A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Peter Lerangis' Lost in Babylon is the second book in the Seven Wonders series, which sets four 13-year-olds on adventures to find seven sources of power, each hidden in one of the Ancient Wonders of the World. In this series installment, they visit the Hanging Gardens of Babylon as they were in antiquity (through a clever time warp) and the great pyramids in Egypt as they are today. Violence continues to be about average for the fantasy-adventure genre. The teens get some bloody injuries and burns from fantasy creatures, are kidnapped, and fight against enemies with spears, dart guns and modern guns, and throwing knives. It gets a little gruesome when a man is speared and picked apart by birds and another is stoned and thrown to the crocodiles (neither event is described in detail). The same talented kids are brave and resourceful and work well together to survive but also encounter a major betrayal. All of them need special treatments to stay alive, thanks to the genetic defect that marks them as both gifted and as descendants of Atlantis.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
Jack, Aly, Cass, and Marco, gifted descendants of the original inhabitants of Atlantis and carriers of a rare genetic defect, are running out of time to save themselves. The treatments from the scientists at the secretive Karai Institute help keep them alive, but they must keep finding special power sources called the Loculi hidden at the seven Ancient Wonders of the World for the ultimate cure. After a narrow escape from a reincarnated Colossus of Rhodes in Book 1, they're headed for the fertile crescent -- Iraq -- the original site of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Thanks to a strange underwater time warp, the foursome can visit more than the ruins. They don tunics and sandals and -- splash! -- they're at the court of the Babylonian king. Too bad he's not offering guided tours of the Hanging Gardens anymore; no one's allowed in. After much sneaking around and some serious bargaining to get in the king's good graces -- sure, Marco can kill that huge, scary monster for you! -- they think they're getting closer to their goal. But then come the booby traps, and the crazy spitting birds that burn, and Kranag, the blind and incredibly lethal shapeshifter. Once again, the four face a nearly impossible task, and time on both sides of the warp is running out.
Is it any good?
Just like Book 1, LOST IN BABYLON has all the bait that fantasy-adventure fans need to dive right in. It will entertain, sure -- and lure you to the next book with a great cliffhanger -- but it won't stick with you like a Rick Riordan mythology-tinged adventure.
Peter Lerangis' characters still need more to them. Readers may find themselves rooting more for Daria, a cool new Babylonian girl, than for the foursome at the center of the story -- not good. And again, adults who want something from the teens are barely described, and this is what's supposed to make all of them untrustworthy. Hmm... Without solid characters to build your story on, this tower will fall.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about ancient Babylon. What did you learn from Lost in Babylon? What else can you find out? Where do we get our information about ancient civilizations? Who studies them?
What do you like most about the Seven Wonders series? Is it the history? The adventure? The crazy mythological creatures? What other books that you read does this series remind you of?
What do you think of Marco and his plans? Do you agree with Jack about him? Does Cass? Would you do what Cass asks of Jack?
- Author: Peter Lerangis
- Illustrator: Torstein Norstrand
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Harper
- Publication date: October 29, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 384
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.