“THE BOOK OF WONDERS,” by Jasmine Richards, HarperCollins, Jan. 17, 2012, $16.99 (ages 8 and up)
Sinbad. Aladdin. Scheherazade.
They’re names that evoke exotic locales and swashbuckling adventures. Now you can add another name to that list — Zardi.
Zardi is the main character in Jasmine Richards‘ “The Book of Wonders,” an exciting new adventure for middle readers.
In the kingdom of Arribitha, magic is taboo. Fantastical beings have long been banned. Thirteen-year-old Zardi loves to hear stories of these things, but even those can call the rage of the sultan, who rules with an iron fist.
When the sultan captures Zardi’s sister, Zardi sets out on a quest to save her. Accompanied by her best friend, Rhidan, Zardi finds herself in the company of the infamous Sinbad. Together they travel to a strange land to bring back and restore magic to Arribitha.
“The Book of Wonders” is a magical novel. It transports readers to far-off lands that inspire creativity and spark imagination. In Zardi, Jasmine has created a strong, intelligent young woman who isn’t afraid to take risks or ask for help when needed.
Jasmine plays to her strengths — her writing is clean and her pacing strong. However, her real strength lies in her descriptions. She skillfully sets a scene without going overboard, giving readers just enough information to complete the full picture on their own.
Though the main character in “The Book of Wonders” is a girl, it is by no means gender specific. The inclusion of pirates and magicians helps make it appealing to everyone. “The Book of Wonders” is a great new option for readers of all ages.