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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Book Review: The Secret of Ka by Christopher Pike


Reading level:
Young Adult
416 pages
Harcourt Children's Books (September 13, 2010)
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

One minute Sara's bored on vacation in Istanbul. The next, she's unearthed a flying carpet that cleverly drags her to the mysterious Island of the Djinn—or genies. By her side is Amesh, a hot boy she's starting to love but doesn't yet trust. When Amesh learns the secret of invoking djinn, he loses control. He swears he'll call upon only one djinn and make one wish. The plan sounds safe enough. But neither Sara nor Amesh are any match for the formidable monster that that swells before them. It hypnotizes Amesh, compelling him to steal Sara’s flying carpet—the ancient Carpet of Ka—and leave her stranded.

Discovering the Carpet of Ka has sparked a new path for Sara, one that will lead her to battle creatures even deadlier than djinn. In this fight, Sara can save mankind, herself, or the boy she loves. Who will she be forced to sacrifice?

Book Opening:

"An entire summer alone in Turkey with my father. When I first heard about the trip I was so excited. But now that I had logged the obligatory twenty hours of jet travel that it took to get to the Middle East and another week in Istanbul itself—the hot and crowded capital of Turkey—I was having second thoughts."

The Secret of KaNotable Scene

"Sara!" Amesh shouted. "Stop!"

"I didn't hurt it. I don't think I can." I lifted up the lighter.

"Put that away!" Amesh cried.

  I ignored him. There was a part of me that felt as if the carpet had thrown out a challenge and that I had to respond. I felt as it was mocking me.

  I flipped open the lighter and pulled the carpet toward the flame. I'm not sure how close I brought it to the fire—half a foot, maybe—before it reacted.
  The carpet jerked out of my hands and flew across the room.
It landed on the sofa, where it seemed to rest comfortably.

  Like a human being.

Be careful what you wish for. Sounds so simple right? When Sarah and Amesh find a tattered old carpet, the last thing they expect is for it to fly, let alone lead them to the island of djinn (genies)—a mystical place where wishes really do come true. Of course, every wish has a price. The djinn, creatures with centuries of experience in manipulation, trickery and compulsion, hunger for new souls to destroy. If Sarah and Amesh don't watch every word they say, they'll wind up losing a lot more than they ever bargained for—in fact, they stand to lose their very own souls. 

Before she met Amesh and found the carpet, Sarah thought she'd be stuck in Istanbul bored all summer. Turns out, this will be one summer she'll never forget; one that will change the course of her life forever. 

But don't you just want to make one more wish? Come on, it's so easy...

Go on, unroll that carpet and find your magical "ley line"—it's time for the ride of a lifetime! THE SECRET OF KA was pure escapist fun. Each time I opened its pages, I couldn't wait to fall back into Sara's world—one where flying carpets whisk you off to exotic locales and deliciously dangerous creatures are eager to grant your heart's deepest desires, that is, if you survive long enough to enjoy them. Sara's personality starts off a little prickly, but she matures a lot over the course of the book. I think her stubborn nature and rebellious side actually made a lot of sense--those qualities helped keep her out of harm's way. It took a lot to stand up to the djinn and if anyone could do it, I'd put my money on Sara. I enjoyed reading the book from her point of view and loved her character. There was a romance in the book, but it was secondary to the fantasy aspect of the story--something which was a nice change up for me.

THE SECRET OF KA is categorized as YA, but to me, it seemed more aptly suited for the middle grade crowd. This wasn't a problem for me—my inner kid was intrigued by the idea of stumbling upon magic carpets and genies while on vacation in Istanbul—what's not to love about that? However, if you prefer your YA to be a little "older" and heavy on the romance, this might not be a good fit for you. But if you are game for a good fantasy with danger, action and suspense, then this is one to definitely add to your wish list.  

I haven't read any of Christopher Pike's other works, but now I'm definitely interested in doing so after reading this book.

About the Author: Christopher Pike, the bestselling author of the Remember Me and The Last Vampire series, has more than fifty novels to his credit. His adult novels include Sati, The Season of Passage, The Cold One, and The Blind Mirror. Mr. Pike lives in Santa Barbara, California.


MissAttitude said...

How can you be bored spending a summer in Istanbul??? Sounds amazing even without the djinni and magic carpets.

It would be nice to read some suspensful fantasy with less emphasis on the romance. I was curious about this book and your review has really raised my interest :)

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I really need to try this again. Thanks for the awesome review.

Dwayne said...

It does sound a little towards the MG - and it looks like it too!