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City of Stolen Magic

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With the help of an old friend, Chompa goes off after her, traveling on a fast ship powered by a tree djinn. For Chompa and others like her are djinnborn or djinnspeakers, able to think or write words to do magic and manipulate the elements.

City of Stolen Magic by Nazneen Ahmed Pathak, review: a critique of City of Stolen Magic by Nazneen Ahmed Pathak, review: a critique

The villain is holding Chompa’s mother, Amina, to force Chompa to do what he wants. Amina therefore uses her magic to self-immolate in front of her daughter so that she can’t be used as leverage against Chompa. I was really disappointed by this plot point. Depicting suicide as a good thing (Amina says she is setting Chompa free), particularly in a children's book, is really inappropriate. Suicide is an extremely serious, despairing act, and passing over it lightly does not make it okay (actually it's worse). It was totally unnecessary and ineffective from the story's perspective, so I consider it poor story telling as well as inappropriate. I don’t like the end justifying the means in any case, but a parent committing suicide should not be thrown into a story so lightly. What I did not like though were the Plot twists. I could see all of them coming and i just wanted the book to be less predictable. I also did not understand why in a middle grade book meant for children where the protagonist is 12 yrs old, had to see what happened to her mother. What happened with Mohsin also felt very out of character for him. Chompa is a determined young girl with a magic running through her veins and fairness in her heart. But nefarious forces are conspiring against not only our headstrong hero but all the magical children they can corral, and time is running out for their survival.

More writers of colour are being added to the GCSE and A-level syllabus in England following pressure from students and campaigners. But how are these texts chosen, and what barriers remain to them being studied? This is how OCR and Pearson rose to the challenge. When Chompa sets out to prove herself to Ammi (her mother), her bravado leads to a horrendous accident. Soon, the agents of the Company take Ammi away.

City of Stolen Magic - Penguin Books UK City of Stolen Magic - Penguin Books UK

This wonderful new middle grade book imagines a spunky girl’s journey from her home in India to London. Jude is infuriated when she realises that the rare magic she has stolen to impress her criminal family is protected by a curse. Darkly humorous, with a myriad of magical twists and turns, this inventive novel is a thrilling read. A gripping and spellbinding fantasy woven together with threads of magic, secrets and colonial history . . . An incredible cast of characters and a truly multicultural Victorian London that we don't see often enough' - Rashmi Sirdeshpande, author, Dadaji's PaintbrushI thought all of the characters were well developed to be honest. Chompa is the one we get to know the best being the protagonist, but the others were still detailed enough for them to have their own personalities and be strong characters in their own rights. In general, the characters were well drawn, from Chompa (determined, feisty, undaunted) to Tipu and Laurie (Djinn speakers she meets on the way to England) to Leeza, Mohsin’s servant, to Millie, the English maid whose weakness is her sweet tooth. Although I guessed the plot twist, it is still a good one.

City of Stolen Magic | BookTrust City of Stolen Magic | BookTrust

Chompa lives with her mother in a small village in India. Her mother is teaching her to write charms and learn her Farsi, whilst sternly encouring Chompa to never use her 'finger magic'. In her afterword, historian Nazneen Ahmed Pathak says she was “profoundly influenced by…the idea that magic is still real in some places, and that words have the power to protect us from harm.” Highly recommend!

Something I did really like was the idea of a boat being controlled by a magic tree cause its roots are weaves with the timber of the boat that’s pretty cool. For this to make sense the world building was masterfully done. Even though we’re supposed to root against the antagonist from the start simply because he’s British, it takes quite a long time before he actually starts to feel like a proper antagonist. When the story shifts to Tipu’s point of view, the transition feels a bit awkward. And it also feels like the story incorporated one or two ideas too many. Less is more in this case. With more focus on fewer ideas, those core ideas would have stood out more. Now, it’s up to Chompa to find and save her mother from the British, who are trying to stamp out Indian magic.

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