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Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite
Jasmine, the heroine of Coal Queen Jasmine: And The Creatures of Underground Darkness by Makeen Liel, is an usual girl: she works in a coal mine with her father. Even though she only gets "easy" jobs, life in a coal mine is cruel and without mercy. You don't count as a human being, but only as someone who has to do a job. Jasmine is popular with all the other workers, and she tries as much as she can to also be nice to someone who usually gets ignored or bullied. But one day, the greed of the town's mayor goes too far. A terrible accident happens, and Jasmine is caught right in the middle of it. While everyone thinks she is dead, she is actually rescued by a group of little men who live underground and who are the basis for the legend about coal devils. For some reason, they believe Jasmine is some kind of of queen. But what does this mean for the lost girl? Will she ever see her own home again?
Coal Queen Jasmine by Makeen Liel is a novel I could imagine as a big screen movie. It has an interesting, fresh plot that also ties in with a topic that has been fairly recent (i.e. mine accidents and the resulting fatalities). The aspect of something lurking under a mountain has already been explored in fantasy settings, e.g. Moria in The Lord of the Rings. While the feel of this novel is more realistic, it has a certain fantasy/surreal feel to it. It does make you wonder whether there is something/someone waiting where people have once dug too deep. I feel there is potential for a follow up novel, and I'd love to see that. The author should try to get someone interested in making a movie out of this. While reading the story, it was easy for me to imagine what it could look like, and how exciting (and a little bit scary) it would be if done right! This is definitely a book I thoroughly enjoyed!