Seven Wonders Book 3: The Tomb of Shadows

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
Seven Wonders Book 3: The Tomb of Shadows Book Poster Image
Characters lack oomph, but adventure stays high in sequel.

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

Educational Value

As always in this series, the main characters are on the move, looking for one of the Seven Wonders of the World. They find the remains of Halicarnassus and the tomb of Mausolus in Bodrum, Turkey, and meet Artemisia, the former ruler of Halicarnassus in a parallel universe. They also visit Grant's Tomb in New York City. There's also talk of genetic mapping.

Positive Messages

Teamwork, bravery, and believing in yourself are overlying messages in the first two Seven Wonders books and in The Tomb of Shadows, as well. Here the characters struggle less with whom to trust; they know what side they're on.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jack remains the leader of the group and feels more comfortable in the role. When parents try to protect him from danger he asserts his independence and his commitment to his difficult path. Aly and Cass take on smaller roles her, but still assert their bravery and teamwork.


Three bombings at different points in the book send the main characters flying, giving them minor injuries. They're also cut by sharp griffin talons, gassed, shot at, chased by a raging fire, concussed in a crashing plane, and attacked by zombies whose body parts go flying (with more typical zombie imagery of eyeballs coming out of sockets and skin flaking off to the bone, etc.). Each of the three suffers seizures and requires what's just called "treatments" to prolong their lives -- with their special genetic mutation, no one lives past the age of 14. There's a sad death of a monkey who was protecting Jack and the loss of a mentor figure who sacrifices himself to the cause. There's talk of sad losses of parents and missing parents; Jack remembers the day he received the phone call about his mother's disappearance and presumed death. A whole base is attacked with people beaten and held prisoner. Some gunfights and fistfights.


Some hand-holding a blushing by Jack and Aly.


"Flipping" said once, and a mention that a truck driver has a "potty mouth."


Handfuls of quick mentions: Apple, Windows, Disney World, Toyota, Princess Bride, DQ Blizzards, and Facebook.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A guard smokes. Mention of a bar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Peter Lerangis' The Tomb of Shadows is the third 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 Halicarnassus in modern-day Bodrum, Turkey, former site of wonder the tomb of Mausolus. It's just barely ruins today, but it transforms into an underworld ruled by a the former ruler Artemisia (480 BC). Violence continues to be about average for the fantasy-adventure genre. The teens are thrown clear of bombs, cut by griffin talons, shot at, chased by a raging fire, concussed in a crashing plane, and attacked by zombies -- with all the zombie imagery to go with it; think eyeballs and limbs popping out, etc. There are a couple sad deaths, one of a mentor figure. The same talented kids are brave and resourceful and work well together to survive. 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.

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What's the story?

Jack, Aly, and Cass, may have successfully retrieved a center of power called a Loculus from ancient Babylon, but it's a Pyrrhic victory. Marco, their friend and fellow carrier of the gene that marks them as descendants of Atlantis (and marks them for death at age 14), has joined the Massa: aka the bad guys. And when they try to go back to the KI -- good guy HQ -- the they find the Massa is burning it to the ground. Their only option is to escape the secret island sanctuary and look for the next Loculus. They'll need all seven to save their own lives and possibly all of humankind. They head in a hurry to Turkey, home of the ancient city of Halicarnassus and the tomb of Mausolus, all in ruins now. Jack, who usually hears a Loculus call to him, can't hear a thing. Will they need to open another time warp like they did for ancient Babylon? With the help of a local archeologist, a gateway opens. But this is no trip back to ancient times like before. The tomb of Mausolus is a tomb after all. A zombie guide emerges with her body barely intact. She agrees to take Jack, Aly, and Cass with her into the underworld, but not without a soul sacrifice.

Is it any good?

The premise of the Seven Wonders series is fabulous, no question. The history is pretty fascinating -- how many readers really know this much about the ancient world? Plus there's plenty at stake for the main characters and for all of humankind. But the execution is only average. The biggest weakness with the whole series remains character development.

Jack has loads of potential, but he's no Percy Jackson. Author Peter Lerangis doesn't give us much quality time with him. Jack struggles with understanding his parents in THE TOMB OF SHADOWS, but it's not as compelling as it could be. We just don't know him well enough. Still, the story keeps moving, and the characters go from one adventure to the next pretty seamlessly. If readers are out for straightforward adventure storytelling, they won't be too disappointed. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what they learn about the ancient world in The Tomb of Shadows. What are true historical facts about the site Jack and friends visit in Turkey? What parts are pure fantasy -- the zombies, of course, is a good place to start.

  • What do you think of Marco's decision to work for the enemy? How do his friends treat him? How do they show they miss having him on their side?

  • Will you keep reading the series? What parts do you like best?

Book details

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For kids who love fantasy and adventure

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