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The Book of Wonders

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  922 Ratings  ·  116 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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~ PixylCat • Eternally falling into an endless void ~ It really is! I just finished reading it, and I loved it. If you like themes of family, friendship, and finding yourself, then this is the book for…moreIt really is! I just finished reading it, and I loved it. If you like themes of family, friendship, and finding yourself, then this is the book for you. If you enjoy this book after you read it, then I would recommend reading the Map to Everywhere series, as well as Connect the Stars.(less)
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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
Feb 11, 2012 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
Feb 14, 2014 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
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
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
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
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 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.
Darryl Brent
Jun 28, 2015 Darryl Brent rated it really liked it
This fantasy novel follows two young people, Zardi and Ridhan, on a quest to discover magic to rescue Zardi's family and find where Ridhan comes from. Zardi and Ridhan live in a world loosely based on the Arabian Night tales, travelling with Sinbad the sailor and his crew, hunting djinns etc. The characters are well-written and engaging and the magic systems in the book are new and interesting. The main protagonist, Zardi may be a somewhat typical "feisty" young girl but the author doesn't overd ...more
Nov 15, 2015 Nayoungjin rated it liked it
I guess the reason I enjoyed this book is that the main character gets to travel a lot and meet a variety of interesting creatures such as a giant bird, a talking snake, and a giant living in a cage.
Also, it was a real-page turner because of the high stake the main character was in and of action-driven plot. Interestingly, it's a story about girl who is imperfect and vulnerable, not so magical, not so strong. She seems to be just an ordinary girl who became a heroine because of the circumstance
~ PixylCat • Eternally falling into an endless void ~
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
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 15, 2016 Samantha rated it liked it
This book sounded awesome, and it still is. However, I had some issues with it. First off - good plot line, and it has semi-believable characters. (I loved Sinbad!) However, some lose ends didn't get tied up, and it flowed...oddly. From the end of one chapter to the beginning of the next, several days, or even weeks had passed, and I felt left out of the story. The characters also switched emotions and thoughts like wildfire, leaving me a little behind. And lastly, I felt that the danger wasn't ...more
Jul 25, 2014 Dawn rated it liked it
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
One Sentence Review: Enjoyable enough but maybe one of the most forgettable little middle grade novels I've ever read.
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
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
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
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
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
Jan 19, 2012 Sonya rated it really liked it
Shelves: dac-2012
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
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
Feb 14, 2012 Ramie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, fantasy

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
Aug 29, 2012 Kristina rated it really liked it
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
Jan 12, 2012 Erica rated it liked it
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
Feb 04, 2013 Nicole rated it it was amazing
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
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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.” 5 likes
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