Saturday, October 2, 2010

Book review: The Secret of Ka by Christopher Pike

My summary:
Sara's in Turkey for the summer with her father. Sounds like an excellent way to spend your summer holiday, right? Wrong, her father works during the day and doesn't come home until late at night. Sara is both bored and lonely, that is until the day when a young boy enters her hotel to deliver a packet to her father.

The boy is called Amesh and Sara almost forces him to show her where her father lives. Out on the work site Sara by accident discovers an ancient carpet; the carpet gives Sara all these weird vibes, almost like it's alive. Soon we'll be flying away on a magic carpet with Sara and Amesh on their adventure out to the island of the Djinn.

My thoughts:
I've read the first two books in Christopher Pike's The Last Vampire series and I enjoyed those, so when I saw that his latest release was available on Netgalley I wanted to give it a try. This is the first book I've ever read where flying carpets and Djinn's(genies) where involved so I was quite exited to read Pike's take on these elements from Middle Eastern folklore and legends.

It was entertaining to read about the three rules of the Djin and the ancient Kala people, the latter I would have loved some more information about. One of the issues I had with this novel was character connection, both the main characters felt unrealistic at times and a bit hard to relate to. Sara possessed a bit too much knowledge of ancient rules - where did it come from? It just didn't feel believable. Also the Sara and Amesh relationship felt unrealistic, what is it with relationship in YA these days? Do one have to confess to undying love after having known each other one day?

I also felt that Sara's character often stigmatized the Turkish people and that left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Also there were some facts about Turkey that was incorrect, I expected that an experienced author like Pike would have managed to steer clear of these kind of errors. If you're writing about a foreign country please get your facts straight.

Despite of the books flaws I would be interested to find out more about Sarah and what she is, so if there is a sequel I would have to read it to find out a bit more.

I would say this novel is suitable for older middle graders and young adults.

The cover:

It gives just the right magical vibes and I really like it. The only thing that doesn't quite fit in is the girl on the, she's not carrying herself like I would imagine Sara to do.

My rating of this book:
3 stars out of 5 - enjoyable but with flaws.

Want to know more?Check out The Secret of Ka on Goodreads.

Full disclosure:Review copy from Harcourt Children's Books via Netgalley.

Book published:
September 13th 2010

This book can be purchased from a number of local retailers and on-line book stores such as 
Amazon or The Book Depository(I'm not an affiliate of either). The latter store does by the way have free shipping to about 100 countries.