I m never quite sure how I m going to feel about a Middle Grade book Clearly, I love YA, but Middle Grades are hit or miss for me I get nervous when Middle Grade is paired with other aspects that make me second guess whether I ll like a book, such as being high fantasy or longer than I expected again, hit or miss mentality I need not have worried The Book of Wonders by Jasmine Richards is a solid hit.As soon as I started the first chapter, I was eager to continue There is an ease of storytelling present that makes the whole book flow seamlessly Readers young and old will enjoy the epic adventure, energetic characters, smooth writing, and wonderful storytelling This high fantasy tale is full of action The main character, Zardi, loves stories of adventure with scary monsters and incredible feats of heroism The Book of Wonders has all this, much to Zardi s delight and horror it s a little different to face the scary monsters yourself than to hear about them from others.Also, it was a fairly complex story There were multiple story lines and paths the characters could have taken, but everything came together very well Little side missions were carried out without losing sight of the overall goal, to save Zardi s sister.In addition to the fantasy, this book was multicultural I always love reading books set in different cultures, so this fact was a bonus for me Richards merged multicultural aspects with the fantasy very well These merged aspects completely transported me to Arribitha while I was reading Well done.Overall rating Worth the buy Borrow it if you re not as into Middle Grade. Re read 2018 Still love it as much as I did when I was younger 3 Initial Response This book oh goodness Literally left me in the dust.AMAZINGMagic, Djinn, Ogres, and Sorcerers Thirteen year old Zardi loves to hear stories about fantastical beings, long banned from the kingdom of Arribitha But anyone caught whispering of their powers will feel the rage of the sultan a terrifying usurper 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 go to any lengths to rescue her Along with her best friend, Ridhan a silver haired, violet eyed boy of mysterious origins 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 allHigh Lights COMPLEXITY And and complicated and.just CRAZY All the main characters Zardi is so brave and daring, but also sweet and curious Rhidan is a mysterious, funny boy who knows nothing about his past or who his parents are Sinbad is a total cutie blush What What HE IS He s kinda of rough and tough at the beginning, but he softens up to Zardi when You ll just have to read it DO IT fangirls I LOVES IT 400 PAGES OF AWESOME Oh yeah Just everything about it pretty much Low Lights There are some pretty intense parts and I found myself twisting my hair and fumbling my fingers THE MAGIC Lots and lots of magic And that kinda of ruined it for me Don t get me wrong, I loved this book so much, but, the magic made me bump the rating down to 4.5 5 stars Some of it s scary Some is weird Some is fun Some is just crazy Favorite QuoteLet it hurt, Zardi, Rhidan said Take the pain and make it something else Let it make you stronger and smarterConclusion I really love this book, I do, but I recommend this book for older kids such as 12 and up The story is riveting and there are no curse words that I can remember Nothing gory But the magic at times made me feel a little uncomfortable.Other than that, I definitely recommend this book 4.5 5. Thirteen year old Zardi lives in the kingdom of Arribitha, where the sultan has banned magic, and anyone even heard talking about magic can be arrested Her best friend is Rhidan, a mysterious foreigner who was found abandoned as a baby and raised by Zardi s family Rhidan longs to know of his origins, and receives a clue from Sinbad the Sailor, but he must flee before Rhidan can get answers The sultan of Arribitha is cruel and evil, and forces young girls to be take the position of Praisemaker they are forced to announce executions and are eventually killed Zardi s parents try to have her and her sister married off so they cannot be chosen, but before they can do that, her older sister is picked to be the next Praisemaker Zardi and Rhidan must then go on a journey to save Zardi s sister and discover the truth about Rhidan s origins.Book of Wonders is an enjoyable middle grade fantasy inspired by the Arabian Nights stories The main characters were very likable and I enjoyed the author s descriptions of all the exotic places they visited This book is very different from anything I have read recently, and since I am sick of urban fantasy I am always looking for fantasy with a historical or magical setting If you are like me and enjoy fantasy with unusual settings, I think you would enjoy Book of Wonders.Disclosure Review copy provided by publisher. I m a fan of much of the Arabian Nights, and was delighted to run across this middle grade novel, which repurposes elements from the tales Sinbad, djinnis, the roc, mistaken identities, wishes governed by complicated rules but without the racism and misogyny that permeates the original tales So far, so good But, the book s writing leaves much to be desired Rather than the characters personalities driving the plot, the plot and author s need to work in exposition drives the characterization completely in a given scene, the heroine goes from disgusted at the thought of the evil sultan, to grumbling about having to help with dinner, to tearing up at how infrequently she sees her father, to happy but guilty when her grandmother praises her skills with a kitchen knife That s in roughly two pages It s like watching a train pass by here s a boxcar, oh look, now a tanker, now two box cars, a hopper, and so on with no obvious reason for the order of the cars, and only a rough coupling between each of them In looking at other reviews, I see that this is labelled middle grade rather than young adult I guess that s younger than young adult, and I can see why an author would tailor the plot and characters for the audience But surely these readers can handle and would thrive on better characterization than this. One Sentence Review Enjoyable enough but maybe one of the most forgettable little middle grade novels I ve ever read. I read The Book of Wonders in manuscript form a little while ago It is a page turning and gripping adventure that pulls the reader in The young Scheherazade is a brilliant heroine and the plot is filled with twists and turns right to the very end I finished it in one sitting and can t wait to read the next installment in the trilogy. For the duel, visit Dueling LibrariansLet me begin by saying that it pains me to write this review I begin all books with the anticipation and zest of a child awakening on Christmas morning, bursting to see what all those glossy packages might contain This is perhaps a faulty way to begin a book because my expectation can fall short, leaving me less than happy by the tale s end Sadly, that is what happened with Jasmine Richards first novel, The Book of Wonders.A victim of circumstance, I found Wonders to be tedious I think part of the problem is having just completed a book I found so amazing, that almost anything that came directly after would have been lacking in the Wow Department I really wanted Wonders to knock my socks off, but instead I was left mildly irritated Wonders follows the tradition of1,001 Arabian NightsIn Richards adaptation of the famous collection of folk tales, we find some familiar characters Scheherazade is our brave and noble heroine, who sets out to rescue her sister Zubeyda from the clutches of the evil sultan, Shahry r With her is Rhidan, the silver haired foundling who is searching for his people Along the way the youngsters meet Sinbad the sailor and his motley crew of pirates.The bulk of Wonders retells the second voyage in the Sinbad series, which shares some of the same elements as Homer s Odyssey, another story I always found tedious Scheherazade, Rhidan, and Sinbad, and his crew become shipwrecked on Desolation Island where giant rocs rule the skies, and demon like serpents lurk beneath the earth in a maze of tunnels It was this part of the story that really began to bog down for me I felt like I was trapped on the island with them, which from a artistic point of view is great, but from a trying to get through this book angle, not so good.In addition to some of the same characters as 1,001 Nights, Wonders follows ending format as well For those of you not familiar with the original folk collection, here s a quick recap Scheherazade is married to king Shahry r who has a penchant for marrying virgins only to kill them the following morning before they can cheat on him To avoid the fate of her predecessors, Scheherazade tells the king a story which she doesn t finish until the following night, only to begin a new tale which she fails to complete This goes on for, you guessed it, 1,001 nights Much like Shahry r, Richards left me with a cliff hanger ending, yet unlike Shahry r, I don t feel compelled to know.I respect what Richards is doing in The Book of Wonders, it just wasn t for me I think this is a great book for young readers It provides amazing imagery, lots of drama and action, and it will introduce them to a classic with a new twist Plus Scheherazade and Rhidan are accessible characters that many tweens and early teens will be able to relate to.For the duel, visit Dueling Librarians Magic, Djinn, Ogres, And Sorcerers Thirteen Year Old Zardi Loves To Hear Stories About Fantastical Beings, Long Banned From The Kingdom Of Arribitha But Anyone Caught Whispering Of Their Powers Will Feel The Rage Of The Sultan A Terrifying Usurper 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 Go To Any Lengths To Rescue Her Along With Her Best Friend, Ridhan A Silver Haired, Violet Eyed Boy Of Mysterious Origins 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 I d like to thank Once Upon a Twilight for giving me the opportunity to be on this book review tour.Now, on with the show er review I have to admit that I was a little leery about reading this book because of the age range but I trudged along and slowly got swept away in Zardi s adventures I have to say, she was very brave for only being thirteen and I admired her for that She was a little firecracker and when she set her mind to doing something, she followed through until it was finished I think back to when I was thirteen and though my life was nothing like Zardi s, I don t think I would have followed through with anything At that age, I was all talk and a big pile of excuse my French chicken shit Another thing I really like about Zardi is that family and friends were her main priority She d make sure they were protected instead of worrying about herself.Next, we have Ridhan He was a very mysterious boy and I loved how his mysteriousness grew when they boarded Sinbad s ship Side note I failed to mention Sinbad was in this story Surprise We re introduced to him in the beginning of the story in Arribitha where Zardi and Ridhan and listening to his stories as he tells them to the crowds When Zardi and Ridhan speak to him after the crowd begins to scatter, Sinbad mentions a land where Ridhan s people are said to live This piques his interest and he s determined to get aboard Sinbad s ship so they can sail to his home land I could go on and on about this story but then you d never want to read it because I d probably end up ruining the whole thing for you so I m going to leave it at that If you have children in that age range at home or you want to jump into a different genre for a day, I suggest picking up The Book of Wonders because of the wonderful mysteries written on its pages. First Impression Just reading the description of The Book of Wonders gives me a sense of adventure When I heard the name Sinbad, it brought me to think about Aladdin and the other tales of Arabian Nights and made me excited to read this book.While Reading I was drawn in from the beginning Richards sets up a rich world, full of an evil sultan, a deadly hunt, and a boy with a mysterious past Zardi sees her own sister and father captured before her and decides to embark on a journey to find a group of people opposed to the sultan If she can find them, she can stop her family from dying at the sultan s hands Her adopted brother Rhidan follows her, curious about his origins and together they set off to sea Their journey takes them far, as Rhidan discovers his magic and blows them to an unknown land filled with huge birds and snakes at war with one another, along with a Cyclops and a dijinni.The Book of Wonders captured my attention from page one, but I found that when they weren t in the middle of an adventure or in danger, the book started to drag on a bit The main characters were colorful, but the side characters sometimes I couldn t really remember mostly the sailors Even with its flaws, this book has laid a solid foundation for the next book while still resolving some of the plot by the end, which made me happy I was hoping not to have to wait that long to see what would happen.Verdict A solid fantasy novel, full of adventure, colorful villians and characters, and lots of magic.