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The Book of Wonders

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,205 ratings  ·  133 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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Average rating 3.97  · 
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Jessica Harrison
Feb 11, 2012 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
Oct 06, 2011 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
Sep 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-review, fantasy, arc
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
Michael Fitzgerald
Jul 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Pretty good story, using the Arabian Nights world as a basis. The dialogue, however, is disappointingly juvenile. There are no anachronisms, but it has the feel of modern day kids - which doesn't work so well with the ancient setting. And what kind of person names a roc (bird) "Roco" - just dumb. I don't think the bird even needs a name. It doesn't say, but I guess this is the first of a series? Not overly excited about that.
Nov 21, 2012 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
Madeline Rose
Re-read 2018: Still love it as much as I did when I was younger. <3

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
Jul 26, 2011 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.
One Sentence Review: Enjoyable enough but maybe one of the most forgettable little middle grade novels I've ever read.
Cynthia Varady
Aug 22, 2014 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
Jan 30, 2012 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 06, 2012 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
Ms. Yingling
Feb 08, 2012 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
Sep 22, 2012 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
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
Jan 06, 2017 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
Rain Misoa
Nov 15, 2014 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.
Julie (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Nov 11, 2011 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
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Writing could use improvements, but overall it was excellent. I think there was an acceptable amount of "screen time" for both main characters. However, there seemed to be some disconnection between the different parts. Not enough to ruin the book, but something that could have been worked on. The ending was good with a small cliffhanger but still room for interpretation. The author did good work with the characters. I mean some writers just say that this person is impatient but not in this book ...more
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shallow, bland, underwritten, and forgettable. This book was not great. I get that it’s middle grade and below my reading level, but I have read many middle grade novels with far better writing. The plot drove the characters and therefore the characters’ motivations and personalities were inconsistent and made no sense. Richards introduces the big bad at the beginning of the story, which is waaay too early and made the villain entirely unthreatening. I couldn’t connect emotionally to the story k ...more
Paul Stevenson
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
My reading of The Book of Wonders didn't start of as very intentional. My 10-year-old daughter picked it up from the library, and it was lying around within my reach when I was at a loose end. The fact that I read to the end was completely intentional. It's a pretty rip-roaring adventure tale set in the world of Arabian Nights with a 13-year-old girl and her brother as co-heroes.

I wasn't expecting literary or poetic writing, and indeed I didn't get it, but the narrative-driven story is written
Amalie Simper
I would give this story a 3 1/2 stars. it was a good mid grade fantasy book. The story was very nice with a girl who sets out on a quest with her best friend, a boy who had lived in her house all her life, to save her family and find the mysterious family of her friend. Their adventures were fun and led them in voyages, to djinis, to be hunted by the sultan and many more things. I loved the book, it just wasn't the caliber of book that makes the best written books. It was basically the same as a ...more
Hannah Belyea
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Zardi has always enjoyed stories of fantastical creatures and adventures out at sea, so when the lives of her father and sister are threatened by an evil Sultan, she and her best friend are more than willing to set out to find a strong enough magic to defeat him - even if it means travelling with the devious Sinbad! Richards delivers an exciting and colourfully magical journey that is sure to rest in the hearts of fans for years to come. Could the secret to defeating the Sultan truly lay beyond ...more
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book!

This was an amazing book. I read it to my daughter when it first came out and have just finished reading it to my son. Ms. Richards has an amazing way of visualizing the story through her style of writing, and I am drawn back into the story as if I am right there with Zardi. Great nook for age 10 and up, O would say, but I even enjoy it as an adult. Well done!

Tim Q, father of 2.
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Zardi's sister Zubeyda, has been captured by the sultan to be his praise maker. Zardi and her friend Rhidan go along with the sailor Sinbad, and his crew to defeat the sultan and save Zubeyda.
I really like this book. It's not as good as other ones I've read, but I still really like it.
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really loved this book and looked for a sequel even before I finished reading it. I loved the detail. It wasn't over the top, either. The Book of Wonders is really imaginative and just plain awesome.
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
What a marvelous story!!!
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Love the author's use of 1001 nights to bring it up to date. You are transported to another world with these adventurous and brave children. Wholesome yet modern and fun. Brilliant!
Dec 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting plot but the characters never really rang true for me.
Kanchan Singh
Jun 10, 2019 marked it as to-read
11 AR points
Aug 19, 2014 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
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Could this be a elementary school read aloud? 2 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

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There's something great about a paperback book: They're perfect book club choices, you can throw them in your bag and go, and they've been out in...
42 likes · 15 comments
“Let it hurt, Zardi," Rhidan said. "Take the pain and make it something else. Let it make you stronger and smarter.” 8 likes
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