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Reviewed by Sarah Scheele for Readers' Favorite
Braidy von Althuis and the Dastardly Djinn is a quirky and exciting children’s story with an inventive cast of characters. This third book in the series by author Cassidy Dwelis continues the story of young Braidy, who lives in a blended family of humans and magical creatures. Braidy’s grandmother is one of the most powerful fairies in the world. After she disappears to Europe, most of the family goes looking for her. Left at home, Braidy accidentally finds a ceramic container with a djinn trapped inside. To free the djinn, Braidy wishes for his cousin Blockhead, who was cursed so he has a wooden block for a head, to look normal again so he'll feel better after a breakup. But Blockhead doesn’t know what to do with his newfound freedom, the djinn is on the run from someone who wants to enslave him, and before he knows it Braidy is head over heels in an adventure.
This book was an enjoyable reading experience for me and kids craving a story that does a good job delivering thrills, comedy, and sympathetic characters will like it as well. Braidy was a well-characterized little boy who drew me into the story immediately and Blockhead’s portrayal was strong as he grew from shy and underconfident into someone who embraced himself even if he looked different from others. That’s an excellent message and it’s easy to take it to heart after so much action-adventure brings us close to Braidy and Blockhead so we care about them and see their journey each step of its exciting, freaky, epic-scale way. Subtle illustrations captured the characters' emotions and the backstory of European fairies and Asian djinns, who coexist but dislike each other, was developed just enough to create a feeling of mythic scope without slowing the story down. Cassidy Dwelis has great skill with action stories and Braidy von Athuis and the Dastardly Djinn brings a fun fantasy world to life.