Nilay’s Wish by Riya Aarini

Nilay’s Wish by Riya Aarini
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Childrens, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Historical
Length: Short Story (104 pages)
Age Recommendation: 8+
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Eleven-year-old Nilay unexpectedly releases a novice genie named Jai on the beaches of Lake Ontario, Canada. Nilay makes his wish for the perfect red silk saree to present to his mom on her birthday; but as a newbie genie, Jai has his own spin on wish granting.

The new friends travel back in time to ancient India so that Jai may fulfill the boy’s wish in an authentic manner. Nilay and Jai experience countless adventures in India from 300 CE through 1565 CE as they follow the trail of India’s Saurashtrian silk weavers.
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Lighthearted, comical and chock full of excitement and magic, Nilay’s Wish will grip the hearts and minds of young readers. The story is thoroughly entertaining, while giving children a glimpse into historic India, especially Indian silk weaving. A handful of incredible and engaging illustrations offer a peek into the life and times of ancient India.

Creating the perfect silk saree isn’t as easy as it may seem.

Nilay was such a cheerful and enthusiastic main character. He found the good in everything he experienced while he was on this adventure. That’s not always easy to do, especially for a kid who has just been thrown into a world that is so unlike modern Canada. I got a kick out of seeing his responses to situations that honestly would have made me a little nervous at times. His positive attitude was truly delightful.

One of the questions I had when I first started reading this book had to do with why Jai decided to show Nilay so many different parts of Indian history before fulfilling his wish. Going back in time made sense, but it seemed to me like it would have been simpler to pick one historical era to visit before giving Nilay what he wanted. The explanation for why this didn’t happen felt a little weak to me. As interesting as it was to see how the main character reacted to all of the places and people he saw, I would have preferred for those scenes to happen after the purpose for them was explained better.

There was a lot of adventure packed into this tale. I enjoyed seeing how the characters reacted to all of the things that happened to them. They were surprised by so many twists and turns on their journey. Some of their experiences were funny while others were a little hair-raising at times. All of them were worth reading about, however.

I’d recommend Nilay’s Wish to readers who enjoy history, adventures, or, better yet, both!

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