Rebels of the Lamp (Book 1), by Michael M.B. Galvin and Peter Speakman

Rebels of the Lamp, Book 1, by Michael M.B. Galvin and Peter Speakman book coverGenre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Published: 2017
Reviewer Rating: four stars
Reviewer: David L. Felts

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Parker Quarry is a 12 year-old who’s had a rough time since his father went off to prison. Not all that adept at dealing with his feelings, he’s been acting out, and has become too much of a handful for his now single working mother. Recognizing this and after his latest bout of trouble, she sends him to New Hampshire to live with his aunt and uncle and cousin Theo.

Parker is a smart ass whose favorite pastime seems to be inventing lies to make himself seem important to his peers. He regals them with fake tales about all the celebrities he met in California and clams he was sent to New Hampshire to escape the clutches of a gang that was after him.

It’s not long before Parker’s delinquent side asserts itself and he convince Theo to break into the office of a local college professor, a college where Theo’s dad works. While there, men break in and Parker grabs an unusual metal cylinder. The men happen to have guns, and also happen to not want any witnesses around, forcing Parker and Theo to make a run for it. During their escape, Parker, fiddling with the metal object, manages to twist it open, and out pops a 1,000 year-old genie (jinn) by the name of Fon-Rahm. Since Parker is the one who opened the “lamp” he now finds himself Fon-Rahm’s master.

And with the, Parker, Theo, their friend Reese, and a mysterious female professor from the college by the name of Dr. Ellison find themselves embroiled in a thousand’s year-old conflict with a group calling themselves the Path. The Path is attempting to gather up all the genie lamps, of which their are twelves, with the intent of using them to bring back the master magician Vesiroth, the creator of the genies and the world’s most powerful magician.

Like most 12 years-olds, Parker uses the powers of the genie for some selfish purposes. Turns out that the legends are only partly true; the genies can grant wishes, but the changes wrought by the wishes are impermanent, lasting only a day or two. Information about Vesiroth’s back story and how he came to create the jinns is interspersed.

The three friends, accompanied by the professor, find themselves traveling all over the world in an attempt to prevent the Path from releasing all the Jinn, restoring Vesiroth, and  and taking over the world.

The adventure proceeds at breakneck speed without much pause for breath. There are two stories here: the present day with Parker and his crew, and the past story of Vesiroth and the jinn. The two merge together well enough by the end, delivering an energetic–albeit far fetch even for YA fantasy–tale that kids (and at least this one adult) enjoyed.

My only complaint is that the kids here, as in many YA offerings, are really emotionally immature miniature adults. I don’t think this will be a problem for the target audience, as they probably wouldn’t notice, not having the same experienced perception I have. There are also a lot of machines guns, knives, and people dying, but maybe that’s par for the course now in YA fiction.

I think the average 11 – 14 or 15 years old would have a good time here. Recommended.

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