By Terreece Clarke,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Fantasy tale of adventure and intrigue in colonial India.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The novel leans more toward entertainment than education, but kids may learn a bit about the culture and history of early 20th century India.
Positive messages about courage, friendship, and hope; kids can learn from the negative examples of greed and selfishness.
Positive Role Models
The heroes in this novel mostly grow into heroes instead of starting off that way. They are reluctant and have to learn the lessons of being a hero, a friend, etc. along the way.
Violence & Scariness
A man known for his violent rages is rumored to have killed two wives. A description of butchered meat and the flies that were buzzing on it. A man cuts himself on a stone blood. A boy falls down stairs and dies; his bodied is burned. A man catches on fire but is saved. A caravan gets buried in a sandstorm and is presumed dead.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There are some mature situations, including discussion of a man being a eunuch and a woman who married without being a virgin. There is also talk of consummating a marriage. In a couple of scenes, men and women are described as having sex but not in great detail. A woman discusses losing her virginity. Mentions of harems.
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Some mild name-calling.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there are some mature situations in this novel, including discussion of a man's lust for a woman, consummation of a marriage, harems, women murdered by their husbands, and a man being a eunuch. There is also discussion of many religions, including Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism.
Where to Read
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What's the Story?
Raka is married off to a horrible, greedy, and evil man. Her family is poor but her beauty is great. She knows that once the Raja finds out she is not the virgin he bargained for that his wrath will snuff the life out of her. As she awaits her certain fate she spins a fantastical tale for the enucuch that looks after the doves and runs errands for the wives of the harem. The tale parallels Raka's story in many ways, and in others it's pure fantasy. What becomes of the beautiful Raka and Raka's story's hero, Farhad?
Is It Any Good?
Author Antonia Michaelis weaves two marvelous tales within this novel, creating rich characters, enchanting scenes, and wonderful adventure. She does a fantastic job of blending deities, colonialism, and Indian customs to make a novel that is both intriguing and engaging.
Once audiences get into the novel they will truly enjoy it, though some kids may be intimidated by the length and by the sometimes confusing names of various deities and customs.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about trust. What did Farhad learn about trusting people? How did this help him in his journey, and can you give some examples?
Farhad's friendship with Nitish was vital to his success in helping the princess. How does friendship help you overcome obstacles?
- Author: Antonia Michaelis
- Genre: Fairy Tale
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Amulet Books
- Publication date: November 1, 2008
- Number of pages: 464
- Last updated: September 15, 2015
Did we miss something on diversity?
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Where to Read
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