Friday, December 7, 2012

Review: The Akhenaten Adventure - P. B. Kerr

The Akhenaten Adventure by P. B. Kerr
Series: Children of the Lamp #1
Genre: Middle Grade, adventure, historical fantasy
Published on October 1, 2004
Published by Orchard Books
Pages: 355
Read From: 11.23.12 - 11.25.12

Meet John and Philippa Gaunt, twelve-year-old twins who one day discover themselves to be descended from a long line of djinn. All of a sudden, they have the power to grant wishes, travel to extraordinary places (and not necessarily on public transportation), and make people and objects disappear. 
Luckily (and luck does have something to do with it), the twins are introduced to their eccentric djinn-uncle Nimrod, who will teach them how to harness their newly found power. And not a moment too soon! Because John and Philippa are about to embark on a search to locate a monstrous looking (but supposed to be dead) pharaoh named Akhenaten, and his tomb, which may be holding seventy lost djinn. 
Will the twins be strong and skilled and clever enough to outwit Iblis, the most evil djinn on the universe and live to see another day - another city - another adventure?


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Yes. I actually first read this book when it first came out, and the cover is what caught my attention because I was very much into stories relating to The Arabian Nights (still am).

Characters: John and Philippa are excellent protagonists for this type of story. Funny, resourceful, ready for an adventure, and quick to accept the impossible. When it comes to adventure stories, your protagonist has to be willing to come to terms with the unlikely very rapidly, otherwise the story gets bogged down. Nimrod is a riot - he would be an awesome uncle to have. He definitely makes the book worth reading. The tag-along character Groanin is actually pretty amusing, too. The villain of the piece, though, isn’t all that frightening, and I hope the villains improve as the series goes on.

The Romance: There isn’t any!

Plot: The story wastes no time in getting into it, which is good. Never waste time with an adventure story. This is the kind of thing I loved when I was a kid, and it’s why I like Rick Riordan’s books. Mythical beings from favorite classic stories come to life in the modern day, and two average kids turn out to be related to them and have their powers. What kid wouldn’t love that to happen to them? In this case, instead of Greek, Egyptian, or Roman gods, John and Philippa are descended from the djinn. You know, those awesome magical demons who lay around in bottles and lamps all day, granting wishes to people who free them (imprisoned by King Solomon in The Arabian Nights stories). It makes for an exciting story, and P. B. Kerr does an excellent job.

Believability: Not applicable.

Writing Style: The Author’s style actually surprised me. It flows very nicely, and actually has somewhat of a classic flare to it. I love Rick Riordan’s stories, but I prefer P. B. Kerr’s style. It’s less movie-ish, his humor is subtler, and his storyline is less doomsday-ish than Riordan’s. That said, P. B. Kerr’s characters lack the amount of depth Riordan’s do, and that’s what makes Riordan’s books so good. Some may think it unfair for me to compare the two at all, but the story ideas are very similar, so that’s why I’m doing it.

Content: None.

Conclusion: The ending is exciting without being over the top, which I liked. Sometimes dramatic conclusions get a little tiring, and with this being the first book in a series, it’d be better to save the bigger climax for a later installment. This is, overall, a great book for kids - especially ones looking for something to read while they wait for Rick Riordan to release his next book. You won’t find the same depth of character in this book, and the humor isn’t nearly as obvious, but the same idea is in this series, there are lots of funny moments, and it’s exciting. I wasn’t disappointed.

Recommended Audience: Rick Riordan fans will really enjoy this series. Girl-and-guy read, any age.

Others in the Children of the Lamp Series:
1)The Akhenaten Adventure
2)The Blue Djinn of Babylon
3)The Cobra King of Kathmandu
4)The Day of Djinn Warriors
5)The Eye of the Forest
6)The Five Fakirs of Faizabad
7)The Grave Robberts of Genghis Khan

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