A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
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.