Voice of Youth Advocates
(February 1, 2006; 0-439-67021-7; 978-0-439-67021-0)
In Kerr's second entry in the Children of the Lamp series, the Gaunt twins, Philippa and John, finally get an introduction to the world of the djinn culture and society that their mother rejected to live a normal life with her human husband. Much to their dismay, they find many of the other djinn to be disagreeable, if not downright wicked. The twins' intelligence, innocence, and desire to help others make them a target for jealousy, and schemes abound to get rid of them-permanently, if possible. Philippa is spirited away to a hidden castle where she will become the next Blue Djinn, the judge of all the djinn tribes, good and evil. Unfortunately being an all-powerful leader means becoming completely heartless, and Philippa must fight the forces trying to transform her into an emotionless creature of logic, even while John struggles to locate her and come to her rescue. Although a stronger overall effort than The Akhenaten Adventure (Orchard, 2004/VOYA April 2004), this sequel is plot- rather than character-driven, and some readers might wish for a little more character development. The story gets off to a slow start, but the humor is just right, the captivating world of the djinn is faultlessly depicted and expanded, and Kerr balances the resolution with enough uncertainties to draw readers back for the next installment. This work is likely to win new fans as well as please those who enjoyed the previous book.-Catherine Gilmore-Clough.
Gr 5-8This sequel to The Akhenaten Adventure (Scholastic, 2005) stands completely on its own. John and Philippa Gaunt, 12-year-old twins, are descended from a long line of djinn and have magical powers. Philippa has been practicing a dice game of particular interest to their kind, and meets the Blue Djinn of Babylon when she is accused of cheating in the annual tournament. Unfortunately, she is wrongly convicted, and John finds out that someone has stolen the Solomon Grimoire, which contains incantations that give the user limitless power over all djinn. In order to convince the Blue Djinn of her innocence, and to protect everyone from misuse of the Grimoire, the twins set off for Istanbul to recover the book. What neither one knows is that they have been set up and are walking into a trap. Once it is sprung, it will take all of John's strength and intelligence to save Philippa; and she will need all of her cunning to survive. This wild ride has suspense and action, exotic locations, magic, and evil villainsall of the elements necessary for a good fantasy adventure. While some of the characters are two-dimensional, and some of the plot is a tad predictable, the main characters are totally believable in all their faults. Readers will also enjoy the original conceptthat of the djinn society hidden among us. Give this book to readers looking for something different, maybe as an alternative to Jonathan Stroud's “Bartimaeus” trilogy (Hyperion).Saleena L. Davidson, South Brunswick Public Library, Monmouth Junction, NJ
Kerr, P. B. The Blue Djinn of Babylon. 2006. 384p. Scholastic/Orchard, $16.99 (0-439-67021-7).
Gr. 58. Featuring adolescents initiated into a magical society invisible to unwitting “mundanes,” the Children of the Lamp series nods vigorously to Harry Potter. The difference from many of its competitors, though, is the finesse with which it does sono less apparent here than in The Akhenatan Adventure (2005), which most children will want to read first. Kidnapped by the ruthless Blue Djinn to succeed her as djinnkind's ultimate arbiter of justice, newly fledged djinn Philippa has been imprisoned to prepare her for the unwanted job. As family and friends work to find a more suitable replacement, Philippa's twin, John, must rescue her from an underground palace, accessed through an American military base in Iraqan