Amulet Keepers: TombQuest, Book 2

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
Amulet Keepers: TombQuest, Book 2 Book Poster Image
More mummified chills and thrills, this time in London.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

A basic education in Egyptology continues from Book 1, with a mummified cat as one of the characters (with mentions of the goddess Bastet) and talk of grave robbers, the Book of the Dead, the mummification process, and what's on display at the British Museum and in the Campbell Collection. In London the characters visit museums, the National Gallery, with its collection of Rembrandts, and Highgate Cemetery's Egyptian Avenue.

Positive Messages

There's a line crossed between bravery and taking action and rash behavior with some reflection on this. Plus a reminder that art is something that replenishes the soul.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Alex and Ren are a nice balance for each other. Alex acts bravely but rashly, while Ren sometimes proceeds too carefully, caught up in trying to learn as much as possible first. When Alex doesn't listen to Ren, it hurts their friendship and puts them in danger.

Violence & Scariness

A plane the main characters are on nearly crashes after blood falls from the sky. People are kidnapped and made into mummies, their souls devoured. Two scenes show characters taken; one is a person the main characters rely on. A young, unwilling apprentice helps with the mummification process, with little described. Some skirmishes with knives, horse tranquilizers, heavy suitcases, and magic amulets that blow enemies over. Characters are tied up and knocked unconscious.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Amulet Keepers is the second book in the multimedia TombQuest series. Kids who read the series (five books are planned) can go to the website and do their own tomb quests with a character they create. There also are places on the site to write fan fiction, interact with the author, and chat on the message boards. In this first sequel to the history-adventure series, kids continue to follow the story of Alex and Ren, friends off to London to find Alex's mother, whom they believe was taken by a revived ancient Egyptian cult. Yes, there are chases by mummies and talk of people kidnapped and mummified. One person the main characters rely on has her soul sucked out with a presumption that she's going to be turned into a mummy too. Fights happen with magical amulets that push people over, knives, and horse tranquilizers. People are tied up and knocked unconscious. Kids will learn a bit about Egyptology as well as the British Museum and Highgate Cemetery.

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What's the story?

Alex, Ren, and Alex's older cousin, Luke, haven't even landed in London and things already have gotten dangerous. Blood falling from the sky nearly causes their plane to crash. And when they arrive, it's not the welcoming committee they imagined. Dr. Aditi from the British Museum is late, and an imposter almost kidnaps them. It's a miracle they make it to the British Museum in one piece. Alex refuses to waste any time while looking for his mom, whom he's sure was taken by whomever has been stealing bodies around London. Though Ren would rather research what the authorities know, Alex feels as if he can't wait. The two ditch Dr. Aditi and take off for Highgate Cemetery, near where the disappearances happened. It's almost the last rash decision Alex ever makes.

Is it any good?

AMULET KEEPERS starts with a fantastic opener: a body snatched, blood rain, a near plane crash, a near kidnapping, and a quick getaway. Just like the main character, the TombQuest sequel doesn't want to stop for a minute. Alex has to find his mom, go-go-go; readers have to turn pages faster and faster. Occasionally Ren's wisdom wins out. She wants to slow down, put the pieces of the mystery together, see the Rembrandts at the National Gallery.

When the slowing down happens, readers get more time to understand Alex and Ren. Not enough, but it's a start. As the exciting series progresses, a better balance of action and character development would be welcome.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what they learned about ancient Egypt and present-day London. Do you want to visit the British Museum and Highgate Cemetery?

  • What do you think of the series so far? Are you more into the books or the interactive games and activities on the website?

  • Where do you think you'd go to fill your soul up again?

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