So unexpected in a good way!
Rebels of the Kasbah is book one in a series by Joe O’Neill. Jam packed with page turning adventure and characters you can get excited about, this is one you will want to share with any young readers you have dashing about. Toted as a YA novel (and it is), this one offers a well written story, with loads of swashbuckling (yes swashbuckling) adventure, desert mystery and strong characters with good values that draw you into the novel as their story comes to life. If you’ve ever spent a summer afternoon as a kid playing pirates in the back yard with your friends, then this one is going to grab your interest. It truly appeals to the young boy in all of us guys, and for sure to the tomboy in all of the ladies. This is the story of four young people all from very different backgrounds, from orphan to well to do Brit, who are kidnapped and forced into slavery at the hands of the evil Caid, ruler of the Kasbah. Set in Morocco 1912, the story centers on our four brave heroes, Tariq, Aseem, Margaret and Fez, who decide to go after their freedom and plot their escape from the Kasbah.
This one offers a well rounded out cast of characters to compliment our four young heroes, including a pirate with a heart, a British colonel, trying to come to grips with unpleasant discoveries, a young woman who fiercely protects those around her, and even the wicked Caid, who rules the Kasbah with an iron hand. O’Neill does a top notch job of bringing 1912 Morocco to life in this adventure, and builds a story which while it works totally as a stand alone novel, also leaves the reader with a hunger for the second book. The beauty in this is that it wraps up the main story elements, but leaves enough openings to roll into the second in the series.
For all you parents out there, the other upside to this book, is its one that you’d encourage your kid to read. It reminds one of the classics like Treasure Island, Oliver Twist, and Aladdin while written in a language suitable for young readers of today. It captures interest because it seems so rare to find books that tell an incredibly good story, and highlight young people with morals, values and ethics, who while they struggle with obstacles in their path to freedom, do so with loyalty, strength of character and by working together toward a common goal. Yup its one of those books that you hope your son or daughter would read and find heroes among its pages….and who couldn’t use a well written hero or two?
Rating: Well I’m going to skip a rating on this, only because I’m going to strongly encourage you to read this regardless of age! Why? Because its an amazing story, with lots to ignite and keep your imagination throughout.
It has left me asking a question however…
Why can’t Hollywood, find a Joe O’Neill and set him to work? For me, I’d far sooner spend my 9.99$ movie money on a big screen version of this awesome gem of a book, then another re-branding of a strong man in tights! Just sayin! 😉
Ok…so go read it already..and then come back to tell me your thoughts!
Joe O’Neill has a bachelors degree in International Business from Washington State University with a major in creative writing. He is the founder and CEO of Waquis, and travels frequently to Southern Asia. It was on a trip to Sri Lanka that O’Neill got the idea to write this novel and he says it was a story waiting to be told.