Thursday, July 4, 2013

Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb (Lizzy Speare Book 1) by Ally Malinenko


…a normal twelve year old girl with a talent for writing, who has a very not normal family secret. And when Lizzy’s father vanishes, that secret will change her life in ways unimagined. (Spoiler Alert! It turns out that Lizzy, or Elizabeth S. Speare, is the last living descendant of William Shakespeare. Shhh! Don’t tell anybody!)

Then Lizzy and her best friend Sammy are kidnapped, awakening in the faraway land of Manhattan. Their host is Jonathan Muse, whose job is to protect Lizzy from becoming the latest victim in a family feud nearly five hundred years old. Could that be why the mysterious, eye patch-wearing Dmitri Marlowe is after her? (Spoiler Alert 2—he’s the last living descendant of Christopher Marlowe, a friend and rival of Shakespeare’s. But keep it to yourself!) Is Marlowe after Lizzy’s family fortune rumored to be kept in Shakespeare’s tomb? Does he seek artistic immortality? Or Revenge (with a capital R) for a death long, long ago?

In a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, Lizzy and Sammy are thrust into the realm of the mythical and fantastic—from satyrs and Cyclopses to Middle Eastern cab drivers and Brooklyn hipsters—in what is truly “an improbable fiction” as the Bard himself once wrote.

What a fantastic book! Lizzy's father goes missing and she is adamant about finding him.  One night, when she's at a sleepover, she and her friend Sammy are whisked away by a muse, Johnathon.  He explains to her that she is the last living descendant of William Shakespeare and the heir to a great fortune. He also tries to get her to understand that she is in great danger from none other than Dmitri Marlowe, the descendant of Christopher Marlowe.

Lizzy is shocked but she wants to find her dad. Johnathon takes Lizzy and Sammy into a world with mythological creatures and to the cursed tomb, where the treasure is said to be.  Not only that, but Dmitri and Johnathon both tell Lizzy the other is lying.  How will she know who to trust? 

A strong-willed protagonist, Lizzy is a very likable character that is sure to endear fans. Malinenko has created a compelling and unique world that had me invested early on and compelled me to share Lizzy's journey with her.  Geared toward Middle Grade, the writing is easy to read but the ingenuity is so great, adults will find enjoyment too.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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