HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Walls of Babylon: Disney Prince of Persia, The Young Dastan Chronicles Book 1
Author: Catherine Hapka
Publisher: Disney Press, 2010
Related website(s): http://www.disneybooks.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 8 and up
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Hapka, Catherine. Walls of Babylon: Disney Prince of Persia, The Young Dastan Chronicles Book 1 (Published in 2010 by Disney Press, 114 Fifth Ave., New York City, NY 10011, a division of Disney Enterprises Inc.). Young Dastan, an orphan who has no home or family, lives on the streets in the Persian city of Nasaf where Sharaman is the king, perhaps around the ninth century A.D. He is being hunted by the White Huns, who are the guests of the king, because he had helped to keep the Torch of Atar, a magical talisman, away from them. So he accepts an offer from a man named Kazem, who claims to know Dastan’s friend, the Magian Vindarna, to carry a very important package to Babylon, for which he is to be paid a very large sum of money.
However, when Dastan arrives in Babylon, he finds that he is wanted for a heinous crime that he did not commit. What is going on? Whom can Dastan trust? And how will he escape? “The Young Dastan Chronicles” are based on the reluctant hero of the 2010 American action fantasy film Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which in turn is based on the video game series “Prince of Persia.” In the movie, Dastan is a mischievous petty thief, who knows the streets and rooftops of Persia better than any other street urchin but later becomes a prince. Walls of Babylon is about Dastan’s life before he became prince. It is said to be Book 1 of 3 in the Young Dastan Chronicles Series, but it is actually the second to be published.
The first, a graphic novel entitled The Chronicle of Young Dastan, usually identified as Book 0 of the series, follows the story of Dastan prior to his rise to royalty and the events in the Sands of Time film, telling how Dastan, a street urchin, becomes embroiled in the quest by the Huns to find the mystical Torch of Atar and loses his best friend Javed to the evil White Huns seeking the magic torch. Walls of Babylon picks up the story from there; it is well written and quite exciting to read. In volume two, The Search for Cyra, after Dastan escapes Babylon, he must make a journey across the Empire in order to save his old friend Cyra, the girl who assisted him and Vindarna in saving the Torch of Atar.