Amira & Hamza: The War to Save the Worlds | Samira Ahmed


Out Now from Little, Brown and Company; 344 pages

Content Warnings: Use of weapons, warfare, death, brief kidnapping

About the Author: “Samira Ahmed was born in Bombay, India, and grew up in Batavia, Illinois, in a house that smelled like fried onions, spices, and potpourri. She currently resides in the Midwest. She’s lived in Vermont, New York City, and Kauai, where she spent a year searching for the perfect mango.

A graduate of the University of Chicago, she taught high school English for seven years, worked to create over 70 small high schools in New York City, and fought to secure billions of additional dollars to fairly fund public schools throughout New York State. She’s appeared in the New York Times, New York Daily News, Fox News, NBC, NY1, NPR, and on BBC Radio. Her creative non-fiction and poetry has appeared in Jaggery Lit, Entropy, the Fem, and Claudius Speaks.” (Bio taken from Goodreads profile)

Find Samira Ahmed on the following platforms:

“In the cracks of the moon, in the broken parts, I see Ifrit’s forces, clambering, fangs bared, toward our home. A swarm of ghouls blots out all the light, and Earth falls into darkness.”

Science-loving Amira has a lot of thinking to do when she is presented with a seemingly unsolvable, impossible problem. On a night of cosmic importance—a super-moon, blue moon, and blood moon all at the same time—disaster strikes leaving Amira and her little brother Hamza as the only ones left to save the world. The moon is breaking into pieces, threatening the human world, and rupturing the seal into the mystical world of Islamic legend, unleashing beings she’d only heard in the tales of her childhood. As she and Hamza enter a world full of fiery jinn armies, interdimensional travel, and magic, they have to use their wits and willpower to pass impossible tests and save everyone.

I picked up this book because the mystical beings and sarcastic humor reminded me of a classic childhood favorite series of mine: Percy Jackson and the Olympians. It reads like many middle-grade books I already know and love. However, this book definitely stands as a story of its own. The brother/sister dynamic is charming and relatable to anyone who has siblings—even though Amira and Hamza bicker over their differences, they love and protect each other fiercely. The vibrant descriptions of the characters and setting from the Garden of Eternal Spring, to the Realm of the Crystal Palace, are truly enchanting. My only issue with this book was that because there were so many fantastical characters and places, some aspects felt rushed and underdeveloped. There was just not enough time or space to form each thing fully, so they came off as a little one-dimensional. Regardless, it was still a fun and excellent read that I would recommend to anyone with an interest in science, adventure, and modern interpretations of ancient culture.

PRR Writer & Editor, Bethany Harrison