The Kingdom Over the Sea: The perfect spellbinding fantasy adventure for holiday reading

The Kingdom Over the Sea: The perfect spellbinding fantasy adventure for holiday reading

By Author / Illustrator

Zohra Nabi, Tom Clohosy Cole



Age range(s)



Simon & Schuster Ltd




Paperback / softback




'My own Yara, if you are reading this, then something terrible has happened, and you are on your own. To return to the city of Zehaira, you must read out the words on the back of this letter . . . Good luck, my brave girl.'

When Yara's mother passes away, she leaves behind a letter and a strange set of instructions. Yara must travel from the home she has always known to a place that is not on any map - Zehaira, a world of sorcerers, alchemists and simmering magic. But Zehaira is not the land it used to be. The practice of magic has been outlawed, the Sultan's alchemists are plotting a sinister scheme - and the answers Yara is searching for seem to be out of reach.   Yara must summon all of her courage to discover the truth about her mother's past and her own identity . . . and to find her place in this magical new world.

Read the sequel:  The City Beyond the Stars

A breathtaking adventure for fans of Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Sophie Anderson and Eva Ibbotson - perfect for intrepid young explorers age 9+!  'Enchanting, immersive and beautifully imagined. Once I'd finished, I couldn't stop dreaming of this magnificent magical world' A.F. Steadman, author of Skandar and the Unicorn Thief.  'Spellbinding storytelling - lyrical, heartfelt, and glittering with possibilities' Sophie Anderson, author of The House with Chicken Legs.  'Intricately-woven and wholly authentic.' Aisha Bushby, author of A Pocketful of Stars



12-year-old Yara Sulimayah lives in Bournemouth. When she loses her mother in a tragic accident, she is left alone and is about to go into care. Things change, however, when she finds a letter left by her mother. It contains a strange set of instructions and, when Yara follows them, she finds herself transported to the land of Zehaira. It's a place that cannot be found on a map, a land of sorcerers and alchemists.

When Yara arrives, she finds that magic has been outlawed by the Sultan and a horrific plot is in progress which will ensure that sorcerers and their powers will be ended forever. Yara travels to the Settlement, where she meets and lives with Leyla Khatoum, a sorceress who escaped Zehaira when the troubles first started. Here Yara begins to learn how to use and control the magical powers she seems to possess. When Leyla and other sorcerers are struck down by a terrible and deadly illness, it is up to Yara and her friends to find a way to defeat the alchemists and save the lives of those they love.

The Kingdom Over the Sea is a beautifully written fantasy adventure story, full of interesting and well-drawn characters. The reader is swept along from the very first page and the action never flags throughout the book. Yara is a true heroine, brave and clever. She finds herself in a completely unknown land and has to use all her initiative to survive many dangers. She is helped by Ajal, her jinn, who takes the form of a goat and helps her to make sense of her magical powers.

Layla is reluctant to help Yara at first, but agrees to teach her magic and becomes an extremely important person in Yara's life. Rafi is another of Leyla's students, and although he and Yara do not see eye to eye at first, they soon join forces and, along with a young soothsayer, Mehnoor, they journey back to Zehaira to try and rescue Ismah Parveen, the Grand High Sorceress, in the hope that she can help them to cure their sick friends. 

There are underlying themes of family and friendship running through this novel; Yara has to come to terms with the fact that she is not who she thought she was, and has to find her place in this new and perilous world she has been sent to. Rafi and Mehnoor have had difficult lives themselves, but show tremendous loyalty to Yara, putting themselves in danger to help her in her quest. Yara is a very sympathetic character, and the reader will, I am sure, be rooting for her throughout her adventure.

The novel ends on a cliffhanger; Yara's story is not yet completed and the author tells us that a second novel is awaiting us. I cannot wait to read it and to find out what destiny has in store for Yara, Rafi and Mehnoor. Highly recommended.

352 pages / Reviewed by Beverley Somerset, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 11+


The Kingdom Over the Sea is one of the most gripping, enjoyable, magical books I have read. I felt a strong emotional link with Yara as she struggles through her discoveries in unfamiliar lands and my heart both soared and sank with her. The struggle between the chemists and sorcerers feels so real and raw and you cannot help but connect with the characters in this story. It is beautifully written and wonderfully gripping.

352 pages

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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