Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Eye of the Forest - Review

The Eye of the Forest is the fifth book in the Children of the Lamp series by P. B. Kerr. The Children of the Lamp is a series of books about djinn (genies) aimed at 9-12 years olds. The main characters are twins, John and Philippa Gaunt, who upon reaching puberty discover that they are djinn. Djinn are of fire, and have powers such as being able to grant wishes and being able to travel outside of their bodies.

As far as series go, the Children of the Lamp is superior to many that I have read for this age group. The characters are well developed, the situations are unique, and the plots are interesting. I do not feel that the books are stand alone reads though. This is definitely a series to read in order, and most likely, after you have read one, you will want to read more. I have not noticed any inconsistencies from book to book up to this point.

Some particularly strong points that I have noticed from an unschooling point of view is that there is no focus on school in these books. The books take place in exotic locales, and the author includes fairly well researched information about the settings. Also the children are independent and interact well with adults forming friendships with people outside a limited peer group. In general, the books have a lack of ageism with people being treated as individuals regardless of how old they may happen to be.

The Eye of the Forest takes place mainly in the Amazon rain forest. The twins along with their Uncle Nimrod and a friend are trying to stop someone (they don't know who) from discovering the "Eye of the Forest" which is a mystical doorway leading seemingly to nowhere. In order to divert disaster, they must find the eye themselves. Of course, this involves lots of adventure and use of their particular djinn capabilities. There is a side theme involving the good and evil in all of us, and another dealing with rain forest deforestation. I was pleased that the ecological story line presented a well balanced picture showing the struggles of people who do participate in industries that can lead to deforestation as well as the obvious arguments against it.

All in all, I would recommend this book to those who enjoy series with a fantasy element and a lot of adventure. These books are suitable for all ages, but please note that the evil characters tend to be truly evil and truly bad things happen to some of the characters.

No comments: