"Amira & Hamza" Book Club: Day 4 [end]By: OwlCrate Jr
“Love is the bridge between you and everything.”
Just a reminder that this will be a SPOILER FILLED discussion for Chapters 9-14 of Amira & Hamza. Discussion questions are listed below, and anyone who participates in the comments will be entered to win a free OwlCrate Jr box per post! Make sure to get your comments in by the end of the day on Monday, November 22.
The story so far...
The cauldron crashes with a nice, soft thunk into deep, soft sand … well, that was lucky. But tensions and emotions are running high and Amira and Hamza launch into their biggest argument yet, resulting in Hamza storming off. Soon after, Amira notices the tablet is working again and informs her they are on the Island of Confusion…
She hears a loud cry coming from the bushes and finds a small Peacock/Lion/Dog-like creature—a simurgh—with an injured paw. Sensing no hostility, Amira heals the baby simurgh with water from the magical canteen. The mama simurgh soon arrives and thanks Amira (yes, she can speak English!) for her help and offers some advice: 1) they must leave the Island of Confusion as it can make one lose their mind and 2) Ifrit is very close. Unfortunately the simurgh cannot carry her baby and the siblings off the island, but she offers Amira one of her tail feathers as a thank-you. Apparently if Amira burns the feather the simurgh will hasten to her aid.
Amira then journeys off to find Hamza, they make up, and begin building a raft to get off the island.
The siblings build a raft out of palm fronds, branches, and big league chew bubble gum… hope this raft holds!! As they set sail they see an island in the distance—the island on which they will supposedly find Ifrit—but trouble quickly arises. When they are halfway to the island great currents shift and keep sending the siblings back to the Island of Confusion. Again and again and again. The tablet advises to “raise your words, not your voice” and Hamza remembers some words from a dream he had: Iftah ya Simsim! - which he then chants to the sea. A rippling whirlpool forms and shoots out a wooden shoebox, which contains a magical staff! The siblings use the staff as an oar that allows them to safely pass through the current and on to the island in the distance. The island where Ifrit is waiting ….
They arrive on Ifrit’s golden island - gold mountains, gold structures, trees, everything! The tablet tells them this is the City of Gold. But all is not as it seems, a closer look shows all this “gold” crumbles to dust when touched… it’s a fake world!
Amira and Hamza travel along through this world of fake gold until they reach Ifrit’s castle - a cross between the Taj Mahal and the Museum of Science in Chicago—and there, inside this surprisingly empty castle, they find Ifrit—enormous, terrifying, and pink! Ifrit finds it hilarious that these small, human children are the great warriors sent to defeat him and cannot stop laughing great rivers of tears! While he is distracted and blurry-eyed from his laughter, Hamza takes the sword and begins to climb a nearby minaret. Since this world is made of crumbling, fake golden dust, his aim is to chop down the level above Ifrit’s head! Amira meanwhile charges Ifrit, distracting him with her karate skills and insults. Take that! Eventually Hamza makes it to the top of the minaret and delivers a fatal blow to the crumbling tower at the same time Amira releases an arrow from her bow. The arrow lands in Ifrit’s neck as the tower crumbles into a million pieces atop of him—turning Ifrit into a pile of ash. The siblings have defeated him!
But now this world, without its creator, is crumbling into nonexistence. Lightning flashes from the sky and alights the trees, dry earth, and their raft—their only means of escape! Luckily Amira remembers the simurgh tail feather! Lighting the feather, the simurgh returns and carries the children away before the world disappears completely! Talk about a narrow escape!
They return to the Garden of Iram to great fanfare and celebration—Aasman Peri and Abdul Rahman have survived! The emperor delivers a great thank you speech to the siblings and informs them they will be forever known as Amira the Valiant and Hamza the Brave.
It is time for them to return home through the Obsidian Wall and after tearful goodbyes with Abdul Rahman, Aasman Peri, and Zendaya, they depart … with the tablet as a final parting gift.
They return to Chicago to the moment and place before they met the jinn. Off they race to return the Box of the Moon, but when Amira snaps the lid shut they hear a devastating crack! They broke it!!?? Well, not really. Apparently there was a hidden compartment on the bottom within which they discover a letter addressed to THE Amira A. Hamza, the chosen one. Within this letter they read that the Box of the Moon will only open for any of Amira A. Hamza’s descendants… so, the box was meant for them after all! With the box back in place the siblings race up to the roof to joyfully reunite with their parents. Everyone observes the super blue blood moon and Amira and Hamza are told the story of how they were named for the Amira A. Hamza Sea, a circular crack along the bottom of the moon. But wait a second, if the sea has always been there, and they were named after it, does that mean they had already saved Qaf before and that is how they knew how to save it again … whaaaat?? Time travel and fate, Amira thinks, is all very confusing and oh well, the realms were saved, the moon was saved, Earth was saved, and now it’s time to eat! Off the family go for some well deserved Italian beef and chocolate cake!
- What was your favourite part of the book?
- Of all the mythological deities and creatures we were introduced to in this story, do you have a favourite? (Mine is a tie between the simurgh and Maqbool).
- Amira and Hamza chose Italian beef and chocolate cake as their celebratory meal - what would yours be?
- There might have been a teeny tiny hint that all was not resolved - Amira saw some glowing yellow eyes in the shadows in the alleyway on their way to dinner - what do you think? What did she see? Is there room for a sequel?