Book Review – The Ducktrinors ( Book 1 and Book2 of the Jihad Series)
Author – Papatia Feauxzar
Muslim fiction scene is rapidly growing compared to what it was when we were growing up, especially books catering to children, teens and young adult. Of the different genres available, this is the first time I have come across a Muslim science fiction novel for Young Adults.
SYNOPSIS OF THE STORY
The book revolves around Hanifa Ducktrinor, a brave and ambitious young girl who is on a quest to find the cave in Tarsus, Turkey which houses the Ashabul Kahf – people who will aid Jesus Aleyhi Salam and Mahdi in the fight against Gog and Magog as per Islamic scripture.
She lives in an era where the Seculars rule the world and any form of religious identification can either get the person killed or imprisoned. It gives the idea that the story is set towards the end of the times with the 21 st century being referred to as ancient.
Hanifa is the daughter of Adam and Eve Ducktrinor who has just recently shifted to Brazil due to fear of persecution. She has a brother named Malik and 2 sisters named Shaifyya and Pristine. All 4 children are named after the four madhahib. They are a regular practising Muslim family but due to the era they are living in, they have to practice their faith in secret and fear due to the risk of prosecution. They are later joined by their grandfather, Mustafa Kreddor, an ex-member of the rebellion against the Secular.
Hanifa is a new student at the Castle 5 (or The Five Skyscrapers Castle School) which is headed by Sylas Yumaneter, Secular Deputy. She forms a sub-army within Sylas’ (secular) army to take over the school and to head for her quest. She is also supported by two of her siblings Malik and Shafiyya.
PERSONAL OPINION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Without going into details and giving away the plot, this book is a detail-oriented fiction like the Harry Potter with many characters and scenes. It does not have a linear narrative but each chapter clearly identifies the character and the scene in the beginning so as to not throw the reader off the hook. It has heavy Islamic reference about scholars, stories from the Quran, the spiritual miracles mentioned in traditional history, verses from the Quran, duas usually recited in Muslim houses, the different names of Allah and so on. These references will pique the interest of the young Muslim reader to not only read and learn more about the people and incidents mentioned but also understand the beautiful history of Islamic past. Though we look at the current Islamic world as one heading away from the deen and religious values, this book (set in the future) describes the 21’st century Islamic world in an interesting way.
“The Muslim community of the twenty-first
century, like the Muslims in the apogee
times of Islam believed that modernism and Islam went hand
in hand. This generation of Muslims made significant changes
in technology, fashion, science, the food industry, daily life,
politics, you name it; they advanced many areas of this worldly
life because Islam wasn’t only about theology. In fact, it was
about living a balanced way of life. The way this generation
spread Islam was ground breaking and the first of its kind.
In the first early years of the religion, Islam had spread mainly through business, i.e. commerce. The twenty-first
century Muslims decided to use a more effective way to spread
Islam: the internet. E-Commerce flourished and so did Muslim
businesses. Muslim business owners and scholars became
globally known due to their social media presence with
hundreds to thousands to millions of followers. Several Islamic
movements sprouted in the e-Ummah and dawah efforts were
successful. Many people came to Islam as the collective Muslim
generation told their own stories that had been hijacked by
either non-Muslims who didn’t know Islam or the
Fundamentalists and the Zulmists…”
The book references many Islamic stories such as the splitting of the sea, the miracle animal buraqa, a long night journey in a short hours etc and how similar ideas are incorporated in the battle against the Seculars. It talks of innumerable technological inventions and futuristic devices such as shadow-hunter, mechanical horses, Niqabaya 1.0, Teleportation Device etc which helps the children win over the Secular and the school in the Battle of the Stadium. The book also mentions the racism against the black community.
The book keeps you on the edge – looking forward to the next chapter – though some sections like the different people in the army, different sections of the society, the entire character list at the beginning of the book etc are given more preference than it should be. Due to the graphic nature of some the battle scenes, I would recommend the book only to children above age 14 or 15. Some concepts of technological gizmo are a little hard to visualise, probably repeated readings or the later books in the series might make it easier to understand. Having grown up with the Harry Potter series and knowing the inside-out of the series, I feel the Ducktrinor series will be a similar-themed adventure series for the young Muslim adult.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Above all, the book is a proof of the author’s creativity, ingenuity and deep understanding of the religious text – to incorporate them into a story that a young adult can comprehend and understand. Reading through the book, Hanifa, Malik, Shaifyya and Pristine become a part of us and I look forward to reading more from the series and see what further adventures await them.
Papatia Feauxzar is a storyteller and an American author of West African descent living in Dallas, Texas with her son and husband. She holds a master’s degree in Accounting with a concentration in Personal Finance. After working as an accountant for a corporate firm for almost five years, Feauxzar decided to pursue Accounting from home while homeschooling her son
Kudos to the author for being a trendsetter in the world of Muslim science fiction for the young adult.
(An e-book was sent for the purpose of review)
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