You can tell from the very first page that P. B. Kerr had great fun writing his novel, The Akhenaten Adventure
. The way the author introduces his cleverly named characters, the atmospheric setting, the fun tone of his narration--all indicate that a hugely entertaining story is in store. The first installment of his Children of the Lamp
sequence is set firmly in the present day, but it soon breaks away and encompasses several wonderfully colorful parts of the globe, England and Egypt included.
John and Philippa Gaunt, two twelve-year-old not-very-identical twins, live a privileged life on the Upper East of Manhattan with their wealthy parents and two curiously-mannered Rottweilers named Alan and Neil. The twins realize there's something amiss with their world when a string of strange things begin to happen after their wisdom teeth are extracted--they dream the same dreams, become stronger, their zits clear up, and wishes wished in their presence inexplicably come true. And, when their estranged Uncle Nimrod asks them to come to England for the summer during one such shared dream, the discovery of their destiny is set in motion.
John and Phillippa discover that they are descended from a long line of Djinn, have great inherent powers. They must call on these powers a lot sooner than they anticipated, though, because the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten is not as dead as history has so far declared and his legion of seventy magical djinn could tip the balance of power in the magical realm and affect the whole world order.
P.B. Kerr, under his given name Philip Kerr, is the author of several bestselling thrillers for adult readers. His debut novel for children is a slick, zeitgeisty fantasy adventure that is sure to win him a new raft of fans. The Blue Djinn of Babylon is next up for those who get hooked. (Age 10 and over) --John McLay
From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8–In this uneven fantasy, 12-year-old twins live a privileged but uneventful life in New York City until both John and Philippa need to have their wisdom teeth extracted. Afterward, the children begin to experience strange growth spurts, have cravings for smoke and heat, and gain the ability to grant wishes. After inviting them to visit him in London, their Uncle Nimrod informs them that they are descended from the Marid tribe of djinn. As he begins their training, they travel to Egypt, where they are pursued by Iblis, the leader of an enemy tribe who thinks Nimrod knows the location of the lost tomb of Akhenaten. This pharaoh bound 70 djinn to his service and whoever finds his tomb will have the ability to command them and shift the balance of power from good to evil. As they travel around the world, the siblings and their uncle have numerous adventures, culminating in an encounter with Akhenaten's ghost. The writing has a cinematic quality as Kerr provides detailed glimpses at the changing scenery; at times, there is too much description, particularly of room furnishings. In-depth characterizations are sacrificed for the often humorous, fast-moving plot. For a more complex and satisfying fantasy about djinn, try Jonathan Stroud's "Bartimaeus Trilogy" (Miramax).–Sharon Rawlins, Piscataway Public Library, NJ
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