Wondrous Journeys In Strange Lands

Paperback, 224 pages

English language

Published Aug. 31, 2020 by Interlink.

3 stars (3 reviews)

Award-winning historical fantasy and literary folktale. Winner of the presigious Etisalat award.

In a tent at the foot of a mountain in Palestine, hundreds of years ago, our storyteller and her twin sister are born. Her newlywed parents name her Qamr (Moon) and her sister Shams (Sun). Their small caravan is journeying from the mother's city back to the father's remote ancestral village atop the mountain.

This village suffers from isolation and a curse, which her young family tries to undo. But when both her parents' lives are cut short, Qamr and her sister are left orphans. And so, Qamr decides to pursue her mother's and father's dreams of discovering the world--its people and places, ideas and stories. With the red book in hand that brought her parents together, she sets out on a daring journey, on caravans and ships, across empires.

Telling stories to survive, Qamr crosses deserts and …

1 edition

Wondrous Journeys in Strange Lands

3 stars

This is a belated #SFFBookClub read for me, as I finally was able to get my library's only copy of this book.

Wondrous Journeys in Strange Lands reads like a set of short stories in a travelogue, where each chapter in this book felt like its own self-contained adventure. Most loose ends for each story get (almost too) neatly tied off before the next, and Qamar felt to me emotionally as almost a different character each time around. All of this together made the book feel a little shallow to me, as most of what I got out of it thematically was just a desire for travel.

The in-world "Wondrous Journeys in Strange Lands" book connects both Qamar's parents as well as Qamar with other characters, especially given that we find out that there's only a half-dozen copies of it made, but it felt underused. By the end, it seemed …

Interesting but sort of unsatisfying

3 stars

This is a set of stories-within-a-story, which are their best are very entertaining and vivid. But as another #SFFBookClub mentioned, I think it would have worked a lot better as a series of separate stories. In trying to pull it all together as one person's adventures, Nimr ended up making a lot of the dramas resolve too quickly and neatly to maintain interest, and the ending manages to be simultaneously too neat and unresolved.

Wondrous Journeys in Strange Lands

3 stars

I enjoyed the setting, and some of the substories were compelling, but as a whole it was too rambling and incohesive for me.

I feel like it would have worked better as a series of stories about different people from the same village or whatever instead of repeatedly being like "despite being in the middle of this incredibly urgent life crisis, the main character decides to spend six months teaching an older woman to fold laundry" or "despite having a very bad outcome two chapters ago, the main character decides to engage in exactly the same dangerous behavior with no additional precautions"



  • Historical fantasy
  • Literary folktale