- Mythological fiction
New York :
Little, Brown and Company
- First edition
- Physical Description
- 358 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
- Ages 8-12.
- Includes bibliographical references (page 355).
- Main Author
Acclaimed author Ahmed draws on mythical legends of Islamic origin, the Hamzanama, for this middle-grade fantasy novel. Specific references to that ancient story collection may be lost on contemporary readers, but this is nonetheless packed with all the ingredients of a whirlwind adventure: spunky, problem-solving kids; gender-fluid shapeshifters made of smokeless fire; ancient astronomical mysteries; and a hefty dose of science to underscore the inexplicable. The plot features siblings Amira and Hamza, who unexpectedly find themselves enmeshed in an ancient prophecy that foretold their role in saving the world from a cosmic disaster. They must end a war in the land of Oaf or else the moon will split apart, and the earth will be at the mercy of evil jinn and ghuls. Amid myriad twists and turns, Amira and Hamza emerge as smart, funny, likable protagonists with emotional ranges that render them believable even while everything around them is fantastical. This is the first in the series, and readers will be impatient for the stories to come. Grades 5-7. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews
A budding astronomer and self-proclaimed "nerd," 12-year-old Amira, this novel's Muslim, Indian American narrator, can't wait to witness an upcoming lunar extravaganza. In Chicago, the Islamic Society of Ancient Astronomy is celebrating the coincidence of a supermoon, blood moon, and blue moon (a "celestial trifecta of awesomeness") with an exhibition attended by Amira, her irksome younger brother Hamza, and their parents. When Hamza wanders off, he becomes entranced by the Box of the Moon—an ancient analogue computer made of unidentified alloys. A sibling tussle over the artifact restarts it, unleashing staggering consequences. As the adults drop into an enchanted sleep, a broken piece of the moon heads directly for Earth, and an army of jinn spirits the siblings away, Amira and Hamza discover that it falls to them to save the world from a great battle between the realms. Ahmed (Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know) centers her fast-paced middle grade debut on a deeply engaging heroine, foil to her more reckless and charming brother. The siblings' relationship—characterized by equal amounts of affection and bickering—lends authenticity and humor to the folklore-inspired narrative. Ages 8–12. Agent: Joanna Volpe, New Leaf Literary. (Sept.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.Review by School Library Journal Reviews
Gr 3–7—A middle grade fantasy that includes Islamic legends, magic, science, and the power of belief in oneself. While at their mosque, waiting for the super blue blood moon, Amira and her younger brother Hamza both happen to touch a supposedly broken ancient artifact, the Box of the Moon, which sets an equally ancient prophecy in motion. Everyone on Earth suddenly falls asleep, and jinn appear, claiming that Amira and Hamza have been chosen to save the magical world of Qaf, Earth, and life as they know it. Amira loves science, so she has her doubts about fulfilling a mystical prophecy at 12, while Hamza is thrilled to become important, like one of his favorite superheroes. Like any magical journey, this one is full of heart, humor, action, doubt, and the belief that even the most unexpected individuals can save the world. Amira's questions will resonate with skeptical readers, whereas Hamza urges her to let go and believe anyway. Amira and Hamza's adventure is emotionally believable, even as the siblings ride magical creatures to their next destination. Although some of the action might be intimidating for younger readers, this would still make for a great read-aloud. VERDICT A fast-paced adventure with heart and a superb fairy-tale adaptation of Islamic legends. Sure to be a hit with fans of Yoon Ha Lee's Dragon Pearl and Sayantani DasGupta's The Serpent's Secret.—Hilary Tufo, Columbus Metropolitan Lib., Reynoldsburg, OH Copyright 2021 School Library Journal.
A genie informs twelve-year-old Amira and her younger brother Hamza that they are the chosen ones who must defeat a monstrous demon of Islamic folklore to save the Earth and a parallel dimension.Review by Publisher Summary 2
When her little brother Hamza opens the forbidden Box of the Moon, 12-year-old Amira must journey to a mystical land to prevent the moon, the barrier between realms, from unleashing a nightmare on Earth. 100,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook.Review by Publisher Summary 3
A Kirkus Best Middle Grade Book of 2021From bestselling author Samira Ahmed comes a thrilling and magical adventure intertwining Islamic legend and history, perfect for fans of Aru Shah and the Land of Stories. On the day of a rare super blue blood moon eclipse, twelve-year-old Amira and her little brother, Hamza, can’t stop their bickering while attending a special exhibit on medieval Islamic astronomy. While stargazer Amira is wowed by the amazing gadgets, a bored Hamza wanders off, stumbling across the mesmerizing and forbidden Box of the Moon. Amira can only watch in horror as Hamza grabs the defunct box and it springs to life, setting off a series of events that could shatter their world—literally. Suddenly, day turns to night, everyone around Amira and Hamza falls under a sleep spell, and a chunk of the moon breaks off, hurtling toward them at lightning speed, as they come face-to-face with two otherworldly creatures: jinn. The jinn reveal that the siblings have a role to play in an ancient prophecy. Together, they must journey to the mystical land of Qaf, battle a great evil, and end a civil war to prevent the moon—the stopper between realms—from breaking apart and unleashing terrifying jinn, devs, and ghuls onto earth. Or they might have to say goodbye to their parents and life as they know it, forever.…