The Book: The Ducktrinors (Book I & Book II) (Jihad Series)
I was eager to read this book-The Ducktrinors – a Muslim science fiction of Young Adult genre because that is a new hybrid genre to get hands on.
First things first. The Ducktrinors is the family of the central characters in the book- a seventeen-year-old girl, Hanifa Ducktrinor and her brother Malik Ducktrinor, an eighteen-year-old boy. The story unfolds through the Ducktrinor family- Dad, Mom, Grandfather and the children.
The story happens in the future when the world is running on advanced technology. The world is then divided into two- the religious sect and the irreligious sect. The religion haters are ruling the world and anyone who believes otherwise is hunted down. The Ducktrinors is one of the persecuted family who relocates to Brazil at the beginning of the story. With the strong Islamic foundation in the Ducktrinors family, Hanifa Ducktrinor along with her brother Malik Ducktrinor form an army to challenge the evil forces. The plot is how they do it and what happens next.
If you love the plots of series like Harry Potter and Hunger Games, you will love reading this.
The best thing I loved about the book is its narration.
The book is a great page turner and lures us till the end. Papatia narrates the chapters from different timelines and this leaves the reader curious until the end. The story reveals through various characters and the usage of self-talk is a win-win. The plot is very fast paced and includes so many characters and details. But telling the story through people makes it simple to follow along.
The book includes a very vast reference to the Islamic history including the Sahabas and Imams and our contemporary legends like Ibthihaj Muhammad. There are a good number of references to Quranic etiquettes, hadith and Duas and religious terminologies(for which a detailed appendix is given).
The success of a book is when the characters begin to take shape inside the reader’s head. Though there were many characters, vivid descriptions made them stand alone throughout. The Ducktrinors family is an Islamic household and the relationships between them connect us in a deep level- especially the ties between Hanifa and her grandfather.
Apart from the human characters, there are some very creative futuristic gadgets like the Mechanical Horses and Niqabaya 1.0(metaphorically mentioned as “a safe mode of transportation”) and supernatural things like Vampires that show up in the story.
The author clearly passes an Islamic perspective on various issues through the book. The book demands the youth for a purpose driven life rather than following the crowd. It asserts the importance of standing united despite our differences of any kind- religion, nation, color or creed- when fighting against evil and injustice. However, the book makes it clear that the fight or Jihad is against all kind of persecutors- including Muslim/ Jewish/Christian/atheist extremists who are not inclusive of other religions in their definition of a peaceful world.
The author weaves basic Muslim lifestyle into the story through the life of the lead characters. The references to Muslim history and heroes are add-ons that convey the message to the youth.Hanifa and Malik inspire the readers to start learning and doing something together to make the world a better place.
What I struggled with
The one thing I struggled with was regarding the usage of some present terms in the storyline. The evil forces named “Seculars” hunted the Ducktrinors and other Muslim families. It initially left a confusion in me as it felt like projecting Islam is against Secularism. As I continued reading, I found the Seculars was only a name of the anti-religious sect. Using any other straight word would not have caused this dilemma.
One of the reasons I generally don’t choose to read current Young Adult genre is the unnecessary focus on sensual aspects of characters. Though in a few places, The Ducktrinors also includes such references. The author used them to show the deteriorated moral standards of the society in future and as a teenage fantasy. Yet I felt them avoidable. And in few instances, they seemed out of context.
Another thing is that there are too many Islamic preachings in the book. I loved it while reading but felt like I couldn’t retain much of it later as the plot itself was very rich one.
DISCLAIMER: I was sent a copy of the e-book for review purposes. All the opinions expressed are only my own.
About the Author
The book is a definite proof of authors writing craftsmanship and deep knowledge. And it is an inspiration to writers to venture into this new field of Muslim YA fiction.
Papatia Feauxzar is an American author of West African descent living in Dallas.She is also a trader of Muslim merchandise including books at Fofky’s which is an Online Book and Coffee/Tea Shop to compliment Her publishing house (Djarabi Kitabs Publishing). She writes for many online platforms including AboutIslam, SISTERS, Hayati Magazine and Khadija Magazine.