Rumaysa Ever After
Radiya Hafiza, illustrated by Rhaida El Touny
Macmillan Children’s Books
This is the bewitching sequel to Rumaysa: A Fairytale. Kidnapped by witch, Cordelia, when she was a baby and kept prisoner in a tower for twelve years, Rumaysa has escaped and is using the power of her purple onyx necklace to lead her to “the one most in need” hoping all the while that it will eventually take her to her long lost parents.
During her travels far and wide, she comes across a boy in need of her assistance. He introduces himself as Prince Aydin and tells her he was fighting off the Winged Beast of Bishnara. Rumaysa soon finds herself heading to the apple-themed home he shares with his sister Saira White
and discovers that the two are the stepchildren of a notorious wicked witch. She discovers much more too including that not everything or everyone is as they seem.
Now Rumaysa is plunged into another dark and magical adventure, this time with talking animals, strange beasts and a magic mirror, to help yet somebody else in desperate need.
Will she eventually make it to the home of her parents and be reunited? Happily yes, for Rumaysa is a brave, smart Asian girl, determined to be in charge of her own destiny: she’ll not let anything or anyone get in the way of achieving her goals. She certainly deserves her happily ever after. (I just hope this isn’t the last we see of her.)
Along with the fairytale elements, Radiya Hafiza has worked with a splendidly light touch, aspects of her own Muslim culture – clothes, food, colour, buildings, prayer and more, into this fantastic once upon a time tale. Adding to the impact are Rhaida El Touny’s black and white illustrations throughout the story.
It’s so good to see authors spinning stories like this that enable so many more children to see themselves as powerful female heroes.