The Akhenaten Adventure: Children of the Lamp, Book 1 Book Poster Image

The Akhenaten Adventure: Children of the Lamp, Book 1



Twins discover they're djinn.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There's some British contempt for the Middle East here, such as when a character refers to Egypt as "a filthy country."


A murder.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Most of the adults smoke, including cigarettes, pipes, and cigars, and the twins are drawn to it. Adults drink brandy. The uncle blows amazing smoke rings, making it even more attractive.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that an unnecessary prominence given to smoking is surprising, as is the rather positive attitude toward it taken by the author.

What's the story?

When wealthy New York twins John and Philippa have to have their wisdom teeth removed rather young (they're twelve), it triggers a series of events that reveal to them that they are djinn, descended from a powerful tribe of djinn, and just coming into their powers.

Sent to England to learn from their Uncle Nimrod all about being djinn, they are drawn into the age-old conflict between good and evil djinn, and travel with their uncle to Egypt to find the secret behind the disappearance of 70 djinn millennia ago. Now it's a race against the evil Iblis to rescue the missing ones and bring them to the side of good before the balance of luck in the universe is destroyed.

Is it any good?


This is very much a mixed bag. On the plus side, it's an original idea, well written, the descriptions are vivid, and fantasy fans will love the wealth of detail and history behind this particular view of the magical world. On the minus side, there's not much action, lots of exposition, and the child heroes never become real people in the reader's mind. Kids who love arcana, exotic settings, and children with secret powers will revel in the fascinating details, but those looking for adventure won't find much in the first half to keep them reading.

This is Philip Kerr's first book for children. Like many other adult novelists trying to make the transition, he needs to learn that different rules apply: The pacing is different, and kids prefer warm passion to cool detachment. There's a lot of potential for future books, but to be successful he will need to bring John and Philippa to life.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the concept of magic here, as a carefully maintained balance of luck in the world. How does it compare with other magical systems, such as those in Bartimaeus, Harry Potter, and So You Want to Be a Wizard?

Book details

Author:P. B. Kerr
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Orchard Books
Publication date:May 30, 2005
Number of pages:355

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Kid, 9 years old April 3, 2009
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008

Oh my gosh, this is the best book I have ever read in my life!

A awesome book for all ages! A must read! I read it like four times. If you love fantasy like I do, you will love this book! Wow, it's a great book to read on weekdays! I think you sould read it. So what are you waiting for? Get off that chair and start reading Children of the lamp!
Kid, 11 years old May 5, 2011

Too scary

I never really wanted to go to Egypt since there were a lot of deadly creatures there, but my mom (who's willing to go to Egypt) forced me to read this book while homeschooled. I read the book, thinking that the plot would be copaque, it got boring in the middle. There is too much smoking, violence and suspense that only mature kids can read. A man is murdered in a shop, the twins confront Iblis and get bottled up and then Akhenaten's ghost comes to try to kill them. Then at the end, the story gets complex. Oh, and the naked boy with his father who's laid-back all day isn't appropriate either. Read something more childlike and hapoy such as The Doll People.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models