Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Mini-Review: Tombquest #2: Amulet Keepers

"A-oooooooo / mummies of London!"  Wait, that's not how the song goes?  Well, that's how it goes now that the undead are breaking out all over the city on the Thames!

But let's back up a moment.

Alex Sennefer's mom read from the forbidden Egyptian Lost Scrolls of the Book of the Dead to save his life.  Although it saves Alex's life and gives him back his health, it also opens a portal to the land of the dead, and these Very Bad Creatures called Death Walkers start waking up wherever there are mummies.  Since the British very thoroughly looted Egypt, there are mummies strewn all over the globe.  Oh goody.

In the first book, Alex and his best friend Ren defeat a Death Walker called the Stung Man using Alex's magical scarab amulet and Ren's wicked planning abilities.  They're drawn into a battle between good and evil that's much larger than two kids in New York City, and this struggle takes them to London in search of Alex's mother, who has gone missing and is feared to be in the hands of the Evil Egyptians.

I have to say that the opening sequence of this book is really, really good.  Like, if you have a fear of flying, maybe skip the first chapter.  And the author is telling the truth about customs lines at Heathrow.  They're wild.  You'll want to tear your hair out.  Ugh, Heathrow.

After an attempted kidnapping by a thug named Liam with an Extreme Accent, Ren, Alex, and Alex's cousin Luke (sent along to "sports camp" to maintain the illusion of a harmless jaunt abroad for Alex's aunt and uncle) are rescued by Dr. Aditi of the British Museum.  She tucks them away in a satellite building of the British Museum, a tall, exceedingly old house with a few Egyptian artifacts here and there.  Like a cat mummy.  And what's been happening to mummies?

I have to say, I'm not really a cat person, but Pri was pretty cute for a dead cat.

What makes this different from a lot of the other series/multimedia books out there is that the plot of Amulet Keepers is almost solely driven by an examination of Alex and Ren's friendship.  Alex is so fixated on finding his mom that he's a total jerk to his best friend and rushes into dangerous situations without so much as a second thought.  Ren sometimes feels that Alex could be right--maybe she does over analyze things--but she also won't stand for being treated as a second-rate friend just because she's not magical.  There's a lot of emphasis placed on talking things out and thinking things through, and the costs you pay when you don't do those things.  People die because you make bad decisions.  This isn't candy-coated.  These kids are in very real danger.

I am pretty sure I already guessed who the traitor is, and I can't wait to get my hands on book three and see if I'm right!  Plus, we're off to Egypt!  Hellooooo awesome times!

Great for fans of The 39 Clues, Egyptology, adventure, or books with mummified cats.

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