“What would you do if you held the power to help the entire world?” asks the blurb on the back of the book. And it is this question which the “The Adventures of Jules Khan” attempts to answer through its lead character Jules Khan….teenager, Muslim, human, superhero…
Set during World War II and raised as an ordinary boy “Jules, Jules Khan,” finds himself attending an assassin training school. The school itself, based in Mombasa, has a rigorous and, quite frankly, gruelling curriculum. With lessons beginning at 3.30 am and not wrapping up till gone midnight, one wonders what modern day organizations such as Ofstead would make of this. But this does not faze Jules, who attends every class with vigor and enthusiasm.
After permanently maiming the Headmaster with a broom handle following a three-hour brawl, he soon discovers that he has superpowers and actually holds the power to bring global peace…heavy. What follows is a journey of bravery, heroism and the bizarre.
Having left the school for assassins the globetrotting Jules quickly circumnavigates the world, attending Harvard University for a grand total of one day, unlocking the secrets of his family and realising his life goal is to protect a “mysterious book” which inexplicably travels from country to country from the evil National Weapons Association…intriguing.
The plot is fast paced and sometimes difficult to keep up with as Jules randomly appears in countries, encountering fleeting new characters for a matter of minutes. Similarly, the dialogue littered throughout the book could be stronger, and one can’t help but wonder if the author could have found more original ways of presenting the politeness and respectful nature of Jules than having him finish almost every sentence he speaks with the words “kind sir” or “kind lady.” Yet Deveji, the author, does successfully build suspense and leaves the reader on a real cliffhanger at the end.
The “Adventures of Jules Khan” is definitely funny. The characters all have a certain je ne sais quoi to them which does help add to the entertainment value of the book. For example, the King of the Refugees, a humble genius, at one point makes an outlandish claim that he is developing a new currency called Bits of coin (sounds suspiciously familiar) based on an algorithm from 7th Century Persia…hilarious!
Despite the sometimes bewildering nature of the book, it does bring a smile to your face. The book is trying to make a good point, that the overarching value promoted by all major religions is peace and it does champion diversity. As, the sometimes annoyingly preachy, Jules says, “God has created diversity in humans, and we need to respect and nurture this diversity to protect humanity.” We think it’s refreshing and great that someone has created a Muslim superhero who is advocating pluralism and for this, Deveji should be commended.
Would we want to hang out with Jules? Absolutely not. But do we want to find out what happens next to this teenager gifted with such spectacular powers? Absolutely.
Or as Jules would say it, “the fighting and adventures continue…”
If you would like to purchase the book yourself, check it out on amazon.