Pyramid of the Ancients

Our rating: **½

A group of archeologists makes an astounding discovery when they unearth a pyramid with writings inside in a language nobody has ever seen before. Rebecca (from Logic’s End) and her husband Jeffery are among the team of scientists set to study the pyramid. But when they discover it has strange powers, and then accidentally turn it on during an emergency, the team is in for a wild ride through time and space that will challenge what they believe about the origin of civilizations.

The job of a reviewer is a difficult one. I often enjoy a book’s plot and characters, while at the same time I am put off by the writing style. Such is the case with Pyramid of the Ancients. Although I found the story itself to be excellent, fast-paced, and well thought out, I had problems with the writing style that refused to pick a point-of-view character and stay there. Also, a couple of chapters of unmasked exposition had me wishing that the characters would quit talking so the story could start again. That aside, this one has a great story, and the final book in the Origins Trilogy ought to be a humdinger.

Seven-Day Magic

Our rating: ****

Barnaby, Fredricka, Abbie, John, and Susan all love books. And they agree that the best kind of book is a magic book. One day at the library, they just so happen to find such a book. Though, of course, at the time, they don’t realize it. Then they find out that the book (you guessed it!) grants wishes. They take turns making wishes, and end up having to get themselves out of all sorts of trouble.

Another great Eager book. As in his others, the children have to figure out what rules the magic operates by, and how to use it to their best advantage. I also find it funny that the girl from the very end of Half Magic makes an appearance in this one.

The Time Garden

Our rating: ***

Roger and Ann’s father writes a play and must go to England for the premier. So, once again, Roger and Ann get to stay with their cousins, Jack and Eliza. Only, Jack and Eliza’s parents are going to England too, so all the children go to stay in an old house in Connecticut. Magic awaits them in the garden of thyme, in the form of a Natterjack (a British toad-like creature), who tells them of the magical properties of the thyme. Of course, the magic is through time travel (har har).

Quite interesting, with funny adventures, but not nearly as fun as Half Magic. The ending is satisfying, although a bit predictable. The Time Garden is worth reading, but I found the puns to be a little much.

The Story of the Amulet

Our rating: ***

When Cyril, Anthea, Robert, and Jane find the Psammead, the wish-granting creature they met in Five Children and It, in a pet store and rescue it, the Psammead tells them about an amulet. They purchase it and discover it is only half an amulet. But the half will take them anywhere back in time to look for the other half. And the whole amulet will give them their hearts’ desire.

Despite a kind of weird part at the end, it’s a pretty good book. I’m not sure that I liked it as much as Five Children and It. (Which by the rating would make sense.)

Time Cat

Our rating: ***

Jason’s cat Gareth can talk, and he tells Jason a big secret: Cats don’t have nine lives, but they can travel to nine different places in history at any time they wish. Then Jason asks to be taken along, and he and Gareth are suddenly standing in Ancient Egypt, where cats are worshipped. This is just the first of nine cat-centered adventures through time!

I was a little disappointed that the story never stopped very long in any country, but Lloyd Alexander makes up for this with a lot of action. This was Alexander’s first book, and you can kind of tell. Some of the others are better, but Time Cat is a good read for cat lovers and anyone who loves adventure. By the way, see if you can find the character of a certain red-gold haired princess from Prydain!