Revenge of Superstition Mountain: Superstition Mountain Mysteries, Book 3

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Revenge of Superstition Mountain: Superstition Mountain Mysteries, Book 3 Book Poster Image
Thoughtful, satisfying end to historical adventure series.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Both the legends and true history surrounding Superstition Mountain serve as the foundation for this series. This book also incorporates Apache tales of the Thunder God and an ill-fated Native American woman. Henry enjoys using -- and explaining -- sophisticated words he's picked up in his reading, such as "homogenous," "macabre," and "sanctified," and he references several classic books.

Positive Messages

The kids are resourceful, helping each other scare off a mountain lion, unravel mysteries, and decode clues. They learn to balance each other's wishes and needs and generally do the right thing, even when it isn't to their benefit. They wrestle with issues of privacy and respect and demonstrate how acting brave can be courageous enough.

 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Henry's especially empathetic and thoughtful. As the children's adventures focus on burial sites, he's considerate of Delilah, whose father has died. He's especially taken with the intersection of past, present, and future and what we leave behind when we die. Delilah's assertive in protecting the late Uncle Hank's privacy when the boys want to read his letters. The boys' parents are helpful and supportive when the children draw them into the action. A friend of their late great-uncle's is particularly gracious and warm to the boys.

Violence & Scariness

After hearing the Apache story of the cursed gold, Jack's terrified that he might die before he has a chance to return his gold flakes to the mine. The children are stalked by a mountain lion and injured in a harrowing flash flood. Spoiler alert: Adults try to scare and harm the kids by triggering rock slides and shooting at them.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Revenge of Superstition Mountain is the third and final book in this solid historical adventure series. The story blends history and legend for a satisfying mystery reminiscent of the Hardy Boys in tone: There's no crude language or modern snarkiness, and the kids are great role models. Much of the plot in the third book centers on grave sites and possessions left behind by deceased relatives, inspiring one of the boys to give considerable thought to the passing of generations and the mark they leave.

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What's the story?

Henry, Simon, and Jack Barker, along with friend Delilah, remain entranced by Superstition Mountain's mysteries. Lured by the stories of lost gold, they find themselves shadowed by a trio of treasure hunters. Curious questions are piling up: Did Uncle Hank leave them a secret clue? Who's the mysterious Prita with whom he exchanged letters? Is the town librarian really a woman who lived a century earlier -- and is the Barkers' cat a reincarnation of the 19th-century woman's pet? Is Jack doomed to die because he snuck some gold flakes from a cursed mine? Their quest for answers draws the children to grave sites, a ghost town, and the looming mountain, which tests their courage in surprising ways.

Is it any good?

REVENGE OF SUPERSTITION MOUNTAIN is an entertaining conclusion to this charming adventure mystery, making up for slow pacing earlier in the series. The kids return to familiar scenes from the earlier books -- the cemetery, a ghost town, and of course the mountain -- but this time the threads are pulled together nicely.

The action picks up in this final installment, with new twists and answers to long-simmering questions. But it's Henry's contemplation of the passing of generations that's likely to stick with readers. As the kids visit graves and sift through the past, Henry considers how the past influences the future and what remains behind when a life ends.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Henry's thoughts on courage, that acting brave is a way to be brave. Have you ever acted braver than you felt? 

  • Did you find the series finale a satisfying conclusion? How does this installment compare with the first two books? 

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  • Would you have read Uncle Hank's letters? Would you want your descendants to read your letters, emails, or journal? 

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