Meet Maitha BinHumaid, a ten-year-old Emirati girl living in Deira, Dubai. Growing up, she was told that her mother had died soon after her birth. After the death of her father, Maitha finds a portal to Galagolia, a new world, and learns that, all along, she had known nothing about her life and that she has inherited the throne to Galagolia. But can a ten year old really handle that responsibility? Can Maitha handle reuniting with the mother she’s never met? Why was her mother held captive in Galagolia all this time?
This book has been setting on my shelves for a while now and I never found the time to read it till now. Galagolia: The Hidden Divination is written by Dubai Abulhoul, a young Emirati writer. The book was published in 2012 and I think she was 15 at that time (not sure). Anyhow, I heard about this book on the Internet here and there and I noticed a recurring theme, which is the age of the author.
A lot of people’s attention is diverted the actual story because of the author’s age, they read it with the age in their mind. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against the writer herself but I found the story was really meh. I didn’t like the book at all. It’s impressive that a 15 years old wrote a book, but that’s not the only thing that should be involved in publishing a book.
I will start with discussing the main character, Maitha. She is ten-years-old and she is annoying and slightly abnoxious. I found her selfish and wasn’t compelling and believable as a child. I found her actions really selfish, and I believed that she might change as the story progress, but unfortunately, nothing about her changed and it was annoying because there was no character development at all and I was waiting for that.
As for the descriptions, they were too much and too weird for the book. For example, the skin covering his skull was spiky as if it was a piece dough modeled after a Goth shaped -shaped hair cut.’ What does this even mean!
Also, I couldn’t not notice some punctuation and grammar mistakes here and there, which was really annoying because before a person publish a book, it has to be edited and copy-edited. Here’s an example:
Saeed’s struggled to find a way…’
Another thing is that she decided to use the Emirati culture in her novel, which could’ve worked if she did a good job at it because throwing arabic words here and there doesn’t actually say much and doesn’t add much to the story. I was expecting way more than this. But, it didn’t click with me.
Again I am saying, I don’t have anything against the author but I think if she worked on the book more, edited it and developed it, it might be a good novel. I don’t understand why they are rushing to publish books for young people who have no writing experience at all. They should wait because a book isn’t about the age of the author; it’s about the quality of the book and the content of it. I am all about supporting the young Emirati authors, but the quality of the story matters too.
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars.