Iora and the Quest of Five

4.98 out of 5


An enchanting journey!

A wild, whimsical fantasy

WOW – unforgettable tale!

by Arefa Tehsin
Cover Design by Priya Kuriyan


Find the Spirit of the Jungle!

Iora overhears sinister whispering coming from her well and is attacked by a strange creature. She knows her father is in mortal danger, but no one will listen. She sneaks out to search the enchanted Wacky Wilderness for him, but Beetle isn’t about to let her go alone. Among the jungle denizens, they encounter wild animals, hidden tribes, secretive lands, and strange and magical creatures: some friendly and some not.

After finding one of the guiding angels of the jungle, the search for her father becomes a quest to save the jungle! They only have 17 days to find the other four forest Angels and the elusive Spirit of the Jungle! But the dark forces aren’t going to sit by and let that happen…

Ages 11-15, Grades 6-9
Paperback ISBN:978-1-944644-29-1
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-944644-30-7
E-book: 978-1-944644-31-4

Kindle Version
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From Donovan’s Literary Services:

The real enchantment of this story lies not just in its action and adventure (which abound), but in its underlying ecological message about the importance of environmental preservation and the environment’s connections to human health and well-being.

Arefa Tehsin employs the fantasy quest story to its greatest advantage to bring these elements to life, exploring the animals and humans of the rainforest. Mystic premonitions and forces blend with special interests on both sides, expanding Iora’s initial focus on her personal dilemma into world-saving issues.

Young readers able to absorb not just a powerful fantasy adventure story but its underlying concepts of relationships and bigger-picture thinking will find Iora and the Quest of Five a compelling story, while libraries and teachers will want to choose and feature it for its exploration of real issues that exist under its fantasy overlay.

From The Udipur Times

Woaahh! What was that? Was it an adventure filled jungle safari or was I watching a Marvel movie?
All the youngsters out there, grab a copy of “Iora And the Quest of Five” from Amazon India, fasten your seatbelts and get on the action and adventure packed mind blowing trip with gutsy eleven year old Iora.

From The Indian Express

Tehsin uses a tested plot point to drive home the dangers of intemperate aggrandisement at the cost of nature. Apart from traits that one has come to expect of Tehsin’s work — humour, attention to detail, and a deeply-felt appreciation for nature — it also reflects the arc of her growth as a writer who can carry off diverse genres with ease.

Additional information

Weight 12 lbs
Dimensions 6 × 6 × .511 in
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Hardback, Paperback, E-Book

45 reviews for Iora and the Quest of Five

  1. 5 out of 5

    To not give up against the greatest odds, and to fight for environment are the two key themes of this super-enjoyable and fun tale. Animal Angel, Water Angel, Bird Angel are amongst the divinity in this fantasy story, at the heart of which is loving nature and wild. The thought of Homo diabolus still gives me the creeps! (The idea should not be alien, we’re living amid many forest-eating corporates/men amongst us!) Can’t wait to read the sequel.

  2. 5 out of 5

    What a breezy read! Loved Iora’s badass adventure in Wacky Wilderness. Waiting for the sequel Iora & the Realm of Legends.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Thoroughly enjoyed it. This forest based story is simple, engaging and profound. Maybe we if all lived like Iora and her fellow Twitters, earth would be happier place to live in.😊

  4. 5 out of 5

    The passion of Arefa comes through in the book. The descriptions of Iora and her adventures in the jungle are so vivid that they will transport you to the jungle and you feel you are experiencing them along with Iora ! A lovely read !! Children will love it!!

  5. 5 out of 5

    The character development and their ties to the natural world are woven into a wonderful tale of fantasy with serious undertones. The story gives light to what is threatening our environment in a way that is easy to read. Two thumbs up!

  6. 5 out of 5

    The start of the book, where a ‘non-jungle dweller’ Chinar gets lost in a rainforest during an expedition, drew me instantly into the story. For me, who is not a forest person, the world of a rainforest was utterly fascinating and the story-telling crisp. While it is a children’s book, there is enough subtext and plot to keep an adult engaged till the very end. Arefa, in her writings, shows a great sense of understanding of the wild spaces.

  7. 5 out of 5

    If you are into fantasy, this book set in a rainforest is the perfect opportunity to get lost into a jungle. The setting makes this book unique and different from ANY other fantasy that I have recently read. Even though his book is meant for young adults, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Iora’s jungle adventure, written in a simple but flowing language, runs with a poignant underlying message of protecting the nature and how, if there are no forests, it will be the end of us. A gripping and telling story!

  8. 5 out of 5

    In Iora and the Quest for Five, Arefa Tehsin transports the reader to a magical universe peopled with a host of fantastical beings while raising important issues. Young Iora, an inhabitant of Twitterland embarks on a mission to probe a threat to her father’s life and discovers a greater problem—the survival of the rainforest, under threat from dark forces.
    As this breathtaking adventure unfolds, Iora, accompanied by her friend Beetle and rival Owlus overcomes numerous obstacles and encounters all kinds of extraordinary creatures, both helpful and hostile. This book, however, is much more than a mere adventure story. With its talking trees, birds and animals who communicate in Jungly with Iora and her folk, it points us to the essential connectedness of all life forms. The blessing, “May Nature be with you,” reminds us that ultimately it is nature that sustains all of us.
    At a time when the world is reeling under the effect of climate change, this richly imagined book has immense relevance.
    Read it to experience an amazing fantasy world and unique characters, but also to ponder over our current challenges.

  9. 5 out of 5

    An amazing read! It is sure to enchant and engage the reader! Arefa has come up with another winner!

  10. 5 out of 5

    She is a wonderfully imaginative and creative writer, and I wish her all the very best.

  11. 5 out of 5

    I purchased this book for my daughter, but I ended up reading it myself, twice. As I write this review, I am tempted to read it once more.
    My daughter has probably read it ten times by now, and it is one of her favorite books to go back to.

    The characters, especially Iora and her friends are adorable and very well sketched out. The story is very unique. It is so different from what we usually read, that I had to read the first few pages again, just to be sure, I get my head around it fully and immerse myself in the story. And that’s simply because the world created by the author is unlike anything I have read.

    I would classify this as a must-read for kids of all ages, starting from age 8 probably. But adults should not miss out on this as well. Look forward to many more adventures of Iora.

  12. 5 out of 5

    The 21st-century digital universe along with all its virtues has also shifted young minds ( and souls) far from the world of nature, imagination and fantasy. It is not always an easy task to explain to the generation next the importance of conservation, and the balance of nature and the ecosystem through preaching and theoretical teaching. In Iora and the Quest for Five, Arefa Tehsin has done much more than tell a story of stunning adventure. It was so reassuring to see how effortlessly she has made the connection of all the elements of nature – trees, birds, and animals with the young readers. While the description of the rainforest, wildlife and tiny animals created a visionary delight for the readers the gripping story and theme of saving the jungle appeal to the right sensitivity for young readers.
    A great read for everyone who loves nature.

  13. 5 out of 5

    This wonderfully written book transports us into Iora’s land – a rainforest teeming with fantastic characters. Through Iora, Tehsin serves a fascinating tale introducing the reader to the incredible forest dwellers, and their relationship with each other as well as with nature – connecting them to the larger problem of existential threat to increasingly vulnerable ecosystems.

    A serious message delivered through an enjoyable read!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Once I started this book, I couldn’t put it down! Especially fascinating is the character of Baba, the orang-utan. Highly recommended for kids and all young at heart.

  15. 5 out of 5

    This is a wonderful read for young adults and middle graders, not only as an adventure cum fantasy, but also as a story that talks about conserving nature. I am an adult, and yet enjoyed the fantastical journey of Iora and her friends Owlus and Chinar. A fast paced story with a poignant message!

  16. 5 out of 5

    This is such a great read, highly recommended. Iora and the wonderful set of characters that come along take you to some fantastic adventures in the jungle. Great pick for young adults with an interest in wildlife.

  17. 5 out of 5

    This is why I love fantasy. Once in a while a world pops up that you do not want to leave. Iora’s Twitterland (and Wacky Wilderness) is one such. A fantastic high fantasy book for kids and adults alike! I absolutely LOVED it!

  18. 5 out of 5

    An armchair delight!

    I have read other books by this author, who is very versatile. This fantasy weaves environmental concerns into the story. The fast paced tale is prophetic and sensitises children and young adults towards nature and it’s destruction. If there is an inspiring fantasy, then this is one. A masterpiece!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Iora and The Quest of Five is a captivating tale set in a magical rainforest full of mesmerizing creatures. It’s not just a beautiful story but also an opportunity for children to understand the symbiotic relationship between a forest and the creatures living in it.

    Author Arefa Tehsin brings alive the characters and settings through her vivid narrative.

    This book is a page turner that will leave you enchanted and thirsting for more.

  20. 5 out of 5

    A cracker of a middle grade/YA novel, also recommended for adults. A daring and brazen tribal girl living in a rainforest undertakes an epic journey to save the much loved wilds. And in that discovers all that is magical about the jungle. A fantasy with an ecological angle is not a story you often come across. Highly recommended!

  21. 5 out of 5

    The word is WOW for this unforgettable tale! Both my sons loved the adventure story. And then I read it. The author takes you into the magical forest world with such ease, and in such simple language, that even for a non-heavy reader like me, you just can’t put the book down. Fascinating! Good read 👌🏻👌🏻

  22. 5 out of 5

    This book’s recommendation was through word of mouth. Must say words of mouth work best! It was as wild as magical as promised. A wild, whimsical fantasy, indeed.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Reading “Iora….. ” has been a treat to a reader like me, who loves adventure and mystery. The author has wonderfully kept the readers tied up, as the more you move on with the chapters, the more you get curious to find out what is next, in a way which is full of fun and thrill, at least that is what it has been for me. The novel also depicts that the Author has been so close to nature and wildlife herself. The way she has portrayed her characters and knit the threads of her imagination into a beautiful mysterious journey, is amazing!
    Overall, the book has been a delight!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Arefa Tehsin’s writing is a fabulous blend of the natural and the fantastical. The novel is lush in more ways than one. I enjoyed it immensely and will always think of Iora ,Owlus, Baba,
    and Chinar, fondly.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Enchantment, wonder, and the spirit of adventure combine seamlessly in a magical world that brings tropical rainforests come alive, as never before. Led by our determined Iora, valuable lessons are learnt about persistence, Mother Nature and the interdependence of all beings, creatures of the world. Highly recommended for the young and those young at heart 🙂👌

  26. 5 out of 5

    For a wildlife lover like me, I was more than happy to read this YA book. We do not get to read much fiction books that are based in a forest like Kipling’s Jungle Book. The author has combined rainforests facts with fiction in this fantasy, which truly brings the wild to life. She has tried to be true to the actual characteristics, tribes and lesser known legends of rainforests from across the world. I was hooked on from the first chapter of a non-jungle dweller getting lost in a forest and finished the book in 3 days. A splendid and smooth read!

  27. 5 out of 5

    What an enchanting journey into the world of forests, trees, birds, insects and animals. All from the viewpoint of a child. A magical world created for children and adults alike, the book will captivate and educate the reader. The language is rich, the characters interesting and the plot full of twists and turns. All with a message. A must read for any wildlife or nature lover and an essential book to initiate the young to the natural world.

  28. 5 out of 5

    I absolutely loved the book! The quirky characters, beautiful setting and intriguing story all make for an enjoyable read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    What worked for me: The almost invisible villain
    Favourite character: Baba!! (And Owlus takes the second best)
    Unexpected: The teaser chapter of Book 2 – Iora and the Realm of Legends. I keep hitting my e-book for the next page; but there was none!

  30. 5 out of 5

    The book begins with the author’s tribute to her father which I completely resonate with.
    Twitterland is a land of impenetrable rainforests with herons, okapis, tatzelworms, piranhas and other beautiful creatures. Arefa beads together a beautiful colourful necklace of myriad hues of the flora and fauna there. As we read about the adventures of Iora, the people that she meets on the way and her travails therewith, we almost identify with her and love her immensely. The other characters are equally lovable – Madame Flameback, Bungee Banyan, Grandpa Cockatoo, Kookaburra, Beetle Agogwe, Fisherking, Hoatzin and such many others. Arefa’s clever play of words adds a different flavor to the story.
    The jungle language is ‘jungly’ and the admonishments of Beetle Agogwe and others who care for Iora are so lovable, almost like sweet chidings. There is a plethora of references to birds (parrots, parakeets, eagles, hornbills, owls, toucans, cicadas and the list goes on…) and flowers (waterlilies, orchids and so on…).
    Not to forget the Scarfaced River, Mystic Mist, Wacky Wilderness…..
    The earthworms can almost be seen fertilizing the soil, rather ‘doing the gardening’. Then there are thornworms who bit Iora. One can almost smell the fragrance of cinnamon and other forest herbs.
    I can go on and on. Suffice to say, this is a one-of-its-kind unputdownable book. An absolute must for all personal libraries and school libraries. Hope to see more illustrations in the forthcoming books. As it is, Arefa has breathed life into the story with her magic use of words. But, pictures would immensely add to that magic. I wish some story teller reads it and enacts it for kids. It’s waiting to be on stage!!

  31. 5 out of 5

    This book will leave you enchanted! You wouldn’t want to leave the book down from the intriguing start to the perfect end. I loved it!

  32. 5 out of 5

    One of my complaints about fantasy books is that there are not many female lead characters you come across. And this is one such rare jewel. With its main protagonist Iora, a sprightly young girl who is not high on following rules, goes on a rad adventure, and sees it to the end. Another thing that makes the book stand out is its theme—to understand, love and conserve nature, for our own survival. Kids and teens will love the gripping story!

  33. 5 out of 5

    Five stars all the way for this fantasy cum mystery…replete with intriguing and well-rounded characters! My favourite was the brass-faced Owlus, Iora’s bosom foe. And of course Baba, the loveable orang-utan who chose when he had to be dumb (as in, short of hearing) and when not. I read the new edition of the book. And can’t wait to read more chronicles of Iora.
    Keep on the great work Arefa tehsin Ma’am

  34. 5 out of 5

    This is one of those memorable stories that stays with you. The descriptions are not verbose, the story flows effortlessly, the characters strike a cord with you and you do not pause to wonder if the world is real or not. A great feat by the author. I completely enjoyed the story arc and the simplicity of prose, and the quest quite grabbed me. There seems to be a sequel in the offing. Can’t wait for it!

  35. 5 out of 5

    Full of unique fantastical forest beings (not the usual elves and dwarves) this fantasy novel is a roller coaster ride! Unique in its storyline, the novel is very impressive in its world building and narration. A must read for fans of fantasy, adventure, coming of age, wildlife and nature lovers, or just those who like a breezy page turner!

  36. 5 out of 5

    A remarkably original fantasy, that addresses the question of nature destruction and shows how our survival is so closely linked to all things wild. A must read for children and young adults, and adults!

  37. 5 out of 5

    Fantastic reading companion! This captivating story is like a scent. It stays with you long after you have kept it down. Strongly recommended!

  38. 5 out of 5

    A gorgeously fascinating tale of a forest and its denizens steeped in adventure, Iora’s fantasy world will appeal to the fans of Harry Potter and Ruskin Bond alike.

  39. 5 out of 5

    If you like the wild and all things wild, you’ll love this book. Get lost in a world that’s natural and full of intriguing characters with a twist at every corner. Enjoy the ride and read it to your children. Both of you will love it.

  40. 5 out of 5

    It’s been a delight to read Iora again (I met the author in an online writers’ site a number of years ago) and follow Iora on this, her first quest. The book reminds me of “The Lord of the Rings” with the high stakes of life and death. Each character has an important and memorable role. The settings, which combine facts from the real rainforest and its legends, are magical. Friendships are strengthened, villains are thwarted, and Iora is tested and perseveres. It’s a wonderful story and I look forward to reading even more of Iora’s adventures. Submitted this to Amazon and Goodreads.

  41. 5 out of 5

    When is the sequel coming out?? Till then, May Nature be with You!

    • 0 out of 5

      We’re working on final edits now. Stay tuned!

  42. 5 out of 5

    Set in a mystical forest, this is a story of a girl who sets out to save her father and the forest she lives in. Full of fantastical characters inspired by real world legends, its an adventure that stays with you long after you have read the story. A story of courage, friendship and grit against many odds. Leaves you wanting for more. The cover of the new edition is absolutely wonderful.

  43. 5 out of 5

    Iora and the Quest of Five is a page turner fantasy novel. The forest world is so unlike other fantasy settings that it grabbed me from the word go! And kept my interest till the last page. Super fun!

  44. 5 out of 5

    Hugely entertaining and totally unputdownable! Iora and the Quest of Five is a marvelous, action-packed, jungle story with plenty of thrills and chills and a variety of talking animals representing a bewildering range of species. There are some mythological creatures as well to stir the reader’s imagination. The story is so enthralling and expansive in scope that it could be enjoyed by children as well as adults. Arefa Tehsin is a revelation. Here is a writer who possesses not only a fecund imagination but also the ability to mesmerize the reader with her superior narrative skills and expert knowledge of the plant and animal kingdoms. The novel, with its lush verdant setting, is superbly crafted and moves at a blistering pace. If you are a fan of the action/adventure genre, it will knock your socks off.

  45. 5 out of 5

    In this utterly riveting and captivating journey, the travelers ducking from dangers, deception and thrilling escapades, imbibe important lessons – trust, sacrifice, patience, unity — along the way. Some answers are always found within, as Iora learns. Simply put Iora and the Quest of Five is enchanting.
    See the entire review on my blog! on my site

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