MandaBerry's Books

One person's thoughts on a whole lot of books

Tag Archives: kids fantasy

Ring of Fire: Century Book #1 by Pierdomenico Baccalario

from the back of the book

Four kids. One hotel room. And a briefcase full of mysteries.

Rome, December 29.

A mix-up with their reservations forces Harvey from New York, Mistral from Paris, and Sheng from Shanghai to share a room with the holet owner’s daughter, Elettra. Soon the four kids discover an amazing coincidence – they all have birthdays on February 29, Leap Day. That night, a strange man gives them a briefcase and asks them to take care of it until he returns. Soon afterward, the man is murdered.

The kids open the briefcase. In it they find a series of clues that takes them all over Rome, through dusty libraries and dark catacombs, in search of the elusive Ring of Fire, an ancient object so powerful that legend says even a Roman emperor couldn’t control it.

In the first book the the Century quartet, Italian author Pierdomenico Baccalario begins a mystery that will take four cities and four extraordinary kids to solve.

My Rating: 3 out of 5

Bookshelf: No

How I got it: Bought

Overall, I liked this one. It didn’t necessarily wow me, but it kept me interested enough to finish reading. While there are fantastical elements throughout the book, they weren’t numerous enough for me to call this a fantasy à la Harry Potter. First and foremost, it’s a mystery, and a decent one at that. Only once or twice did I figure out how the twist would turn out before it happened, but it wasn’t catastrophic enough to hinder my enjoyment.  While I did indeed enjoy the book, it’s not going to have a place on my bookshelf. If space wasn’t an issue I would probably keep this on my shelf, but since it is I’ll most likely post this on

I would recommend this to readers who like mysteries such as, The Mysterious Benedict Society series, the Theodosia Throckmorton series, The Name of This Book is Secret, and Tunnels. If you’ve enjoyed any of these titles, you would probably like this as well.


Review: Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R.L. Lefevers (Theodosia Throckmorton #1)

Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R.L. Lefevers (Theodosia Throckmorton #1)

from the back of the book

“Frankly, I’m not fond of surprises, as ones around here tend to be rather wicked.” For poor Theodosia, however, surprises abound. She spends most of her time at the Museum of Legends and Antiquities in London. There, all the artifacts her parents dig up around the world are put on display and studied. But what her parents can’t see – and what Theodosia can – is the curses and black magic still attached to the ancient pieces. And it’s up to Theo to keep it all under control. Quite a task for an eleven-year-old.

Then Theo’s mother brings home the Heart of Egypt – a legendary amulet belonging to an ancient tomb. Theodosia’s skills will certainly be put to the test, for the curse attached to it is so vile and so black, it threatens to bring down the entire British Empire! Theodosia will have to call upon everything she’s ever learned in order to prevent the rising chaos from destroying her country – and herself!

My Rating: 4 out of 5

Bookshelf: Yes

How I Got It: Bought

First off, I disagree with the Booklist review stating that this is “for fans of Harry Potter.” I wouldn’t exactly say that this is for fans of Harry Potter. This is more for fans of the Mysterious Benedict Society series, Harriet the Spy, or even From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Yes, ok, magic is a major part of this series, but it’s more about solving the mystery. Think Victorian-era mystery with a dash of Egyptian magic. Theodosia is a strong 11-year-old girl. She may come off as stuff and as a know-it-all at some points, but we’re also reminded that she’s just a little girl, and that she gets scared sometimes. The mystery was well paced and I wasn’t able to guess too much of the ending, which always impresses me. I want to read the next in the series to see what other kind of mysteries Theo has to try and figure out.  I would definitely recommend this to those 10, maybe 9 and up, who enjoy mysteries. The voice of the character kind of reminded me of Gail Carriger’s Alexa Tarabotti (from the Parasol Protectorate Series), but much younger and more PG friendly. If you enjoy mysteries, and Egyptian magic, definitely check this out.

Review: The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan (Kane Chronicles #1)

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan (Kane Chronicles #1)

From the inside front flap

Since his mother’s death six years ago, Carter Kane has been living out of a suitcase, traveling the globe with his father, the brilliant Egyptologist Dr. Julius Kane.  But while Carter’s been homeschooled, his younger sister, Sadie, has been living with their grandparents in London.  Sadie has just  what Carter wants – school friends and a chance at a “normal” life.  But Carter has just what Sadie longs for – time with their father.  After six years of living apart, the siblings have almost nothing in common. Until now.  On Christmas Eve, Sadie and Carter are reunited when their father brings them to the British Museum, with a promise that he’s going to “make things right.” But all does not go according to plan: Carter and Sadie watch as Julius summons a mysterious figure, who quickly banishes their father and causes a fiery explosion.

Soon Carter and Sadie discover that the gods of Ancient Egypt are waking, and the worst of them – Set – has a frightening scheme.  To save their father, they must embark on a dangerous journey – a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and its links to the House of Life, a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

My Rating:  4 out of 5, close to 3.5 though

Bookshelf: Yes

How I got it:  Bought

If you enjoyed the Percy Jackson series, you’ll probably like this series.  It’s the same type of story as the Percy Jackson series, but uses Egyptian mythology.  There’s gods, magic, action, fighting, and sibling rivalry.  I thought it was fun, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the Percy Jackson series.  The Lightning Thief was new and different, and I loved it for that.  I didn’t love this one as much because I felt like I had already read something like this before.  I realized that I hardly knew anything about Egyptian mythology, and I did enjoy that aspect of the book. If you enjoyed Percy Jackson, or if you’re interested in Egyptian mythology, you may want to take a look.