Why am I reviewing a young adult mystery here? Well, it’s about an ancient artifact and modern-day code breakers. How could I not want to read this??
This is my second recent review here and I hope to do more. See the end of this post for details about my review policy.
My Review Summary: This is a fun read that will keep you turning pages and have you googling Shakespeare and ancient Greek history. As a YA novel, I give it a solid 4.0/5. My full review appears later in this post.
About this book: Teens Lexi and Gil face relic-thieving secret societies. Plagued by loneliness in her Lake Erie Islands community, vegan Lexi hopes to make like-minded friends in high school. But her dad’s job is jeopardized when relics are stolen from his museum, changing her priorities. And she finds her new teachers’ eerie dislike of her troubling.
His dad in jail, cipher enthusiast and bacon-loving Gil hopes freshman year will provide a clean slate. Soon, he discovers secret codes within a Shakespearean play while paired with Lexi, pulling him into an ancient mystery.
With the official museum burglary investigation stalled, the mismatched teen sleuths join forces to try and crack the case. Lexi’s inquiries and Gil’s codes capture their teachers’ attention. But these teachers have the stolen Tripod of Peace, a powerful relic sought by rival secret societies. Caught in these societies’ crossfire as thieves wield an instrument of astounding power, Gil and Lexi are in danger.
About the author: Kalen Cap is a writer living in Ohio and regularly commutes back and forth between Columbus and Port Clinton residences. Set among the Lake Erie Islands, “The Ancient Tripod of Peace” is his second novel, first of the Teen Thief-Catcher series. His first novel, “Tangled Ties to a Manatee,” was published in 2012.
Giveaway: Kalen Cap be awarding a $40 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Learn more and register to win.
My full review: (See my summary at the start of this post.)
More than anything, this books seems like Dan Brown (The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons) for young adults. It’s full of ancient secrets hidden in plain sight and the reader is left wondering how much is true and how much has been made up to serve the plot. It’s a fun kind of confusion, and it kept me eagerly reading until the end.
What I liked best:
- The book is filled with complicated characters, both teen-age and adult. It centers on teenagers who are realistically drawn, as they deal with their own issues and those created by the adults in their lives.
- The author presents a lot of mystical and new age ideas, and yet structures the plot in way to leave the reader free to believe in as little or as much of them as the reader chooses. It’s a tough balancing act, but by the end it works.
- The overall plot is interesting and the dangers feel real. It’s not a story which tries to trick the reader with gotcha-type surprises, but rather one that builds in complexity and then reaches a satisfying resolution.
What I liked least:
- I felt the chapter titles gave away too much of what was about to happen.
- The decoded message and other parts of the mystery occasionally become too complex to follow.
- There were enough characters, referred to by first and last names, that I had to start a list so I could remember who was who.
- A few issues were resolved too easily or things came together a little too well, even for a novel in this genre.
In spite of these minor issues, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to those of all ages who like tales of hidden codes, ancient relics and resurfaced mysteries from the past.
The excerpt I liked best:
Lexi hadn’t met any vegan guys her age, only girls. “Want to join me and Anita later?”
“Sure. I’ll try it out,” Trevor agreed.
“We only have a day to find our code for this topic,” Gil said. “Let’s focus on the project. I don’t want to start out locked in with something weak.”
The three read the project description again. Lexi felt clueless. She asked the others how to begin.
Gil said the topic related well to his social science fair project the year before on secret codes in writing.
Lexi rolled her eyes. From the way Gil told it, the project was designed for him. Full of yourself maybe?
Trevor said he spent part of a summer in Greece the year before when his father ran workshops there. There, he’d learned about ancient Greek history. Lexi didn’t mind as much when Trevor made it sound like his experiences aligned with the project. Unlike Gil’s, Trevor’s voice soothed her.
Trevor and Gil both stared at her expectantly. She blushed, first believing they were checking her out. But she soon realized they wanted to hear her special connection to the project topic.
“My grandmother usually teaches history here, too. She gave the opening talk at assembly. Oh, and my granddad’s an actor. He used to be a professional and acted in lots of Shakespeare. They can give me pointers,” Lexi said. My grandparents? That’s my “in” on the project? I’m such a loser. She was determined to not be the weakest link in the group.
This review is part of a book review tour sponsored by Goddess Fish Promotions.
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If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning the $40 gift certificate.
If you are interested in a review from me:
I am interested reading science fiction of all sorts, particularly anything involving the nature of time. My protagonist in z2 is a history-loving, time-warping high school physics teacher, so I am predisposed to stories that feature physics or have an historical element as well.
I am not interested in reviewing pure romance novels, stories which promote any particular religion, children’s books, or horror of any type. Please do not ask me to review erotica, BDSM or books about vampires or zombies.
If you would like to be considered for a review contact me at Alex (dot) Zeitman (at) gmail (dot) com.
Final Note: I received a free pdf of this book, which would never be enough to entice me to write a better review for anyone.