Namedphoenix's Reviews > The Seven Keys of Balabad

The Seven Keys of Balabad by Paul Haven
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Jan 02, 10

Read in January, 2009

I didn't really like this one. It's a fun idea, but not handled as well as it might have been.
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Melanie What wasn't handled well, and how would you have handled it?


Namedphoenix Well, I was thinking that there was quite a bit of tired cliche, but as I continue thinking about it - the book was made for a YA audience, and that lends itself to the use of more familiar symbolism, allegory, and character prototypes.

However, I thought that there was a direct relation of Balabad to the current situations in Middle Eastern countries and cities. Corruption and evil was prominent in even the everyday native citizens, while the American residents were considered to be more sophisticated, more elite, than the native citizens. I thought that was quite a discredit to natives, just considering what advancements have been made in "real life" cultures across the Adriatic.

And yes, the "hero" of any novel is supposed to be quicker, better, and smarter than all the other characters, but I thought that there was too much of this, and it crossed into what felt like an undercurrent of prejudice. Which might have been intentional to show cultural growth of the adolescent character through the story, but the undercurrent still felt quite prominent. Even for a YA novel that is supposed to be less subtle than those novels written for an older audience.

I suppose that is what I thought wasn't handled well.

And I was surprised that someone has read my reviews! Thanks for that, I had no idea anyone would be interested.


Melanie Thanks for this! Very well put. I think my biggest problem was that for a mystery meant for kids, it moved really slowly!


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