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 “Praisemaker” – they are forced to announce executions and are eventually killed. Zardi’s parents try to have her and her sister married off so they cannot be chosen, but before they can do that, her older sister is picked to be the next Praisemaker. Zardi and Rhidan must then go on a journey to save Zardi’s sister and discover the truth about Rhidan’s origins.
Book of Wonders is an enjoyable middle grade fantasy inspired by the Arabian Nights stories. The main characters were very likable and I enjoyed the author’s descriptions of all the exotic places they visited. This book is very different from anything I have read recently, and since I am sick of urban fantasy I am always looking for fantasy with a more historical or magical setting. If you are like me and like fantasy with unusual settings, I think you would enjoy Book of Wonders.