The Blue Djinn of Babylon: The Second Book in the Children of the Lamp Series (Free PDF)
The Blue Djinn of Babylon: A Review of the Fantasy Novel by Philip Kerr
If you are looking for a thrilling and imaginative fantasy adventure that will take you to exotic places and introduce you to magical beings, you might want to check out The Blue Djinn of Babylon by Philip Kerr. This is the second book in the Children of the Lamp series, which follows the adventures of John and Philippa Gaunt, twelve-year-old twins who discover that they are djinn (genies) with extraordinary powers. In this book, they face their greatest challenge yet: rescuing Philippa from the clutches of the Blue Djinn, the most powerful and ruthless djinn in existence.
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What is the book about?
The Blue Djinn of Babylon is a fantasy novel that was published in 2005 by Scholastic. It is a sequel to The Akhenaten Adventure, which introduced John and Philippa Gaunt as djinn who can grant wishes, travel through space and time, and transform into animals. In this book, they learn more about their heritage and their destiny as they become involved in an international adventure involving the Blue Djinn, the supreme arbiter of all djinn. The book combines elements of mythology, history, culture, and humor to create a captivating story that appeals to young and old readers alike.
Who are the main characters?
The main characters of The Blue Djinn of Babylon are:
John Gaunt: a brave and curious djinn who loves to explore and learn new things. He is loyal to his sister and his friends, but sometimes acts impulsively and recklessly.
Philippa Gaunt: a smart and sensible djinn who likes to plan and organize things. She is kind and compassionate, but sometimes stubborn and proud.
Nimrod Godwin: a wise and eccentric djinn who is John and Philippa's uncle and mentor. He is an expert on djinn history and lore, but also has a quirky sense of humor.
Groanin: a grumpy and loyal djinn who is Nimrod's butler and bodyguard. He is a former warrior who can turn into a bear.
Layla Gaunt: a mysterious and powerful djinn who is John and Philippa's mother. She is the Blue Djinn of Babylon, but she has been hiding her identity for years.
Ayesha Godwin: a cunning and ambitious djinn who is Nimrod's niece and John and Philippa's cousin. She is jealous of their powers and wants to become the Blue Djinn herself.
Iblis Teer: a sinister and ruthless djinn who is the leader of the Ifrit, a tribe of evil djinn. He is an enemy of the Blue Djinn and wants to destroy her and her allies.
Why is the book popular among fantasy fans?
The book is popular among fantasy fans because it offers a unique and original take on the concept of djinn, which are often portrayed as either benevolent or malevolent beings who grant wishes to humans. In this book, the djinn are shown as a complex and diverse race of beings who have their own history, culture, politics, and morality. The book also explores the themes of identity, family, power, and choice, which are relevant and relatable to readers of all ages. The book also features a fast-paced and exciting plot that keeps the readers hooked and entertained.
Summary of the plot
The kidnapping of Philippa Gaunt
The book begins with John and Philippa attending a djinn conference in London, where they meet other djinn from different tribes and regions. They learn that there is a prophecy that foretells the coming of a new Blue Djinn, who will be chosen from among the twins of the Marid, the most noble and powerful tribe of djinn. John and Philippa are the only twins of the Marid in existence, so they are potential candidates for the role. However, they also learn that being the Blue Djinn comes with a great cost: losing one's emotions and free will.
During the conference, Philippa is kidnapped by a group of mysterious djinn who claim to be working for the Blue Djinn. They take her to Babylon, an ancient city in Iraq that is hidden from human eyes by a magical barrier. John, Nimrod, and Groanin follow them by using a magic carpet, but they are too late to stop them from entering the city.
The journey to Babylon
John, Nimrod, and Groanin decide to infiltrate Babylon by disguising themselves as merchants. They encounter many dangers and obstacles along the way, such as sandstorms, bandits, soldiers, and hostile djinn. They also meet some allies and friends, such as Dybbuk Sachertorte, a Jewish djinn who runs a bakery in Baghdad; Faustina Sachertorte, Dybbuk's daughter who has a crush on John; and Mr. Rakshasas, a friendly Indian djinn who helps them cross the border.
Meanwhile, Philippa is taken to the palace of the Blue Djinn, where she meets her mother Layla for the first time. She learns that Layla is the current Blue Djinn, but she has been hiding her identity for years because she fell in love with a human (Philippa's father) and gave birth to twins (Philippa and John). She also learns that Layla has chosen her to be her successor as the Blue Djinn, because she believes that Philippa has the qualities and abilities that are required for the job. Philippa is shocked and scared by this revelation, but she also feels curious and intrigued by her mother's life and legacy.
The confrontation with the Blue Djinn
John, Nimrod, and Groanin finally reach Babylon and manage to sneak into the palace. They find Philippa in a room where she is undergoing a ritual to become the Blue Djinn. They try to stop the ritual and rescue Philippa, but they are confronted by Layla, who reveals herself as the Blue Djinn. She tells them that she has been waiting for them to arrive, because she wants John to be her successor instead of Philippa. She explains that she changed her mind after seeing how John displayed more courage and initiative than Philippa during their adventures.
Layla then challenges John to a duel of wits and powers, where they have to answer riddles and perform feats of magic. If John wins, he can leave with his sister and his friends. If he loses, he has to become the Blue Djinn and serve her for eternity. John accepts the challenge, hoping to outsmart his mother and save his sister.
The escape and the resolution
The duel between John and Layla is intense and suspenseful. They both answer riddles correctly and perform impressive feats of magic. However, John manages to gain an advantage by using his knowledge of history and culture to trick Layla into making mistakes. He also uses his emotions and free will to resist Layla's attempts to manipulate him.
Analysis of the themes and messages
The power and responsibility of being a djinn
One of the main themes of The Blue Djinn of Babylon is the power and responsibility of being a djinn. The book shows how the djinn have extraordinary abilities that can be used for good or evil, depending on their choices and actions. The book also shows how the djinn have a duty to maintain the balance and order of the world, by following the rules and laws that are set by the Blue Djinn. The book explores the consequences and challenges of being a djinn, such as having to hide one's identity from humans, having to deal with enemies and rivals, and having to face difficult moral dilemmas.
The importance of family and friendship
Another theme of The Blue Djinn of Babylon is the importance of family and friendship. The book shows how John and Philippa have a strong bond as twins, who share a common destiny and support each other through thick and thin. The book also shows how they have a loving relationship with their parents, who care for them and protect them. The book also shows how they have loyal and trustworthy friends, such as Nimrod, Groanin, Dybbuk, Faustina, and Mr. Rakshasas, who help them in their quest and adventure. The book highlights how family and friendship are essential for happiness and survival.
The clash of cultures and civilizations
A third theme of The Blue Djinn of Babylon is the clash of cultures and civilizations. The book shows how John and Philippa encounter different cultures and civilizations during their journey to Babylon, such as the Jewish culture in Baghdad, the Iraqi culture in Babylon, and the ancient Mesopotamian culture in the ruins. The book also shows how they learn about the history and traditions of these cultures, as well as their conflicts and wars. The book also shows how they face prejudice and discrimination from some djinn who belong to different tribes and regions. The book illustrates how culture and civilization can be a source of diversity and richness, but also a source of misunderstanding and violence.
The role of fate and free will
A fourth theme of The Blue Djinn of Babylon is the role of fate and free will. The book shows how John and Philippa have a fate that is determined by a prophecy, which states that one of them will become the Blue Djinn. The book also shows how they have a free will that allows them to make their own decisions and shape their own destiny. The book explores the tension and balance between fate and free will, as well as the consequences and implications of both. The book questions whether fate is inevitable or changeable, and whether free will is liberating or dangerous.
Evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses
The strengths: creativity, humor, suspense, and historical references
The Blue Djinn of Babylon has many strengths that make it an enjoyable and engaging read. One of them is creativity, which is evident in the way the author invents a rich and original world of djinn, with its own rules, laws, history, culture, politics, and magic. Another strength is humor, which is present in the witty dialogue, the funny situations, and the quirky characters. A third strength is suspense, which is created by the fast-paced plot, the twists and turns, and the cliffhangers. A fourth strength is historical references, which are used to add depth and realism to the story, as well as to educate and inform the readers about different aspects of history.
The weaknesses: stereotypes, inconsistencies, and loose ends
The Blue Djinn of Babylon also has some weaknesses that make it less than perfect. One of them is stereotypes, which are used to portray some characters or groups in a simplistic or negative way. For example, some djinn are shown as greedy, violent, or evil based on their tribe or region. Another weakness is inconsistencies, which are found in some parts of the story that contradict or ignore other parts. For example, some details about the prophecy or the ritual are unclear or inconsistent. A third weakness is loose ends, which are left unresolved or unexplained at the end of the story. For example, some questions about Layla's past or Ayesha's fate are left unanswered.
A brief recap of the main points
In conclusion, The Blue Djinn of Babylon is a fantasy novel that tells the story of John and Philippa Gaunt, twin djinn who have to rescue Philippa from the Blue Djinn, their mother and the supreme arbiter of all djinn. The book is a sequel to The Akhenaten Adventure, and it is the second book in the Children of the Lamp series by Philip Kerr. The book is popular among fantasy fans because it offers a unique and original take on the concept of djinn, as well as a thrilling and imaginative adventure that explores various themes and messages. The book has many strengths, such as creativity, humor, suspense, and historical references, but it also has some weaknesses, such as stereotypes, inconsistencies, and loose ends.
A personal opinion and recommendation
Personally, I enjoyed reading The Blue Djinn of Babylon because I found it entertaining, informative, and inspiring. I liked the characters, the plot, the setting, and the style of the book. I also learned a lot about djinn, history, culture, and mythology from the book. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy, adventure, humor, and history. I think this book is suitable for readers of all ages, but especially for young readers who are looking for a fun and exciting read.
Here are some frequently asked questions about The Blue Djinn of Babylon:
Do I need to read The Akhenaten Adventure before reading The Blue Djinn of Babylon?
No, you don't need to read The Akhenaten Adventure before reading The Blue Djinn of Babylon, because the book provides enough background information and recap to understand the story. However, it might be helpful to read The Akhenaten Adventure first to get a better sense of the characters and the world of djinn.
Is The Blue Djinn of Babylon based on real history or mythology?
The Blue Djinn of Babylon is based on a mix of real history and mythology. The book uses historical facts and events to create a realistic and authentic setting for the story. For example, the book mentions the Iraq War, the Saddam Hussein regime, and the ancient Mesopotamian civilization. The book also uses mythological elements and stories to create a fantastical and imaginative world of djinn. For example, the book references the Arabian Nights, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Tower of Babel.
What are the differences between the different tribes and regions of djinn?
The different tribes and regions of djinn are based on different geographical locations and cultural backgrounds. The main tribes and regions of djinn are:
The Marid: the most noble and powerful tribe of djinn, who originate from Arabia and Persia. They are blue in color and can grant any wish.
The Jann: the most common and diverse tribe of djinn, who live in various parts of the world. They are green in color and can grant simple wishes.
The Ifrit: the most evil and violent tribe of djinn, who come from Africa and Asia. They are red in color and can cause harm and destruction.
The Ghul: the most savage and primitive tribe of djinn, who dwell in remote places. They are yellow in color and can eat humans.
The Nasnas: the most rare and mysterious tribe of djinn, who have only half a body. They are purple in color and can split into two halves.
The Shaitan: the most feared and hated tribe of djinn, who are banished from Earth. They are black in color and can possess humans.
What are the rules and laws that govern the djinn?
The rules and laws that govern the djinn are set by the Blue Djinn, who is the supreme arbiter of all djinn. Some of these rules and laws are:
The djinn must not reveal their identity or powers to humans.
The djinn must not interfere with human affairs or history.
The djinn must not harm or kill other djinn or humans.
The djinn must not use their powers for selfish or evil purposes.
The djinn must obey the commands of their masters or mistresses (if they have any).
The djinn must respect the authority and decisions of the Blue Djinn.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of being the Blue Djinn?
The benefits and drawbacks of being the Blue Djinn are:
The benefits: being the most powerful and respected djinn in the world, having access to all the knowledge and secrets of djinn, being able to maintain the balance and order of the world.
The drawbacks: losing one's emotions and free will, having to sacrifice one's personal life and happiness, having to deal with enemies and challenges, having to bear a huge responsibility and burden.