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Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite
The Adventures of Jules Khan: A Teenage Muslim Superhero by Karim K Devji is an action-filled young adult fantasy with a strong spiritual thread which crosses all faiths. Set in the World War II era, it describes the coming-of-age of a superhero with fantastical powers while the theme of respecting people, regardless of religion, nationality, or culture, is emphasized throughout. Born in Europe of mixed religious and ethnic heritage, Jules is sent to a secret boarding school in Africa at the age of thirteen to learn martial arts along with spiritual and intellectual studies to prepare him to become the protector of a book that holds the secret to world peace. At eighteen, Jules heads to Harvard and is immediately pursued from one country to another by the warmongering National Weapons Association that wants the book.
In The Adventures of Jules Khan, Devji gives us a teenage superhero for our times; a spunky and faith-filled young man who is a proponent of world peace through understanding what unites us. Although Jules is a Muslim superhero, the story is engaging for teens of any faith and Devji is respectful of all traditions. Prayer and meditation are as much Jules’ weapons against evil as the impressive superpowers he possesses. There are a series of violent encounters in the story, but Jules is always a defendant, not an initiator of it. The narrative is descriptive and moves along at a good pace. The story is told in Jules’ own words and laced with his charming sense of humor. My favorite scene is when he initially gains his powers. It’s pure fantasy and utterly beautiful in construction. An entertaining and thought-provoking read. I hope we see more of Jules and more from Devji.