Written by Melati Lum | Reviewed by Papatia Feauxzar | Published by Melby Rose Publishing
Ayesha Dean – The Istanbul Intrigue is the first young adult novel written by Melati Lum. She is an Australian, Malay, Chinese, Muslim Lawyer who has worked as a Crown Prosecutor, prosecuting serious criminal offences in the courts. Melati Lum has previously worked for the United Nations in the Hague in the prosecution of war crimes that occurred in the former Yugoslavia. She currently lives in Adelaide, Australia with her family.
In this book, Ayesha Dean is a fairly new eighteen-year-old high school graduate who is travelling to Turkey with her two friends, Sara and Jess, along with Sara’s father, Mr. Isa, and Ayesha’s uncle/legal guardian, Dave. Sara’s father and Dave are business partners attending a legal conference in Istanbul and they invited the girls with them on this trip. Ayesha Dean is your cool and hip Muslim chick who is knowledgeable in martial arts, dresses chic, and is a firm believer. Her courageous and detective sides also show from the first pages of this young adult book.
Once in Turkey, after Ayesha, Sara, and Jess freshen up a bit, they start their tour of Istanbul at the legendary Grand Bazaar. The mystery starts after hours of buying souvenirs, trying their hand at bargaining, and combing the multitude of stalls at the bazaar where they come across of an old book shop. Looking for a present for her uncle David, Ayesha spots the perfect gift in that book bazaar: an antique book of maps. The shop owner, Mehmet, is pleasant and he introduces Ayesha to his handsome son Emre; a character I want to read more of in the future series, insha Allah. Emre shows the girls around town and while they are on a sightseeing break, Ayesha takes a closer look at her uncle’s gift and realizes that it hides a mysterious note that she decides she needs to uncover with her love and keen sense of mysteries. This leads her and her friends on a path of excitement and meetings with dangerous treasure seekers.
The novel has a multitude of interesting characters and some of which make you infer that there is always more than meet the eyes with anybody, such as you have the character that judges people on appearance and you have the character whose looks make them look guilty… Overall, Ayesha Dean – The Istanbul Intrigue is very original and reminiscent of Nancy Drew’s series and mysteries. That said, the book also has roots in Ibn Arabi’s (The Greatest Shaykh) works. Melati Lum was able to create a very gripping Muslim fiction teen book with sound knowledge masha Allah. The teen in me really loved it.
Ayesha Dean – The Istanbul Intrigue is not preachy at all. It has sprinkles of Arabic words that are very common knowledge these days like the word hijab. The plot is not religion based but about clues and crime solving. I recommend it to anyone who wants to travel to Turkey without having to buy a ticket to go there. I also recommend it to your teens readers and the children in you alike. I can’t wait to read the next tome in the series insha Allah.
You can find out about Melati Lum on her website www.melatilum.com.au. Follow her on social by clicking on the following:
Papatia Feauxzar is an accountant, an avid reader and writer living in Dallas, Texas with her nuclear family. She blogs at papatia.wordpress.com. Papatia feels blessed by the Almighty to be able to work in accounting from home while she raises her young son, pens and reads stories.
Dealing with non-Muslim Friends (and Enemies): What would Ayesha Dean do?
Melati Lum looks to the example of the greatest man for building the character in her young adult Muslim fiction heroine.