The Secret of Ka Paperback – Nov 15 2011
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* The author ably juggles this central plot, creepy and elegant descriptions of the djinn, and even some juicy family drama to create a freewheeling, suspenseful action novel. Readers who recognize Pike as a key name in teen horror may be initially surprised by this subtly frightening adventure story, but there are still enough gross details mixed in to please even his hardcore fans." - Bulletin, starred review
"Pike's work is about action and twists, both of which are packed into the narrative." - Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
CHRISTOPHER PIKE is a bestselling and popular author of over forty teen thrillers, such as the Remember Me and Chain Letter series. He is also the author of the Alosha Trilogy and Thirst No. 1 , a New York Times bestseller.
Top Customer Reviews
I had a major problem at first with the main character, Sara. She was very self-centered and mean, but by the end of the story she had matured. I decided that she would be someone I would like to be friends with. The same thing happened with Amesh, Sara's love interest.
Sara meets Amesh in Turkey, where her father is working. She is there for the summer and is very bored. She accidentally runs into Amesh, who works at the same place as her father.
She discovers an old carpet while there and absconds with it with Amesh's help. They find out that the carpet is magical and is a flying carpet. The carpet takes them to an island where there are djinn. The djinn are not the genies that we are familiar with. They want us to make three wishes so they can make us their slaves. They are mean and tricky. Amesh chooses to make two wishes, and Sara needs to save him from making that third one.
The writing is very good with a lot of plot twists. Again, the character development is outstanding. There are some cultural and geographical mistakes, but that can be overlooked considering it is a fantasy. I believe that many teens will enjoy this book and its sequels.
Reviewed by: Marta Morrison
I don't know too many books with genies and magic carpets so the first thing that came to mind was Aladdin because that's the only story I know with genies and magic carpets.
In the beginning Sara seemed very spoiled to me and she always has to have it her way. Both she and Amesh have so many arguments about the carpet and she says that they will share it 50/50 but she still feels more entitled to it than he does. At first I understood why Amesh might be so insistent on finding a Djinn (genie) and making a wish. He's from an impoverished family and maybe making that one wish will help improve his family situation. But as I kept reading it became clear that he's overly obsessed with it and that he might have other motives for wanting a Djinn so bad.
I'm seeing this more and more in books now where the two main characters hardly know each other and have just met but suddenly they realize they're falling in love. With Sara and Amesh, they've just met that very day and spend most of their time arguing with each other. But then when Amesh gets in trouble, steals the carpet and leaves her stranded on an isolated island; she's still worried about him and missing him.
I enjoyed reading about the mythology and the world of the Djinn and as the story gets going, it gets exciting with lots of action. It kept me guessing and once the Djinn got involved you don't know what they might do because they have an agenda of their own too.
Believe it or not this is the fist book I've read by Christopher Pike. I know he's written a lot of other series so I'm looking forward to picking those up too.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Okay, page 1. Istanbul is NOT THE CAPITAL OF TURKEY (Ankara is!)
Page 2. TURKEY IS NOT AN ARABIC COUNTRY! Turks are not Arabs the same way Japanese people aren't Chinese! It's two completely different cultures and ethnic identities!
STILL ON PAGE 2. It is not a crime in Turkey to say the word "hell." (And how would people who speak Turkish know that the english word 'hell' means what it means anyways? it sounds almost like 'hello.' Also, Turkish people do not wear TURBANS.
Page 3. TURKEY IS NOT PALESTINE. There are no bloody wars being fought outside of the Hilton every night!
Page 4. The vast majority of Turkey's population DOES NOT HAVE CURLY HAIR. They have straight hair.
Page 13. "Grandfather" in Turkish is DEDE not PAPI. Mira is NOT a Turkish name.
Page 14. THERE ARE NO DESERTS IN ISTANBUL. It is completely 100% impossible to take a taxicab in Istanbul(in any direction) and arrive at a desert! It simply DOES NOT EXIST.
Page 17. There is no such thing as male/female segregation while eating lunch in Turkey. Both genders eat together, the same thing applies at a work cafeteria, there is no such thing as separate cafeterias for males and females.
Page 23. Spielo is not a Turkish name (I have not seen one Turkish name in this book so far except Amesh's last name Demir.)
Page 24. TURKISH WOMEN DO NOT WEAR VEILS. Some people (especially old ladies) might wear headscarves but nobody wears a VEIL. It would be completely frowned upon.
Okay, I'm not doing the whole book, it's too annoying. Christopher Pike (and his alternate ego "Michael Brite", who is representing himself very poorly below in my comments section) should be ashamed of themselves. This is the most ignorant garbage about Turkish culture I have had the displeasure to read. It really bothers me that people are reading this thing and probably trusting Pike and believing all the cultural inaccuracies he put in the book.
Shame on you Christopher Pike! I wish I could put you in a box and mail you to that imaginary Turkey in your head so that the veil and turban wearing Arabs with Indian names can *tell you how disappointed in you they are as well**.
(**I'm not one for backtracking so in all honestly I put "and CUT OFF YOUR HANDS" here originally but Pike's editor felt threatened that the imaginary characters might actually cut off his boss's hands.)
I would recommend Pike hire more capable and professional help in the future. For example, hiring a REAL editor as opposed to an IMAGINARY FRIEND named Michael might be a good start.
Unfortunately, I found myself disappointed in this. But I think my disappointment stems more from the book being mis-categorized than with the story itself. This really didn't have the sophistication that I remember from the thrillers he wrote in the 80s and 90s. I think it would be better marketed as a middle-grade book rather than a young adult book. I can see 10-13 year-olds reading this, but not 16-18 year-olds.
As far as the story goes, I don't have too many major complaints, but I don't have any major kudos either. It just left me feeling "eh". Our main characters, Sara and Amesh, really aren't that compelling. They both come off as shallow and selfish and immature, and inconsistent. And whatever spark we're supposed to feel between them just wasn't believable. To me, it seemed like Sara didn't really care about him -- liking him was just a way to get attention. I thought the mythology of the djinn was interesting, since I haven't read many (if any) books with that as a basis. Istanbul started out as an interesting locale, but he could have gone further with it. I've been to Istanbul, and this story didn't recall the feelings I hoped for. I would have loved to see more of a description of the city, with its mosques and palaces and bazaars and variety of people, and a flying carpet could have given us a really unique perspective. Instead, the story started to feel like it could have taken place anywhere. The plot gets a little out of control with its twists and turns and double-crosses, but things are mostly wrapped up at the end. I suspect there will be a sequel, at least.
"Really, back home at my school, if you took a hundred girls and asked if they'd like to get to know him better, all one hundred would have said yes. I felt kind of lucky I had him all to myself." Geesh.
Then he disappeared and there were no more Pike books. Don't know what happened. He' came back with a couple of adult books, but I didn't get the same rush from those. I wanted the old stuff.
With the release of this new YA fantasy novel, steeped in Turkish culture as it was supposed to be, I figured I'd get a reimagining of the Arabian mythology. Instead there are a lot of inaccuracies that kept bugging me, and I never quite sunk into the story. I wanted to like it more than I did. I mean, we have flying carpets in this one.
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