Children of the Lamp: The Akhenaten Adventure
by P. B. Kerr
When the Gaunt twins, Philippa and John, turn twelve their dentist discovers they have developed wisdom teeth and removes them. This triggers the emergence of their genie - djinn - powers and their previously unknown Uncle Nimrod takes them to London and to Egypt to teach them to control their new abilities. Meanwhile, the evil Iblis is trying to discover the location of seventy djinn trapped during the reign of Akhenaten, and the twins must stop him lest he shift the balance of luck permanently.
While probably fine when the audience is an actual child, this book doesn't transcend the genre like the Harry Potter or Percy Jackson series do. It lacks appeal for an adult audience. (It didn't help that the audio book narrator had a *really* annoying voice that sounded so smug and condescending at times I wanted to slap him.) I made a list of the good and the bad as I listened.
- Stories set in/themed around Ancient Egypt are always fun. I genuinely regret that this series wasn't around when I was in elementary school; I'm sure I would have loved it.
- Lots of description, which was good, although often there are lengthy passages describing less-than-thrilling subjects, like the interior of the British Museum. They might bore a younger reader.
- Fast-paced plot
- Not crazy with the depiction of Akhenaten as a djinn-ghost. I wish he hadn't appeared in the story. It just felt forced and unnecessary.
- Kerr relies on antiquated, prejudiced stereotypes in his depictions of foreigners, most noticeably the French and Egyptian characters. One of Nimrod's manservants, Karim, is called "Creemy" because his employer finds the name more 'suitable'
- Philippa seems to be more powerful than her brother; at least, she's the one always granting wishes and seems to be the first to use her powers when a problem comes up. I wonder if there's a reason for it? I wish some character had mentioned this discrepancy, since I'm curious if it's a personality thing or a djinn thing
- the fast-paced plot, with characters traveling around the world, leads to the sacrifice of character development, which is too bad
- Lots of information dumping as Philippa or Nimrod explain the history of Egypt or the djinn to John/Groanin/the reader
While entertaining, this book isn't a classic. It'll be fun for younger kids, but there are much better books you could pick out for them.
2.5 out of 5 stars