Monday, January 19, 2009

Adventures in ancient Egypt

In this second volume of the Ulysses Moore series, eleven-year-old twins Jason and Julia, accompanied by their friend Rick, continue in their search of clues to unravel the many secrets of Argo Manor. The first book ended with a bit of a cliff-hanger, which finds the children in a strange place - but when the walls around them suddenly collapse, Julia finds herself separated from the boys. She ends up back in Argo Manor, while the boys realize that they have somehow ended up in ancient Egypt.

The boys are determined to search for a map mentioned in Ulysses Moore's journal - with the complication that Oblivia Newton, villain from the first book and Ulysses Moore's nemesis, is hot on the trial of the map as well. Meanwhile, Julia must fend off Oblivia's hulking henchman, who is determined to break into Argo Manor for reasons of his own.

The adventure and time-travel aspects of this series are sure to appeal to young readers. I did find the dialog to be a bit flat, and the characters, particularly the children, are fairly interchangeable, so it was difficult to become emotionally involved with them. Oblivia is a thoroughly unpleasant woman, but is so two-dimensionally evil that she is not the most interesting of villains. The setting is evocative, however - particularly the subterranean maze of archives and the intriguing manner in which the archivists record and locate items in their collection. This series would likely be of interest to readers not quite ready for series such as Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and Snicket'Series of Unfortunate Events. For readers who are particularly interested in ancient Egypt, I'd recommend Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R.L. Lafevers.

Books in the Ulysses Moore series:
1. The Door to Time
2. The Long Lost Map
3. The House of Mirrors
4. The Isle of Masks

The Long-Lost Map (#2 in the Ulysses Moore series) by Pierdomenico Baccalario; narrated by Michael Page (Brilliance Audio, 2006)

Also reviewed at:
INFODAD.COM: "...a book that tries to accomplish little beyond entertainment, and does a nice job within its limited scope.
Shelly's Book Blog: "This story reminded me of the Indiana Jones movies because of the search for an historic relic from an ancient civilization."

3 comments:

  1. It's too bad the characters didn't have more depth, because the plot definitely sounds great!

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  2. I loved Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos! I have the second one on hold right now.

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  3. Nymeth - I agree. The plot is interesting, and I thought with the second book there would be a bit more character development. Oh, well!

    Ladytink - I have the sequel on hold now, too - I can't wait to read it!

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