The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was one of my favorite books growing up. This update of the classic may well become a favorite of young adult readers who have not experienced the original.
What’s to become of a third son with ambitions of taking over his father’s position? In the case of young Jebel Rum, his odds are not good since the executioner already has an heir and a spare who are strong contenders for the spot. But, Jebel’s a resourceful youth and he figures if he petitions the god Sabbah Eid for invincibility, he can fight his two elder brothers for the job. To do this, he’s going to have to undertake a lengthy quest–so he needs a companion and an eventual sacrifice to the god. Enter slave, Tel Hasani. As the journey continues, Jebel comes to see his companion as a person rather than a sacrifice. An interesting and possibly too heavy-handed for some sideline is naming two of the villains Bush and Blair.
The story’s enjoyable with one of the best endings I have read in a long time; however, the dialogue is heavy-handed for Shan and a few of the sidetrips took us too far away from the main mission of the story. Still, for YA readers who seek a different, satirical story, this one’s going to be a winner.