Saturday, April 3, 2010

Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris by R.L. LaFevers

Title: Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris
Author: R.L. LaFevers
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Paperback, 387 pages
Date Published: November 18, 2008

Description (Taken from Goodreads)
Theodosia Throckmorton is in a fix. Allowed to attend a reception given by one of the directors of her parents' museum, she stumbles across Mr. Tetley of the British Museum—in most unusual circumstances! Since Theo has last seen him in a showdown in an ancient Egyptian tomb, his reappearance could mean only one thing: the Serpents of Chaos are back. Once again Theodosia will have to take on secret societies, evil curses, and dark magic too sinister to imagine, especially if it falls into the wrong hands. Blocked at every turn, Theodosia will have to rely on her own skill and cunning—along with a little help from the most unexpected places. 
Theodosia Throckmorton, the 11 year-old daughter of the head curator of the Museum of Legends and Antiquities, is at it again in this fun, action-filled second installment. Theodosia is once again faced with squaring off with the Serpents of Chaos, a secret society bent on spreading chaos throughout the world. This time around, the Serpents of Chaos are focused on the Staff of Osiris, a mythological artifact that is said to have the power to cause instant death, as well as the ability to raise the dead. Theodosia comes to discover the staff, brings some mummies back to life, turn a statue of Anubis into a living jackal, and lose all three soon after. How will Theodosia get the staff back, clear the suspicions that her father is behind the mummy thefts, and manage to deal with several secret societies while attempting to save the world…again?

Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris is just as entertaining, and even more action-packed, than the first one. It is a fun adventure that will have the reader snooping along with Theodosia as she trails secret societies and attempts to escape her Grandmother’s attempts at making her into a proper young lady. Theodosia longs to assists her parents at the museum and when her father asks her to catalog the items in the basement, she is more than a little apprehensive. Theodosia discovers the Staff of Osiris down in the catacombs of the Museum of Legends and Antiquities and after she accidentally activates it, all of London is plagued with wandering mummies that are drawn to the staff. After the staff is stolen, Theodosia is tasked with locating it and stopping the Serpents of Chaos from using it to start a war. At the same time, she must deal with governess after governess, as well as the discovery of yet another secret society that wants to worship her because they think she is the reincarnation of the goddess Isis.

Throughout the story, Theodosia must use her wits, her knowledge about Egyptian history and artifacts, and her extensive knowledge about ancient magic to put a stop to the chaos that looms over London. Her suspicions about Clive Fagenbush linger, but the arrival of new First Assistant Curator, Vicary Weems, gives her a new opponent in the museum. The mummies that are raised by the staff began wandering to the museum, that is, until the staff is stolen. Theodosia’s father is accused of stealing all the mummies, so while Theodosia must deal with the crisis at hand; she must also find a way to clear her father’s name. On top of all of her other problems, Theodosia finds that her friend, and former pickpocket, Sticky Will, has been acting more than a little strange. He is moody and secretive and Theodosia can only believe the worst.

Once again, R.L. LaFevers does a wonderful job of creating an intelligent and enjoyable adventure for Theodosia. The action is non-stop and the Egyptian history is dispersed so well throughout the novel that the reader will be yearning for more. The red herrings had me going for a while and there were a few characters that surprised me in the end. All that being said, it is more than a little unrealistic for an 11 year-old to hold both the necessary intelligence, bravery, and piece of mind to be able to get through these life and death situations. Theodosia's loving, but oblivious parents can also be very frustrating and could easily be up for the worst parents of the year award. They love their daughter, but it feels like she is just their duty. They had a child (two actually, since Theo has a younger brother as well) and now they have to fit her into their lives somehow. Still, it is refreshing to have such a strong-willed, intelligent young heroine who is able to go on the kinds of adventures that used to be reserved for the boys. I look forward to seeing what else Theodosia has up her sleeve (or in her sarcophagus).

Opening line: The lace on my party frock itched horribly. ~ pg. 1

Favorite line: “Why does any man turn bad? Greed, sorrow, bitterness. A combination of the three? We will likely never know.” ~ pg. 382
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.


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