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The Eye of the Forest: Children of the Lamp, Book 5

Review

The Eye of the Forest: Children of the Lamp, Book 5

It all starts with what should have been a routine Djinn procedure: pulling up a whirlwind to fly off to an important destination. But whirlwinds aren't behaving properly, and soon Layla (the Blue Djinn of Babylon, also mother of twins John and Philippa Gaunt) realizes that something is amiss in the atmosphere.

…some djinn have speculated that global warming might eventually affect our ability to make and control our own whirlwinds. But that was thought to be years off.

Now in order to get to Brazil to have the surgery that will restore her body (she presently is using the body of housekeeper Mrs. Trump, but this is another story), Layla must use a plane like everyone else. Everyone else means she will travel with the "mundanes," as non-djinns are called. 

While she is away, Philippa, John and their Uncle Nimrod (Layla's brother), along with his butler, Mr. Groanin, are invited to spend some time at the country home of Mr. Vodyannoy in New Haven. Philippa and Uncle Nimrod are going to have the opportunity to play in the Djinnverso tournaments, which doesn't interest John much. However, the opportunity to explore a haunted house called Nightshakes and learn more about Mr. Vodyannoy's talking boards (all connected to the spirit world) makes this trip most appealing to him. 

John finds a spirit world all right --- in fact he manages to awaken the spirit of Manco Capac, a great djinn and warlord of the Incas who is bent on getting revenge for his people. Everything from here starts moving very fast: the Peabody Museum is broken into and Inca artifacts are taken, and before you know it they are all (including Philippa's new friend, Zadie) on the way to the Amazon forests with several fascinating stops along the way. During one very important stop, they manage to obtain the head of the explorer and warrior Pizarro (only to have Groanin lose it for a frightening time). When they arrive in South America they meet their most unorthodox guide, Sicky, who is a friend of Mr. Vodyannoy. While this is all happening and unknown to them, their father is kidnapped.

Sicky was extremely tall for an Indian, with huge hands and enormous feet, and his arms, neck, and chest were covered with a variety of strange tattoos. Sicky was also remarkable for the size of his head, which was no larger than a grapefruit or, for that matter, his own fist.

Sicky turns out to be a most helpful (albeit unusual) companion. Though his head is tiny, there is nothing wrong with the way Sicky thinks or acts. He also has a rather strange but magical tattoo on his stomach, which later turns out to be most useful.

Fighting their way through the jungles, they are met with one dangerous obstacle after another: Peruvian giant centipedes (very poisonous), a giant-giant Anaconda, monster mozzies (giant mosquitoes), deadly frogs and zombie-like warriors bent on destroying them. Unknown to them, the person they would least suspect is indeed sabotaging them. That someone is trying to stop them from reaching their destination, which is a magical door called the "Eye of the Forest." Behind this door may lay the mythical Eldorado and the revelations of long-lost secrets. Searching through the forests and trying to survive also raise their awareness of the terrible threats many of the Amazon areas face. It's no wonder the whirlwinds are becoming a problem for djinns.

Readers will not want to put down THE EYE OF THE FOREST as the adventurers risk more than they should and discover more than they bargained for. Old characters from previous Children of the Lamp books (including Dybbuk) are reintroduced, and plots weave cleverly in and out. P. B. Kerr has done a masterful job of incorporating history along with some serious environmental issues into a fast-paced, fascinating story.

Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts on February 1, 2010

The Eye of the Forest: Children of the Lamp, Book 5
by P. B. Kerr

  • Publication Date: February 1, 2010
  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0439932173
  • ISBN-13: 9780439932172