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Monday, April 16, 2007

Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos

***** Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R. L. LaFevers. Y/A fantasy.

You may notice that my cover says "Theodosia Throckmorton and the Serpents of Chaos." Apparently, the title got changed. Weird.

Theodosia (her last name remains Throckmorton--it's only the book title that's been changed) is 11 years old and lives in London. The story takes place in 1906.

Theo's parents are archaeologists--her father runs a museum of antiquities while her mother is in the field. Her younger brother is away at school, something Theo's been working very hard to avoid for herself for two reasons: she feels it's a waste of her time, and she's busy enough as it is, trying to protect everyone from curses.

See, Theo can sense ancient curses on many of the artifacts in the museum, and she's developed ways of neutralizing them. And nobody else seems to realize they're there at all. With her mother and brother gone, Theo and her father spend most of their time at the museum, where he tends to lose himself in work, and she ends up spending her nights sleeping in a sarcophagus. It's safer.

When Theo's mother returns from her latest expedition, she brings the Heart of Egypt, which is seriously cursed. Theo needs to return it to Egypt, but before she can accomplish that, she teams up with her little brother and a street thief to foil evil villains, falls in with a secret society, accidentally curses her cat,... well, life is pretty hectic.

It's a wonderfully exciting story that doesn't talk down to kids, and provides quite a few situations they (or an adult who remembers being a child) can relate to. Even though Theodosia does possess a special gift, and her parents are neglectful and oblivious to the dangers she sees so clearly, the adults in this book aren't painted as bumbling idiots. Theo's parents and the adults of the secret society do their best with the information they have, and Theo knows when she needs the assistance of adults. Likewise, the children are neither completely helpless nor stupid. It's a nice balance.

Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos will be the Cherry Book Club book for the two weeks beginning June 1st.


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Very glad to see your review of this book. I've been considering it for a little while now. Love the idea, love the cover. Now I'll have to get it.
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