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    Herodias, 2000

    When she turns twelve, the Princess is finally able to open the bottle left to her by her grandmother. The bottle contains a djin (genie) who will obey her wishes, but only her true wishes. Together, the Princess and the djin Hasan, explore the world and its ancient secrets of magic. They forge a firm friendship, yet their relationship is overlaid with the knowledge that some day, the Princess will marry. Some day, she will grow old. Yet the djin will remain forever young, forever all-powerful, yet forever enslaved.

    In THE PRINCESS OF DHAGABAD, Anna Kashina posits jealous gods who, the moment a sage learns too much, becomes too powerful, capture that sage into a djin. The djin retain their powers, yet can only use these powers as slaves--even assuming that they are able to escape the dimension of the endless desert where their spirit bottles are stored. The Princess, like Hasan before he learned too much, thirsts after knowlege. Her dreams have long been bothered by the endless desert and the temple that stands surrounded by them.

    Kashina has created a fairy-tale of a novel. Occasionally evil magicians threaten Hasan and the Princess, yet the danger is always understated. So long as the Princess allows Hasan to protect himself and her, he cannot be threatened by any magic. The greater threat comes from society's expectations. The Princess is heir to the throne of Dhagabad. She must marry and her husband will rule after her father's death. Despite her love for Hasan, he is a slave--a slave held captive by the powers of gods beyond even his strength. Kashina is a talented author who makes this fairy tale coming of age come alive.

    Three Stars

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