Monday, October 6, 2014

Review: The Copernicus Legacy: The Serpent's Curse by Tony Abbott

The Serpent's Curse (The Copernicus Legacy, Book #2)
by Tony Abbott
Release Date: October 7th 2014
2014 Katherine Tegen Books
Ebook Edition; 496 Pages
ISBN: 978-0062194466
Genre: Fiction / Middle Grade / Fantasy
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

Wade, Lily, Darrell, and Becca may have found the Copernicus Legacy’s first relic—a beautiful blue stone named after the constellation Vela—but they have lost much more than they have gained. Darrell’s mother, Sara, has been kidnapped by Galina Krause, the conniving leader of the Teutonic Order, who hopes that the renowned academic will lead her and her minions to the next relic.

That means the stakes couldn’t be higher for the Kaplan kids, who trek across the cold wilderness of Siberia, along the winding canals of Venice, and through the streets of Moscow’s Red Square in search of their beloved family member and the sought-after relic called the Serpens. In the process, they meet another network of Guardians and discover that Galina’s plan for Sara involves a scientific experiment that could jeopardize her life.

My Thoughts
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, The Forbidden Stone, and couldn't wait for the release of The Serpent's Curse, the second book in the series, and it didn't definitely didn't disappoint.  With the same pulsing action that was in the first one, this one didn't stop from the moment I opened the book until the very end, and I couldn't flip the pages fast enough, something quite interesting in a middle grade novel.  

What I really love about this book is the blend of factual information and research mixed in with the fantastical.  I actually had to go and look up some facts only to realize they were not necessarily real, but the author is so convincing that even an adult with quite a bit of knowledge about Copernicus can fall for some of the tricks in this novel, something I would only admit to on here.  I love the little puzzles that are distributed throughout the novel, and although the children do manage to solve them rather too readily in my estimation considering their ages and their education, they are still fun and I enjoyed them tremendously.  And please don't judge me too harshly on that last comment, but I do teach teenagers and am quite aware as to how much knowledge most of them have on current events and on world geography, and I'm pretty sure most of them would not be familiar with a remote monastery in Russia, or with Konigsberg, as the teenagers in this book were. And it seemed that as soon as something, or someone, was mentioned, at least one of them was familiar with it / them / him / her in some way.  There were times when I did have to suspend my disbelief.  In fact, when Lily went diving for her tablet, it was almost a relief as it felt like such a normal thing to do when someone needed information quickly.

That being said, I did love the rush around the world in search of the Serpens relic, such fun, and quite interesting.  And I really enjoyed the characters.  While there was not a lot of time for character development in this novel as the characters are too busy rushing around the world saving each other, or others, the author definitely does not give the reader too much time to think about it and sends the characters of one one adventure after another.  It's not until afterwards, when it's time to reflect, that you realize how plot-driven this novel is, and while that can be fun, there were times when I would have liked to have known the characters a bit more or emphasized with them a bit more, but the author doesn't give you time to do so, so when they do get hurt, I tended to feel somewhat detached or unsympathetic.  

The Serpent's Curse is a great entry in The Copernicus Legacy, and I definitely recommend it to both young and old.  My son read the first one and loved it, and has been waiting for me to finish this one so he can get his hands on it, especially as I have been commenting on some of the the action sequences.  Mr. Abbott definitely has a gift with words, and has the ability to draw you into the story, and I had a hard time putting this one down.  I really enjoyed the blend of fantasy and reality, and I'm sure this series would appeal to any middle grade person who enjoys this type of genre.  I am looking forward to the next book in the series when it is released.