Reviews for Cobra King of Kathmandu

School Library Journal Reviews 2008 December

Gr 5-8--Djinnternal Mail, a Green Dervish, and an Uncouth Guru are just a few highlights of P.B. Kerr's fantasy adventure (Orchard Books, 2007), the third title in the series. When Dybbuck doesn't show up for a birthday party, 12-year-old djinn twins John and Phillpa suspect foul play. They track him down to discover a murder with clues of a talisman, a photograph, and Colonel Killiecrankie's journal, taking them to London, Nepal, and India. Reunited with Uncle Nimrod, Mr. Rakshasas, and Groanin, they are a tour de force against the Nine Cobra Cult's diabolical plan to harness djinn power for profit. This comical, incredulous, and derisive installment is heavily assisted by Ron Keith's narration and adept caricatures. Confounding interdisciplinary subplots using dentistry, microbiology, and cryptology are occasionally clever but will mostly puzzle listeners--especially when conjured symbols can only be heard and not viewed. To compare the purity of South East Indians to chick pea curries and making the villain a revolting, sniveling, giggling guru seems culturally insensitive. Guru Masamjhasara's existence is like a joke with a long punch-line executed by his spontaneous combustion from aerobic bacteria. The list of one-dimensional villains grows as Iblis and his minion re-enter the picture to be eaten by magical tigers. Up to this point, the series has been full of incisive humor and clever metaphors. This title is disappointing, even with Keith's stellar performance.--Ann Crewdson, Issaquah Library-KCLS, WA

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