The City Beyond the Stars -- 2nd Book in Fantasy Middle Grades Series


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The wait is almost over!! The sequel to The Kingdom Over the Sea is being released tomorrow!! The wait was worth it because The City Beyond the Stars by Zohra Nabi is full of the same magic, fun, and intrigue. This series is recommended for ages 8 to 12.

From the Publisher:

The captivating sequel to “perfect for fans of Philip Pullman and Tahereh Mafi” (Booklist) The Kingdom Over the Sea follows Yara and her friends as they change the fate of the kingdom and their magic forever.

Yara may have stopped the magical plague spreading its way through her new home, but to do so, she had to leave her mother in the hands of the sinister alchemists.

Now Yara longs to return to Zehaira and free her mother from her prison. Yet when her mother’s familiar arrives, close to death and bearing a message, Yara must put aside her plans to rescue her and instead set off with her friends to the official residence of the Grand High Sorceress, convinced it holds magic powerful enough to defeat the alchemists.

After a treacherous journey, Yara finds her mother’s house, and in it, a girl claiming to be the daughter of the Grand High Sorceress—a sister Yara didn’t know she had. Meanwhile, the alchemists are circling ever closer, and the magic that Yara’s mother was working threatens the foundations of their world.

Yara is unsure if her newfound sister can be trusted, but she is going to need all the help she can get if she wants to save their mother and take back Zehaira from the alchemists’ rule.

From Me:

This book picks up where the last one left off. Yara is with her friends in the Settlement. She is fighting with Leyla and pushing the limits of Leyla's rules. She just wants to find her mother and help her escape the prison the alchemists have her in. Yara convinces her friends to leave the Settlement and try to find her mother's house. The journey is long and dangerous. They have to be smart and negotiate with what one might call pirates. Then they find the house and in it are children including one claiming to be the daughter of the Grand High Sorceress--Yara's mother. This sister does not want to accept that Yara is her sister. All she wants is her mother back and will do anything to get her back even if it ruins Yara's plans. 

This book (and series) is fantasy with hints of the Middle East culture. There are flying carpets and hints of Arabian Nights and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. The story pulls the reader in, and the reader will want to follow Yara and her friends on the adventure. Yara seems wise beyond her years and uses this wisdom when negotiating and problem solving. Yara and her friends are brave. They face many dangers but keep on going to try to solve their kingdom's problems. Yara shows her courage and selflessness throughout the book. It is such a fun and interesting read. Magic is at the core of this kingdom but the book shares so much more. There is love and caring for others as well. The series is fun and I can see middle grade readers enjoying it.