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The Book of Wonders

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  722 ratings  ·  102 reviews
Magic, Djinn, Ogres, and Sorcerers. Thirteen-year-old Zardi loves to hear stories about fantastical beings, long banned from the kingdom of Arribitha. But anyone caught whispering of their powers will feel the rage of the sultan—a terrifying usurper who, even with his eyes closed, can see all.

When her own beloved sister is captured by the evil ruler, Zardi knows that she
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published January 17th 2012 by HarperCollins
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Cinder by Marissa MeyerThe Selection by Kiera CassUnder the Never Sky by Veronica RossiEverneath by Brodi AshtonIncarnate by Jodi Meadows
2012 Debut Authors (Young Adult & Middle Grade)
118th out of 973 books — 6,006 voters
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Community Reviews

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Thirteen-year-old Zardi lives in the kingdom of Arribitha, where the sultan has banned magic, and anyone even heard talking about magic can be arrested. Her best friend is Rhidan, a mysterious foreigner who was found abandoned as a baby and raised by Zardi's family. Rhidan longs to know of his origins, and receives a clue from Sinbad the Sailor, but he must flee before Rhidan can get more answers.

The sultan of Arribitha is cruel and evil, and forces young girls to be take the position of "Prais
I'm never quite sure how I'm going to feel about a Middle Grade book. Clearly, I love YA, but Middle Grades are hit or miss for me. I get nervous when Middle Grade is paired with other aspects that make me second guess whether I'll like a book, such as being high fantasy or longer than I expected (again, hit or miss mentality). I need not have worried. The Book of Wonders by Jasmine Richards is a solid hit.

As soon as I started the first chapter, I was eager to continue. There is an ease of story
Jessica Harrison
Review via Cracking the Cover
Sinbad. Aladdin. Scheherazade.

They’re names that evoke exotic locales and swashbuckling adventures. Now you can add another name to that list — Zardi.

Zardi is the main character in Jasmine Richards‘ “The Book of Wonders,” an exciting new adventure for middle readers.

In the kingdom of Arribitha, magic is taboo. Fantastical beings have long been banned. Thirteen-year-old Zardi loves to hear stories of these things, but even those can call the rage of the sultan, who ru
Grady McCallie
I'm a fan of (much of) the Arabian Nights, and was delighted to run across this middle grade novel, which repurposes elements from the tales -- Sinbad, djinnis, the roc, mistaken identities, wishes governed by complicated rules -- but without the racism and misogyny that permeates the original tales. So far, so good. But, the book's writing leaves much to be desired. Rather than the characters' personalities driving the plot, the plot (and author's need to work in exposition) drives the characte ...more
I read The Book of Wonders in manuscript form a little while ago. It is a page turning and gripping adventure that pulls the reader in. The young Scheherazade is a brilliant heroine and the plot is filled with twists and turns right to the very end.
I finished it in one sitting and can't wait to read the next installment in the trilogy.
Cynthia Varady
For the duel, visit Dueling Librarians

Let me begin by saying that it pains me to write this review. I begin all books with the anticipation and zest of a child awakening on Christmas morning, bursting to see what all those glossy packages might contain. This is perhaps a faulty way to begin a book because my expectation can fall short, leaving me less than happy by the tale's end. Sadly, that is what happened with Jasmine Richards first novel, The Book of Wonders.

A victim of circumstance, I foun
Feb 17, 2012 Cesya rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: arc
I’d like to thank Once Upon a Twilight for giving me the opportunity to be on this book review tour.

Now, on with the show . . . er . . . review!

I have to admit that I was a little leery about reading this book because of the age range but I trudged along and slowly got swept away in Zardi’s adventures. I have to say, she was very brave for only being thirteen and I admired her for that. She was a little firecracker and when she set her mind to doing something, she followed through until it was f
It took me until the end of chapter 3 to get interested in the story and the characters, but chapter 4 really set things up well and I was anticipating quite an adventure. Unfortunately, although I really wanted to like this one, it just didn't do it for me. The premise is clever, but I found myself with so many questions, particularly the character motivations. My favorite character in the book - and the only one whose motivation I totally get - was Nonna (Zardi's grandmother) and we don't see ...more
I received this as apart of the Once Upon a Twilight ARC Book Tours.

Zardi lives in a world with Magic, Djinn, Ogres, and Sorcerers. However, the Sultan has banned magic in the kingdom of Arribitha. Even speaking of magic, could get you arrested. Ironic.

Zardi has a mysterious companion in Rhidan, who was abandoned as a baby. When given a clue about his past, by Sinbad the sailor, he is compelled to find the answers.

In Arribitha the Sultan forces young girls in the position of 'praisemaker'. The
First Impression: Just reading the description of The Book of Wonders gives me a sense of adventure. When I heard the name Sinbad, it brought me to think about Aladdin and the other tales of Arabian Nights and made me more excited to read this book.

While Reading: I was drawn in from the beginning. Richards sets up a rich world, full of an evil sultan, a deadly hunt, and a boy with a mysterious past. Zardi sees her own sister and father captured before her and decides to embark on a journey to fi
Rain Misoa
Nov 17, 2014 Rain Misoa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Adventure loves and people who are not looking for a book with substance.
Recommended to Rain by: Library
I liked this book well enough. There's nothing complicated about it. It's an adventure story and that's exactly what you get.

To read my full review, click here.
Julie (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Fun adventure with magic, mythical beings, and a strong female lead. I am looking forward to Zardi and Rhidan's next adventures.

4 stars.

Full review soon at
just finished reading Jasmine Richard's first book, The Book of Wonders. Familiar names like Sinbad, Scheherazade, and Aladdin filled the book. Magic is woven throughout the story. Zardi, the main character, and her best friend Rhidan embark on a valiant quest to find a way to save her sister and father from the Sultan. Readers that enjoyed the Christopher Paolini series would also enjoy this tale. Although the author refers to The Book of Wonders as the first in a trilogy, she doesn't have a p ...more
In a land ruled by a tyrannical shah, who has forbidden and (supposedly) destroyed magic, Zardi relishes her Nonna's stories of myth, djinnis, and magic. When Zardi's older sister is captured by the shah to be his next praisemaker and then perish in The Hunt and he imprisons her father, she and her friend Rhidan determine to escape to the port of Sarda . There, she has learned, might dwell assassins trained to bring down the shah while Rhidan journeys in the hopes of discovering his parentag
This book…oh goodness…

Literally left me in the dust.


Zardi longs for adventure, so when her sister is captured by a terrifying ruler, it is up to Zardi and her friend Ridhan to save her. Along with Sinbad and his scurvy crew, and Zardi disguised as a boy, her and Ridhan set sail on Sinbad’s ship to visit unknown islands, fearful magic, and just plain crazy encounters. You’re in for a rip-roaring, nail biting, and totally exciting adventure of a life time! This is one book you’ll nev
13 yr old Zardi lives and her best friend Rhidan do everything together. The two live in Arribitha where magic is forbidden by the sultan. Anyone got using magic of any kind risk imprisonment or death. The sultan is cruel and vicious to his people, Zardi's father is the sultan's vizier, a kind of aid. This is position Zardi father hoped to keep some of the sultan's hideous acts to a minimum. However the sultan feels betrayed, and he takes Zubeyda, Zardi's older sister prisoner as his new praisem ...more
Ms. Yingling
Zardi enjoys her life in Arribithia with her grandmother, older sister Zubeyda and her friend Rhidan, a foreign orphan being raised by her family. Rhidan doesn't know his part, but when the two run into the sailor Sinbad in the port, he mentions that Rhidan looks like the people of the Black Isle. Zardi's father is an advisor for the sultan, who has banned magic from the kingdom, but not even this keeps the family safe-- Zubeyda is chosen to be the sultan's next "praisemaker" which will result i ...more
I don’t know where to start so I will just jump in with both feet. When I first saw the cover it was intriguing and read the synopsis and I was hooked. The world of djinn, ogres, magic is some place I wanted to explore. The story was creative with the appearance of famous characters like Sinbad and the mention of Aladdin. Put a new twist on the Sinbad myth it gave the history of the book of wonders a point of reference and weight, and had a nice flow. I fell in love with Zardi her character was ...more
In this stunning MG novel, Jasmine Richards has brought life to a mesmerizing fantasy story of magic, friendship, and adventure. The world of Arribitha will pull you in and captivate you page after page. The characters, the magic, the journey, the settings--each element is woven together beautifully to create a magical story that will delight readers of all ages.

Enter the world of Arribithia--where magic is forbidden and everyone is at the mercy of the all-powerful Sultan--including his advisors

While clearly aimed at a younger audience this book is the type that would have crossover appeal for those who do not normally read YA/Childrens books.

You will find names you know in this one (Aladdin and Sinbad) but the story really belongs to Zardi and Rhidan, a young girl and her best friend who set out on an adventure to figure out how to save Zardi's sister and father from the evil sultan and find out who Rhidan is (he was abandoned as a baby, taken in by Zardi's family).

Nice pace? Yup! Ma
originally posted on my blog:

My Thoughts: I've found when I'm having trouble finishing books, if I pick up an MG book it helps get me out of my slump. This book was no exception. I enjoyed both the world and the characters that the author brought us. Some may seem familiar, there is a correlation to Aladdin and Arabian Nights. We even have the characters searching for Aladdin to take over ruling Arribitha from the evil Sultan.
There were times throughout
3.5 stars

The Book of Wonders was a book I was very excited for. I adore fantasy, and middle grade fantasy always has this quality about it that rocks. It was a cute book, but was not everything I had been hoping for.

I found The Book of Wonders to have a slower start - it took me about 150 pages before I really got into the story. The world was very creative. I loved that right away when I started reading, within a few chapters, I had a grasp on the world. The story never went where I was expecti
Harper, 2012
400 pages
Recommended for grades 4-6

The kingdom of Arribitha is ruled by a nasty Sultan that has outlawed all use of magic. But doing away with magic is nothing compared to what the sultan does to his praisemakers. Praisemakers are young unwed girls in his kingdom that he imprisons and orders to sing his praises each morning for the city to hear. But only for ninety days. At the end of the ninety day term the praisemaker is released on his grounds to be hunted down, in the Sult
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
A fantastic debut that's full of adventure, fantasy, friendship and a whole lot of charm. I felt like a kid all over again while reading this compelling story. There's something about a well written middle grade book that reminds me of the excitement I had when I first started reading them (what feels like eons ago), and this book has that excitement. The journey with Zardi and her best friend Rhidan isn't just thrilling, it was completely engaging. The world of Arribitha screams of adventure, b ...more
Cindy Hudson
Thirteen-year-old Zardi is the daughter of the Sultan’s closest adviser. She lives with her family and Rhidan, a ward of the state since he was found on their shores as a baby years ago. Rhidan doesn’t look like anyone else in their country, and he knows nothing about where he is from.

When the cruel Sultan imprisons Zardi’s sister and father she is desperate to find a way to free them and end the Sultan’s iron-fisted rule over her country. If she and Rhidan can find a sailor named Sinbad, who se
Sienna North
When I started The Book of Wonders, I admit that my expectations were pretty low. I'd just finished a depressing string of middle-grade fantasy novels, and why should this book be any better? Well, whys and wherefores aside, The Book of Wonders delighted me and absolutely overcame all my objections within the first chapter.

From the beginning, I loved the subtle way in which the story parallels Arabian Nights. The main character, Scheherazade, is both like and unlike the famous storyteller we kno
Okay, The Book of Wonders by Jasmine Richards is a seriously awesome middle grade novel about fantasy and adventure and it’s got pirates, boats, magic, a loyal best friend, and a seriously brave female main character.

The Book of Wonders is the type of book I would have absolutely devoured in middle school, and I’m glad that still holds true today! As an avid fan of Tamora Pierce, I am all about the awesome and strong female characters in fantasy settings, so Zardi was like a breath of fresh air
Oct 23, 2012 Matea rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 1-12
OTHER. JOURNEY. The Book of Wonders by Jasmine Richards is an Arabian fantasy story following Scheherazade, called Zardi and her loyal compainion, Rhidan, with a mysterious family background. Zardi, who must save her sister from the terrible fate of being killed by the sultan, starts on a quest with the help of some forbidden magic. She meets djinns and rocs and evil witches along the way, but the quest becomes a race against time as sub-plots emerge to mess up Zardi's plan.
I picked this book up
Carina Olsen
You should all know by now that I am a sucker for pretty book covers. And The Book of Wonders was no exception. I wanted this book the from the moment I saw the gorgeous cover. And I did buy it :D Because not just the cover made me want it. Also really loved the summary. Really like MG books; and this was awesome :)

The plot in this book is really, really good. I liked it a whole lot. And I enjoyed the writing as well. But the reason this is a four star and not a five star, is because when the ch
Jul 29, 2012 næntsi marked it as to-read
I'm at the halfway point. I think I'll be dropping this one. I started reading it while on a long bus ride downtown. When I got there I sat down in an outside court and read some more of it while enjoying the nice weather. I finished some more, and had gotten to where I am now. 50%. It's very nicely divided, since that marks the start of a new chapter.

Now, I don't hate this book, or anything extreme like that. It's just rather unexciting, because the moment there is any sort of reason to be exci
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Could this be a elementary school read aloud? 3 12 Feb 16, 2012 07:49AM  
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Jasmine Richards was born in London, grew up in a library, and was the first in her family to go to university. After graduating from Oxford, and following a brief stint at New Scotland Yard, Jasmine chose a career in publishing over being the next Sherlock Holmes. Today she's a senior editor at a leading British publishing house. She now lives in Oxfordshire with her husband in an old wool mill. ...more
More about Jasmine Richards...
Secrets of Valhalla

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“Let it hurt, Zardi," Rhidan said. "Take the pain and make it something else. Let it make you stronger and smarter.” 2 likes
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