Thursday, May 16, 2013

Review: The Blue Djinn of Babylon - P. B. Kerr

The Blue Djinn of Babylon by P. B. Kerr
Series: Children of the Lamp #2
Genre: Middle Grade, fantasy, adventure
Published on February 1, 2006
Published by Orchard Books
Pages: 371
Read From: 5.10.13 - 5.11.13

John and Philippa Gaunt, twelve-year-old twins who recently discovered themselves to be descended from a long line of djinn (which are commonly called genies) and who are now in possession of great magical powers, have only just returned from their adventures battling an evil djinn in Cairo and London. Now the mystery surrounding a powerful book of djinn magic lures the twins straight into their new extraordinary adventure. 

When the Solomon Grimoire is reported missing, John and Philippa are called upon to retrieve it. They travel across the globe, from New York to Istanbul, but, little do they know, a trap has been set and the djinn twins are about to walk right into it. Soon, John must embark on an epic journey to save his sister. . . .before it's too late.


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? It's exciting, it's excellent art, and you can't see the character's face. So, yes, I like it.

Characters: John and Philippa continue to be great kid protagonists, leaping into adventure without too much forethought (but they're not rash, either), and meeting danger head-on. They have a great twin-sibling relationship, teasing each other and fighting sometimes like real siblings, but they're not always constantly at one another's throats, which gets annoying with some sibling pairings. Nimrod is still an awesomely amusing uncle, and the villains of the piece are not so much wicked as they are just determined to get what they want. One of the villains was quite obvious from the beginning, while the other took me somewhat by surprise, which was nice. I always like it when I'm surprised by the villain's identity.

The Romance: There isn't any!

Plot: When the sacred Solomon Grimoire - the most powerful book for djinnkind - goes missing, Philippa and John are looped into trying to find it before someone can do permanent damage with it. But what they don't know is that they are headed right into a trap, and when it's sprung, it results in Philippa's abduction. And somehow, the Blue Djinn of Babylon - the deciding power in the djinn world; the one djinn who is above Good and Evil - is involved. I must admit that out of the two I have read so far in the Children of the Lamp series, this one was not my favorite simply because there wasn't really a bad villain. For a story involving deceit and abductions and the like, John's rescue mission was pretty straightforward. Sure, it has the usual perils and challenges to be found in a good adventure novel, but they were all pretty easy and uncomplicated.

Believability: Not applicable.

Writing Style: I still really do like this Author's writing style. It's classy and has a good amount of humor. Perhaps a bit too much light-heartedness - this series could use a bit more dash of seriousness - but it's not too bad. When explaining a lot of concepts, the Author directly addresses the Reader, giving the story a more "historian documenting actual events" feel, which I always enjoy.

Content: None.

Conclusion: It was a little too tidy. The escape went smoothly, and people turn up at the most opportune moment possible, and everyone goes home laughing. Not literally, but that was general ambiance of the end. In a series meant for kids, I can let such a perfect end slide a bit more than I would in other novels, and there is the promise of an interesting sequel. I just wish more had happened in the climax. Despite its few shortcomings, The Blue Djinn of Babylon is a great adventure story; just not the best in the series.

Recommended Audience: Girl-and-boy read, any age. Rick Riordan fans would like the concept, as will fans of other like-minded adventure stories.

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 The Five Fakirs or Faizabad
7)The Grave Robbers of Genghis Khan

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