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The Book of Wonders

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  986 Ratings  ·  118 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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Cecilia Rodriguez Yes. It is really great, especially if you are familiar with 1001 nights.

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Oct 09, 2011 Chrissy rated it liked it
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
Jul 26, 2016 Jessica Harrison rated it really liked it
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
Jan 11, 2012 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, to-review, fantasy
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
Grady McCallie
Sep 06, 2016 Grady McCallie rated it it was ok
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
Jul 26, 2011 Abby rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 01, 2014 Cynthia Varady rated it liked it
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
Madeline Rose
Initial Response
This book…oh goodness…
Literally left me in the dust.

"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 must go to any lengths to rescue her. A
Feb 17, 2012 Cesya rated it it was amazing
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
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
Jan 08, 2012 Vivien rated it really liked it
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
Sep 22, 2012 Heather rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
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
Rain Misoa
Nov 17, 2014 Rain Misoa rated it liked it
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.
One Sentence Review: Enjoyable enough but maybe one of the most forgettable little middle grade novels I've ever read.
Julie (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Dec 30, 2011 Julie (Manga Maniac Cafe) rated it really liked it
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
Jan 06, 2017 Kailey rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned-books
I'm so disappointed in this book. The cover made it look wonderful, but the characters are two-dimensional, the story is trite, and the dialogue is boring. I read it all the way through, but it never really captured my attention or my emotions.

The only thing I liked was the magical world setting. The setting is from the Arabian Nights, with many characters, like Scheherzade, Aladdin, and Sinbad the Sailor, being reimagined.

Many of the plot points were difficult to believe, too coincidental, or d
Cecilia Rodriguez
Nov 03, 2016 Cecilia Rodriguez rated it really liked it
Richards' plot transports the reader into the vibrant world of 1001 Nights.
Thirteen year old Zardi(Scheherazade) is itching for adventure, when Sultan Shahryar's guards capture her sister, Zubeyda.
Zardi and her friend, Rhidan stow away on Captain Sinbad's ship in hopes of locating something that
will defeat the cruel Sultan.
The story is action packed and really fun to read.
Richards captures the exotic nature of the original source, and hopefully will inspire readers to seek
them out.
Mar 21, 2016 Aelvana rated it liked it
Zardi is a dreamer, dreaming of adventure and magic in a kingdom that does its best to stifle both. The sultan of Arribitha hates magic, and his subjects live in fear of his cruelty. But when Zardi's sister is taken to be the sultan's prisoner (which always ends in execution for the maiden in question), Zardi is determined to save her. Together with Rhidan, a strange orphan who has grown up with her family, she sets off to find something or someone strong enough to topple the sultan and save her ...more
Carina Olsen
Apr 01, 2012 Carina Olsen rated it really liked it
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
Oct 13, 2011 Jessi rated it really liked it
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
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
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
Apr 04, 2012 Merin rated it really liked it
Zardi, short for Scheherazade, loves hearing stories about the times when magic was plentiful and abundant in the land of Arribitha. But those times are gone, ever since the evil sultan, Shahryar, came to power and forbade anyone from even talking about magic. When her sister, Zubeyda, is taken to be the sultan's next praisemaker - a job that always results in the girl's death - and her father is imprisoned, Zardi and her friend Rhidan must seek out Sinbad, and hope that the sailor's tales of la ...more
Apr 12, 2016 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, middle-grade
As with all the books that I feel have potential, I tried to like The Book of Wonders—but in the end, I just couldn’t. It’s clearly a debut novel and the sort where the world dazzles and hides the fact that the rest of the novel is weak and messy. And the world in this book is dazzling—I like the Arabian Nights feel and the inclusion of Sinbad, Aladdin, and even Scheherazade. I like the nudge it makes at those legendary and mythological characters while forging ahead and creating new things out ...more
Jan 19, 2012 Doret rated it really liked it
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
Jan 26, 2015 Handan rated it really liked it
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
Sienna North
Apr 29, 2012 Sienna North rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Cindy Hudson
Jan 30, 2012 Cindy Hudson rated it really liked it
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
~ PixylCat ~
Mar 01, 2016 ~ PixylCat ~ rated it really liked it
Name: Sami B.
Class: 7 Red
Pages: 416
Review: Extra

The Book of Wonders by Jasmine Richards is a fast-paced tale of a girl who wants her family back, a boy who doesn't know himself, and a djinni who wishes to be set free. If you like reading about friendship, family, and self-discovery, then this is the book for you. If you already read and enjoyed this book, I would recommend reading these books:
- Connect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos
- The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan
- City of Thirs
Ms. Yingling
Feb 08, 2012 Ms. Yingling rated it really liked it
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
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
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Could this be a elementary school read aloud? 3 13 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...

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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.” 6 likes
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