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The Tomb of Shadows (Seven Wonders #3), by Peter Lerangis
I know I should have expected "Tomb of Shadows" to come out around now, but I was really surprised to see it at the store the other day. I picked it up nearly as soon as I saw it.
I'm going to assume that anyone reading this has already ready "Lost in Babylon" and therefore what I am about to say isn't a spoiler. In my review of "Lost in Babylon" I said that at the end of the book, Jack says eight words that changed the game for me. Those words were "The head of the Massa is my mom." That just floored me. I can't wait to see where Lerangis goes from here.
As "The Tomb of Shadows" begins, Jack, Aly, and Cass returned to the Karai Institute's island, where Jack has shown the Karai Institute folks the phone that he got from his mother in "Lost in Babylon." The Karai Institute then sent the kids back, in disguise, to the Massa headquarters in Egypt. When they arrive, they find that the Massa headquarters has been ransacked. The information is being deleted from the computers. Fortunately, Cass finds a set of "worry beads" which will later turn out to contain a USB drive with information on it.
They then return to the Karai Institute's island to find that the Massa has invaded the island. In what turns out to be kind of an "idiot plot" move (if the characters weren't idiots, there'd be no plot), it never occurred to any of the geniuses of the Karai Institute that the phone might be used by the Massa to find the Karai Institute's headquarters. Fortunately, so far that is one of the only idiot plot moves in this series.
Jack, Aly, Cass, and Torquin barely get off the island with the now nearly incapacitated Professor Bhegad and his personal physician, Dr. Bradley. Bhegad tells the kids that they need to look for the Loculus of Healing, which was last seen in the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus.
Jack contacts his father, who turns out to be in Mongolia. They head for Mongolia where they tell their tale to Jack's father, who, it turns out, knew about the early deaths of kids with the G7W gene. In fact, all of the traveling that he has done over the last few years was in search of a cure for his son, and Jack's father has founded an entire corporation, McKinley Genetics, in the process.
Jack's father then joins the kids as they travel to Bodhrum Turkey, which is where the Mausoleum used to be, and the kids head off into a parallel world, Bo'gloo, in search of the Loculus.
By the end of the book, the kids will have been not only to Turkey, but also to Lerangis's home of New York City (and Cass and Jack will have taken a side trip to London). Turns out that it is possible to travel from Bo'gloo into the world that Jack and his friend inhabit through portals in buildings based on the architecture of the Mausoleum, which include Grant's Tomb in New York City and St. George's Church in London (also the Metropolitan Tower in Chicago, but they don't use that portal at all in the book, I just thought I'd throw that in there, me being a Chicago girl and all).
A new character, Canavar, is introduced in "Tomb of Shadows." He is described as a "homunculus," which is Latin for "little man." Canavar speaks mostly in current Modern English but has one trait that harks back to early Modern English -- the use of "thee" and "thou." "Thou" was the second person singular, and in several places it seems as though he was using it as the second-person plural, which should properly have been, well, "you" or, I guess, "ye" if Canavar's usage were old enough. He also doesn't use cases correctly or conjugate the verbs consistently for these pronouns. His speech patterns are very confusing and could have used the help of a specialist in early Modern English.
Another thing that bugged me was, once again, a map. There is an illustration in the book of a map. The writing on the map was done in Greek letters except for one word that starts with "Ph." I was reading it, assuming that the "P" was a "rho," and thus pronounced "r," but it turns out that the "Ph" is in fact, pronounced with the "f" sound. In modern Greek, the "f" sound is spelled with the letter "phi," (in ancient Greek, the sound that phi made was different, but that's immaterial as the word in question is Greek and thus should have been spelled with a phi). And Lerangis has no excuse. His family is Greek and he admits to having gone to Greek school in the biography on his webpage. All we would have needed was a throwaway line from Aly (the coding expert) that the phi is pronounced, "f" (which will probably be necessary when they get to the Pharos of Alexandria anyhow, since "Pharos" starts with a phi) and we'd be in business.
Despite these few things, there was a lot to like about this book and I wait avidly for the next book (due out in March of 2015).