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Book Review: Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R.L. Lafevers

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In R.L. Lafevers' Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos, the title character lives in the museum of Legends and Antiquities in London with her father, while her mother is away on archaeological digs in Egypt. She is a girl of unusual talents: she can detect black magic and curses emanating from ancient Egyptian artifacts. The trouble is, she’s the only one who can see them, and it is up to her to remove the magic and curses before anyone gets hurt.

When her mother returns from the latest trip to Egypt, with the renowned amulet Heart of Egypt, Theodosia finds herself thrust into the midst of danger. With the help of a secret society — The Brotherhood of the Chosen Keepers — Theodosia embarks on her most exciting and treacherous journey: to return the Heart of Egypt to its rightful home in an ancient tomb in Egypt, before the curse on it destroys all of Britain.

Hardly ever do I read a book based on its physical appeal, but this book is the exception to the rule. The cover shows a girl, presumably Theodosia, holding an old fashioned lantern, being followed by a black cat. The cover art had me so intrigued that I had to read it. Of course the title was catchy as well. When the book is flipped over there is a picture of a sarcophagus propped open with a stick, while a lantern, a pair of shoes, and a black cat are sitting outside it. This piqued my curiosity even more so I read the book. I was not disappointed.

Theodosia is an incredibly fast-paced novel, with plenty of adventure and intrigue. After discovering that the Heart of Egypt has been stolen from her mother, Theodosia, with the help of her brother and a street urchin named Sticky Will, follows the man she believes has stolen it. When they witness the man being coshed on the head they find themselves in the thick of a plot larger and more dangerous than they ever dreamed.

Much like Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator, this book stars an 11-year-old who is extremely clever, yet is seeking a connection with the people close to her. Theodosia’s problem is that she feels that her parents don’t pay attention to her. It is clear, when her mother returns from a dig in Egypt, that her parents don’t have time for her as they brush away her attempts at conversation. And, like Gilda Joyce, Theodosia does find the connection she seeks.

This book, told in first person, takes place in 1906. It begins with Theodosia saying: “I don’t trust Clive Fagenbush. How can you trust a person who has eyebrows as thick and black as hairbrushes and smells of boiled cabbage and pickled onions? Besides, I’m beginning to suspect he’s up to something. What’s worse, I think he suspects I’m up to something. Which I usually am.” Read Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R.L. Lafevers, to find out what, exactly, Theodosia is up to.

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About Kate McCarthy Bond