorcerers and possibly Rhidan's birthplace, but fate has other plans for them. These include rocs, a brass giant, trapped djinn and the fearsome Queen of the Serpents in her snake-filled kingdom. Richards deftly borrows from lesser-known tales of the 1001 Arabian Nights to enrich her complex storyline while keeping style and syntax simple and direct. A sprightly, accessible series opener recommended for those ready for a change of venue from standard-issue, middle-grade fantasy. (Fantasy. 8-12)
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Thirteen-year-old Zardi's life in the city of Taraket at the mouth of the Tigress River was one of peace and happiness surrounded by a loving, influential family. But when the Sultan kidnaps her beloved older sister to serve as his latest storyteller, a position that only lasts 90 days, after which the storyteller is brutally killed and a new one "recruited," Zardi must find a way to overthrow the evil ruler and save her sister. Zardi and her best friend, Rhidan, an orphaned boy of mysterious origins, throw their lot in with Sinbad and his crew of pirates and scoundrels and set sail to find the Windrose, a fabled amulet believed to have the power to aid them in their quest. A plethora of magical creatures from Middle Eastern and Aegean Sea cultures populates this novel—djinn, Cyclops, rocs, dragons—creating a bit of a mash-up, but swiftly paced writing, appealing characters, and action-packed scenes carry the day. This first novel in Richards's trilogy will appeal to fans of Rick Riordan's "Percy Jackson" books (Hyperion).—Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062010070
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/17/2012
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 786,913
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jasmine Richards was born in London, grew up in a library, and was the first in her family to go to university. After graduating from Oxford she had a brief stint at New Scotland Yard, then chose a career in publishing over being the next Sherlock Holmes. Today Jasmine is a senior editor at a leading British publishing house and living in Oxfordshire with her husband in an old wool mill. The Book of Wonders is her first novel, and she would love to know what you think about it.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

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(8)

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 17, 2012

    Wonderful Book!

    Jasmine Richards' debut middlegrade novel "The Book of Wonders" doesn't disappoint. Full of excitement, action, adventure and fantasy! Zardi, the books 13 year old strong willed female protagonist, is a refreshing change after so many damsel in distress type characters that have become rampant in children and young adult literature. The book begins with excitement and doesn't stop. If you are looking for something you can't put down definitely pick this up. Great for kids, teens, and even adults!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 17, 2012

    Fantastic Adventure

    The Book of Wonders is an exciting, fast paced story that will leave readers on the edge of their seats, anxious to find out what happens next. With a new and fun spin on the classic tales of Arabian nights - characters such as SINBAD burst to life on the page. The magical land of Arrbitha is wondrous and delightful, and Zardi is an excellent protagonist that readers will be eager to see succeed! This is a must read for any reader who craves a little, or a lot, of adventure.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2012

    This book is amazing!!!!!!!!!

    In this fantasy fiction, you will se dragon lke things ogres, and lots and lots of magic. It is about a girl calleed Zari and her best friend go on their adventures. Their mission? To kill the evil sultun! This is a must read for anyone ages eight and up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2013

    Very good

    Very good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2012

    AWSOME!

    I luv this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2012

    R

    BEST Book ever! :)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

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