I wish I’d had these books when I was 12. I loved them now, but honestly this would have been my dream book series when I was younger. Ancient Egypt is something that has always interested me, more so since I watched The Mummy aged 9. So having a book series, with a girl (!!!) at the helm, who has more balls than Alex from The Mummy Returns and with brains that put Hermione Granger to shame – sure she was a little precocious, but I loved her. I absolutely adored her, actually and over the course of the 4 books that have been published (I’m holding out for the 5th) she grew so much and my love for her only grew too
The series follows a young girl, Theodosia Throckmorton, daughter of the curator of London’s Museum of Legends and Antiquities. But, as per most books, Theodosia is a very special little girl – she can see the curses and black magic that cling to artefacts. As the series progresses, we learn more about little Theo and her special talents but not without a bit of mayhem, of course.
While these books are technically middle grade books, there’s so much in them that a ‘grown up’ can enjoy. Theodosia could be classed as quite obnoxious (she is obnoxious, but I love her in spite of that) but there is a lot to love in the adults of this story too, and there’s a lot that would go over a younger readers head but is appreciated by an older reader. There’s a level of sarcasm and quite adult humour underlying something quite innocent (somewhat like any good children’s movie, it’s truly written for the adults!)
In book one (The Serpents of Chaos), we’re introduced to Theo and the characters that will shape the series. Much like Harry Potter, a series which this has been likened to, there is a lot of plot-dangling and foreshadowing of what’s to come. The plot itself in the first book isn’t at all flimsy in spite of it being the introductory book wherein we get a good rounding of all the primary characters (and even the background ones!). On goodreads I rated this 4/5 – but it’s closer to a 4.5!
Book 2 (The Staff of Osiris) had me cracking up. It’s full of hilarity and wit, Theo herself is quite sarcastic and, from the events of the first book has become a touch cocky. But, I love her thoughts. One of my favourite lines, and possibly a line that sums up the entire series was in this book:
“Another secret society? Honestly. Didn’t anybody belong to a good old-fashioned club anymore?”
This line had me laughing, possibly more than a 20 year old should laugh at a book aimed at 11 year olds but I digress. I think this book was ultimately the funniest of the series and I feel that was a good thing as it did get quite a bit darker in the third book. This book was again, a solid 4 on goodreads for me, but a 4.5 in actuality – just a touch short of perfect.
The Eyes of Horus – book 3 – Theo gets a bit big for her boots. She’s becoming a bit of a menace, the whole situation is getting out of hand. The actual dangers become a lot more real in this book and with Theo only knowing half of everything, she becomes a lot more reckless. A lot of characters change in this book, not drastically, but you realise why they were the way they are and you see the more real side to them. Not only is the main plot interesting, Theodosia goes through a little personal crisis in that she doubts her heritage, which is initially a little random but soon makes sense. This book was awesome. The last quarter of this book I couldn’t even stop to have a drink it had me that drawn in. Serpents and Keepers battling it out, a very unexpected hero (!!!), it was awesome. I wanted more, so naturally, as soon as I had finished this book I picked up book 4.
Book 4 – The Last Pharoh – is a bit different to the previous three in that it’s set in Egypt; against the background noise of civil unrest. The only familiar characters we have are, other than Theodosia, her mum (Henrietta) and Isis the cat. This book was amazing. By far it’s the best in the series; the foreboding in the previous book didn’t even prepare me for the plot in this. It was action packed from the outset, and the introduction of new characters was much needed. Not only that, but we have another secret society! YAY! Theodosia proves herself in this book, and we as readers learn more about her and why she is so special (we started to learn of this in book 3, but it is elaborated on quite significantly in this book), we also learn more of her family and any doubts of her heritage are quashed. I gave this book 5/5 on goodreads. It was very much deserved as it just blew the other 3 out of the water. My only complaint is the CLIFFHANGER. Goodness me, the cliffhanger. I longed for just one more chapter (but I understand why it was left where it was as it was to avoid regurgitating plots of the 4 books) – but I would have just loved the reaction of the parents to all what their daughter had been up to!
The 5th book in the series was scheduled for 2012 release – clearly that has passed quite spectacularly but I’m still holding out hope! I’m really longing for a 5th book and I only put the fourth down a few hours ago. This series is the most addictive series to read since I read Harry Potter in it’s entirety for the first time! I would seriously recommend this to anyone who loved Harry Potter (a recommendation like that isn’t something I just throw about willy-nilly). Though unfinished, I would be quite happy for it to simply be a quadrilogy however much I truly long for a 5th book to round it off. I actually feel that a new series, based sometime in the future for a more young-adult audience would be a good way to go with this character as I feel she just has so much to offer the literary world!
Ultimately, I’d give the series a very, very happy 5/5. It was amazing. For a middle-grade series I wasn’t expecting what I was given. I repeat what I said at the start, in that I wish I had had this series when I was a lot younger, it would very easily have been my favourite book series of all time (I’m happy to call it one of my favourite book series of all time anyway). I’m always on the hunt for books set in and around Ancient Egypt – it’s probably my favourite period of history to read, sadly there’s not much fiction surrounding the era itself or much that has it as a side plot (like this series). Ahhh. I could just go on and on about how wonderful this series was to read, instead I shall just encourage you to go out and read it yourself!