Book Reviews, Books by Muslim Authors, Diverse Books, Middle Grade Books, Muslim Shelf Space

The Hour of the Oryx by Farah Zaman – ARC Review

Thank you to the author for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

The title of this book sounded really intriguing and I loved seeing young Muslim characters in a mystery type book.

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Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

It all began with a mysterious book. One day it was found and by night it was gone. Who stole it and why? A trail of blood is the only clue left behind.
Adam Horani, his sister Layla and their friends Zaid and Zahra, are frequent visitors at the Dar-as-Sakinah Orphanage. When they set out to investigate a shocking murder, the teenagers soon realize there’s more to the mystery than meets the eye. From the disturbing sketch of a mute boy to the chilling discovery in the underground vaults, they’re stunned at the villainy coming to light.
Determined to see that justice is served, the teenagers leave no stone unturned in their search for the truth. As the forces of evil cooks up a macabre plot, a deadly clash looms on the horizon. Will the young sleuths emerge victorious? Or are they on a collision course with disaster?
The Hour of the Oryx is the exciting third book in The Moon of Masarrah Series.

This is the third book in a series called The Moon of Masarrah however each book can be read as a standalone too. I hadn’t read the first two books when I started this and everything still made sense to me.

One of the first things I thought when I started this book was that it reminded me of the Famous Five and Secret Seven books by Enid Blyton and they were some of my favourite childhood books so I knew I would love this book too! Of course this is set in the present and is much more diverse with the main characters all being young Muslim teens.

I loved how Farah wrote the Muslim characters and wove their faith into the story and it was just…normal…the main focus of the story is the mystery they are solving but the references to Islam were wonderful to see. The teens would say lets meet up after praying, for example, just casual as if it’s the norm and my heart felt it would burst with joy! Imagine I had been able to see that in the famous five type books I loved as a kid?!

The mystery that the teens were solving was really interesting. It involved black magic and jinns and folklore which also meant it was quite dark at times too. In fact the story starts with a murder, which is what the group of friends end up deciding to solve. They meet some really great characters who help them solve the mystery. I really loved seeing how different each of the characters were yet they were all accepted and no one judged them for their weaknesses.

I loved seeing young characters who were comfortable in their faith and there was no tension of being judgemental towards each other. They were kind and compassionate and wanted to help the friends they made at the orphanage. They stood up to bullies and they even helped with the daily activities without protest from cleaning to cooking and generally helping out at the orphanage.

Each of the people they suspected was also in a position of power so it was interesting how they had to navigate around all of that and also that they couldn’t trust any of the adults. They each had their own secrets and to solve the murder they had to find out each of their secrets.

The setting was also really interesting as it was set in orphanage where children from war torn countries were living so we also get a glimpse into what it is like for those children who are often forgotten. We see how their trauma affects them and that they each react and deal with it differently. One of the young boys they meet hasn’t spoken since he was sent to the orphanage and he communicates with hand gestures and his art. A lot of important discussions around refugees and the trauma of these children was included in the book but it was never too heavy yet still heart breaking to read.

If you like mysteries and want to read something more diverse than things like famous five or Nancy Drew then I highly recommend this series. It’s fun and spooky and it will keep you hooked until the very end!

4 thoughts on “The Hour of the Oryx by Farah Zaman – ARC Review”

  1. I always enjoy a good mystery story, and I haven’t really read one with Muslim main characters before! I like the sound of how the faith is weaved into the story and how good the representation is. Lovely review x

    Liked by 1 person

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