Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus: Wish I’d had this when I was a kid

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsR.L. LaFevers Theodosia and the Eyes of HorusTheodosia and the Eyes of Horus by R.L. LaFevers

I wish the THEODOSIA THROCKMORTON series had existed when I was a kid. I went through one heck of an Egyptology phase, and I don’t suppose I’ve ever left my brainy-heroine phase. My parents, though, should probably thank their lucky stars R.L. LaFevers hadn’t written these books yet. I can just imagine the mess I’d have made, trying to whip up ancient Egyptian potions in the backyard.

Theodosia is an 11-year-old girl growing up in the Edwardian era. Her parents run a museum, and since they’re rather absentminded about anything that doesn’t pertain to their work, Theodosia has more freedom than is usual for girls of that time. It’s a good thing, too, seeing as how she’s always having to save the world. You see, Theodosia has an unusual talent. She can detect curses on ancient Egyptian artifacts. And since she’s studied a lot, she knows all kinds of spells to break those curses.

Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus begins with our heroine attending an “Egyptian” magic show with her street-urchin friend Will. She’s expecting to see fakery, but instead realizes that the magician, Awi Bubu, knows much more about authentic Egyptian magic than he should. Then, while helping her parents catalog a roomful of artifacts, she and her brother find the legendary Emerald Tablet, which is purported to hold the secrets of alchemy.

Now Awi Bubu wants the tablet, and so do two secret societies: the nefarious Serpents of Chaos, and the Arcane Order of the Black Sun, whose leader believes Theodosia is a goddess but just might turn on her if she doesn’t live up to his expectations. And as if that weren’t enough to deal with, her grandmother is trying to turn her into a proper young lady.

I hadn’t read the two previous THEODOSIA books, but found that I was able to catch up with relative ease. It did take a few chapters to get the hang of which secret society had what agenda, but after that it was smooth sailing. I will definitely go back and read the first two, though, because this was a lot of fun!

Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus is filled with well-researched Egyptian lore and populated by quirky, memorable characters, starting with its resourceful heroine. Plus, it’s funny. Theodosia has a witty way of describing situations, and some of the curses are simply hilarious.

I recommend the THEODOSIA books to any middle-grader with an Egypt fascination. Girls will be particularly fond of the series due to its engaging female lead, but boys who like Egypt (or sinister villains or stinky hexes) will find plenty to enjoy here as well. Don’t forget to scratch Anubis between the ears.

Published in 2007. Theodosia Throckmorton has her hands full at the Museum of Legends and Antiquities in London. Her father may be head curator, but it is Theo—and only Theo—who is able to see all the black magic and ancient curses that still cling to the artifacts in the museum. When Theo’s mother returns from her latest archaeological dig bearing the Heart of Egypt—a legendary amulet belonging to an ancient tomb—Theo learns that it comes inscribed with a curse so black and vile that it threatens to crumble the British Empire from within and start a war too terrible to imagine. Intent on returning the malevolent artifact to its rightful place, Theo devises a daring plan to put things right. But even with the help of her younger brother, a wily street urchin, and the secret society known as the Brotherhood of the Chosen Keepers, it won’t be easy . . . she quickly finds herself pursued down dark alleys, across an ocean, through the bustling crowds of Cairo, and straight into the heart of an ancient mystery. Theo will have to call upon everything she’s ever learned in order to prevent the rising chaos from destroying her country—and herself!

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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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