This book had so much potential, and wasn’t bad overall, but could have been wayyyy improved.
Genre: Upper MG
Screening: birthdays, dancing at the ball, magic
When I saw that this book contained Muslim Princesses, Islamic twists (Rumaysa, Cinder Ayla, Sleeping Sara), and “Muslim” kingdoms, I was obsessed: I picked it up and was so excited to see it begin like some of my favorite princess stories: “Once upon a time…”
Rumaysa’s birth is narrated and her kidnapping by the evil witch. Her magical qualities are her singing voice, which turns anything she weaves into gold. As she sits in her tower, she comes up with a plan to get out, by weaving a long hijab that will get her all the way to the ground.
After meeting Suleiman, a boy on a flying carpet (Aladdin reference?), who gifts her a purple necklace (No idea why she just got gifted this) she escapes the witch to look for her parents. The necklace then magically transports her to Cinder Ayla.
Ayla’s story is a middle section, and starts with her birth. Her stepmother is evil and will not let her go to the Eid ball ( why is nothing Eid related mentioned at the ball?) Rumaysa spins her a golden dress/shoes and they go. There Ayla meets Harun, the prince...twist ending.
Then Rumaysa is spun by the necklace to Sleeping Sara. Sara is under a spell by an evil dark wizard and a dragon. Suleiman arrives and offers aid to Rumaysa (no haram kissing scenes) and Sleeping Sara is woken up.
I won’t spoil more, but tbh I felt like the book needed a lot more editing.
The story did a lot of telling instead of showing. The abundance of adverbs/adjectives bothered me, and the stories read un-polished.
The princesses at times seem 17 (proposed to for marriage) at times 12 (being clueless about life) and at times 8 (playing with toys).
Islamically, there is hijab, 5 daily prayers mentioned, a Eid ball, and culturally, lots of references to desi food.
The illustrations were cute and the cover gorgeous. The fun girl-power twists were funny.
I feel like the book is entertaining, and the intended age group would likely love it, especially fairy tale fans, and hope future books are better.
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