Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Middle Grade Review: The Secret of the Sacred Scarab


Title: The Secret of the Sacred Scarab
Author: Fiona Ingram
Publisher: iUniverse 2008, 272 pages
Source: I'm actually not sure; it's been on my ereader for quite a while. I either won it in a give-away or picked it up on a free day, I think.

This fast-paced adventure is by one of my fellow BookElves.
Publisher's Summary:
A thrilling adventure for two young boys, whose fun trip to Egypt turns into a dangerously exciting quest to uncover an ancient and mysterious secret. A 5000-year-old mystery comes to life when a scruffy peddler gives Adam and Justin Sinclair an old Egyptian scarab on their very first day in Egypt. Justin and Adam embark upon the adventure of a lifetime, taking them down the Nile and across the harsh desert in their search for the legendary tomb of the Scarab King, an ancient Egyptian ruler. With just their wits, courage, and each other, the boys manage to survive … only to find that the end of one journey is the beginning of another!

This was a great adventure, with a lot of history and archeology thrown in along the way. For the most part, the story moves along well, and the two boys are depicted clearly and engagingly. I might have liked for Gran to have a bigger role--she was pretty one-dimensional until near the end, when she proved delightful, but I can see why I might be more interested in her than a kid would.

A few times, especially near the beginning of the book, I thought the story got bogged down in the history/geography lessons, but for the most part they were well-integrated into the story, as the boys tried to find out what they needed to know in order to solve the mystery. The book also had to deal with the usual problem for kids' adventures: keeping the adults from taking over. I thought it was well-handled; they see it all as a great adventure and want to solve it themselves. When things get a little scary, they kind of want an adult to help, but worry their aunt won't take them seriously. The adults eventually get involved, but by then the boys have to cope with some things on their own regardless.

The exciting conclusion is gripping--I definitely stayed up to finish! Then there is the set-up for the next book in the series. I'm not a big fan of making a too-obvious "to be continued" sign at the end of a book, but I have to admit it has me wanting to read the next in the series!

For lovers of adventure and mystery and exotic settings.

Full Disclosure: I bought, won, or was given a copy of The Secret of the Sacred Scarab at some unknown time, and received nothing from the writer or publisher in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."  


  1. Yup - I really enjoyed it too! This is a book that I co-reviewed with Erik from This Kid Reviews Books. I'm in the midst of reading Book 2 - the first book is all coming back to me now! Thanks for linking in the Kid Lit Blog Hop!

    1. I'm looking forward to book 2, though I am so backed up in my reading it may take a while!

  2. I'm also visiting from the Kid Lit Blog Hop! I'm reading this book as well, and I'm enjoying it very much. I'm also looking forward to having my daughter read it. She's in love with all things Egyptian!

    1. Thanks for coming by, Erika. I bet your daughter will love this one!

  3. My kids and I enjoy ancient Egyptian mythology adventures. Sounds like this one is a good fit! Thanks for sharing at the Kid Lit Blog Hop! I have Fiona Ingram guest posting on my blog today with writing tips for teachers who teach kids creative writing. Small world!

  4. Looks like a fast paced read Rebecca. Keeps them hooked and keeps them reading :) Thanks for sharing the review on KidLit BlogHop.

    1. Yes--a great way to make kids read :) Thanks for hopping over!


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