Published by Amulet Books on May 1st 2011
Genres: middle grade
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When Yeats and his parents visit his grandmother's creepy old house, Yeats reunites a pair of pirate bookends and uncovers the amazing truth: Years ago, Yeats's father traveled into The Arabian Nights with a friend, and the friend, Shari, is still stuck in the tales. Assisted by the not-always-trustworthy pirates, Yeats must navigate the unfamiliar world of the story of Shaharazad--dodging guards and tigers and the dangerous things that lurk in the margins of the stories--in order to save Shari and bring peace to his family.
David Ward has created a fantasy rich with atmosphere and full of heart-stopping drama.
There’s a lot I want to say about this middle-grade novel, but it’s not coming together in my mind very well. There were good things and bad things, but mostly just okay things. Very average book in my opinion. I do love the title though. It’s what drew my attention, and it makes a lot more sense if you read the book. The cover is decent, but not particularly eye-catching. I think the publishers could have come up with something a little more creative. Maybe like including the pirates?
I like reading middle-grade novels. I love Harry Potter, Fablehaven, and the Atherton series. This one was just so-so. I didn’t find it very creative and compared to others I’ve read, it seemed very simple. There were some good ideas here: the pirate bookends, being able to enter any story by making a wish and reading it, and Khan the panther. But I felt the story kinda fell flat. To me it followed a very linear path, and as a whole was pretty unimaginative. It’s not that it was badly written, it just felt very unoriginal. It’s been done many times before and done better.
One thing I can compliment is the author’s ability to write beautiful imagery. The settings were lush and I pictured them in my mind easily. This is one of my favorite things to do when reading. I love to picture the settings in my head and create my own world. That was well done here, which I appreciate. But then I found issues with some of the writing. I don’t think that the characters’ actions were described well enough. I found myself getting confused a couple of times and having to backtrack because I wasn’t sure what had just happened. And this is a children’s book. Um, what? Why? I don’t know either.
I did love the grandfather and Odysseus the cat, but I felt that most of the characters were pretty flat and not very deep. Considering this is a children’s book, I can overlook that to a certain extent, but I mostly just found the narrative very average. This book was just okay. It had some good points, but I doubt I will be reading anything else by this author. I just felt pretty uninspired by the whole book. 2.5 stars.