Spitting Cobra: The Egyptian Chronicles by Gill Harvey
|Spitting Cobra: The Egyptian Chronicles by Gill Harvey|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jason Mark Curley|
|Summary: Mystery and adventure in ancient Egypt.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 176||Date: August 2009|
|Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing plc|
Five years ago, Hopi: a young lizard-obsessed boy, and Isis: his sister – a dancer, lost their family in a crocodile attack on the Nile. Hopi still bears the scars from the attack. Looking for a dance partner for his daughter, Mut, Paneb, the head of the local dance troupe took them both in, where they live with him and his wife, Nefert.
Hopi is fearless when it comes to snakes and lizards, rescuing them from people's houses who are too scared to deal with them themselves. Even though they dance together, Mut and Isis seem totally at odds with one another, so much so, they destroy one of their mother's collars during an argument, just before the troupe is to dance for the Pharaoh's tomb-builders.
But when the tombs are broken into and treasures go missing, it's the villagers who are suspected. Hopi and Isis might just be the ones to discover who the thieves are.
I've had such a run of good books to review recently that I'm getting palpably nervous every time I open a new package, hoping that the next read will live up to the last. But let's start from the beginning. The Spitting Cobra is the first book in an expected series of four. It's set in Egypt during the time of the Pharaohs immediately evoking the spirit of adventure you'd expect.
The writing is solid, no doubt about that. The plot is solid and the characters are well developed, but this book just didn't grab me, and I think there are a few reasons for that. First of all, it takes a while to deal with all the strange sounding names of the Egyptian place and characters. They're unavoidable, fair enough, but you often get so many proper nouns thrown at you so close together it's hard to keep track. It often seems like not enough time is spent developing characters before moving on. This is only exacerbated by the unusual names.
Also, the writing often seems padded and a little dull, even if well written. It just didn't grab me in any way whatsoever. Maybe that's because I've been spoiled by some really great reads recently, but it's still the case.
Nevertheless it does have a good plot, and gets better as the book goes on. Also, I'm sure a lot of kids will enjoy the map, fact files and glossaries on Egypt at the back.
If you enjoyed this I'd recommend Hootcat Hill by Lucy Coats.
Thanks to the publishers for sending me this review copy.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Spitting Cobra: The Egyptian Chronicles by Gill Harvey at Amazon.com.
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