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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it is still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos Paperback – May 5, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–8—A combination of Nancy Drew and Indiana Jones, Theo Throckmorton is in big trouble. The 11-year-old lives in London in 1906 and spends most of her time in an antiquities museum headed by her father and filled with objects from her mother's archaeological expeditions to Egypt. Bossy, clever, and learned in the lore of ancient Egypt, the girl constantly worries that the work-obsessed parents who ignore and neglect her will be destroyed by virulent ancient curses that only she can detect. When her mother returns from her latest trip with an amulet inscribed with curses so powerful they could unleash the Serpents of Chaos and destroy the British Empire, Theo finds herself caught up in a web of intrigue and danger. It pits her, along with some unexpected allies, against German operatives trying to use the scarab as a weapon in their political and economic rivalry with England. Theo must draw on all her resources when she confronts her enemies alone, deep in an Egyptian tomb. There, she makes some surprising discoveries, both personal and archaeological. Vivid descriptions of fog-shrouded London and hot, dusty Cairo enhance the palpable gothic atmosphere, while page-turning action and a plucky, determined heroine add to the book's appeal. Unfortunately, Theo's narrative voice lurches between the diction of an Edwardian child and that of a modern teen. The ambiguous ending, with its hints at the approaching World War, seems to promise a sequel. A fine bet for a booktalk to classes studying ancient Egypt.—Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* "You'd be surprised by how many things come into the museum loaded with curses--bad ones," says 11-year-old Theodosia, whose parents run London's Museum of Legends and Antiquities. The twentieth century has just begun, and Theodosia's mum, an archaeologist, has recently returned from Egypt with crates of artifacts. Only Theodosia can feel the objects' dark magic, which, after consulting ancient texts, she has learned to remove. Then a sacred amulet disappears, and during her search, Theodosia stumbles into a terrifying battle between international secret societies. Readers won't look to this thrilling adventure for subtle characterizations (most fit squarely into good and evil camps) or neat end-knots in the sprawling plot's many threads. It's the delicious, precise, and atmospheric details (nicely extended in Tanaka's few, stylized illustrations) that will capture and hold readers, from the contents of Theodosia's curse-removing kit to descriptions of the museum after hours, when Theodosia sleeps in a sarcophagus to ward off the curses of "disgruntled dead things." Kids who feel overlooked by their own distracted parents may feel a tug of recognition as Theodosia yearns for attention, and those interested in archaeology will be drawn to the story's questions about the ownership and responsible treatment of ancient artifacts. A sure bet for Harry Potter fans as well as Joan Aiken's and Eva Ibbotson's readers. This imaginative, supernatural mystery will find word-of-mouth popularity. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 780 (What's this?)
  • Series: Theodosia (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (May 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618999760
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618999767
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #224,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Should I be embarrassed that I am a 50-ish woman who took one little skim of this book and got all the way hooked, snuck it from my son, and read it cover to cover? WOW! I am the kind of person who has 5 or 6 books started all over the house; who reads snippets wherever I sit down. Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos grabbed my imagination and took me on a mystical and suspenseful adventure, full of Ancient Egyptian artifacts, swirling curses and lively heiroglyphs. I met Theodosia's cute but pesky little brother Henry, and a heroic pickpocketing street urchin, Sticky Will, among many others. One of my favorites was Isis, the hapless kitty that became the recepticle for some dark curses Theodosia tried to remove from one of the ancient vases. I could go on and on about how much fun this story was to read, but I'd better not give any more away. I won't tell you that it was on Theodosia's shoulders to save the whole country of England, or that she had to find a way to go to Egypt and visit some tombs for herself. A real feat for an 11 year old girl. I just CAN'T tell you how she managed to get there, or how scary the dark tunnels to the tombs were. You just need to read it for yourself! If there was anything I would change about this book, it would only be to make the story longer. I hope R.L.LaFevers decides to make this only the first of Theodosia's many adventures.
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Format: Hardcover
Things That Are Difficult To Do:

1. Eating broken glass

2. Changing a baby's diaper for the first time.

3. Digesting aforementioned broken glass.

4. Selling a boy on a great adventuresome novel with a female heroine.

It's a bit of a stereotype but one with at least a grain of truth to it. Certain boys of a particular literary persuasion will offer an unpleasant amount of resistance to reading a book when its protagonist is of the feminine variety. This is understood. Few quibble the point. As a result, nine times out of ten a hero who discovers a fantastical world in a fantasy novel will sport a name like Harry or Percy or Sebastian (no one said they had to be manly names). This can make it difficult for girls heroes. Either they have to share the spotlight with a boy (and is pictured on the cover with him if the publisher has their way) or their heroine already exists in a world of her own when the action begins. The latter is the case with one Theodosia Throckmorton. If you called her "spunky" to her face she'd probably grind your foot beneath her boot heel. Theodosia isn't cute or plucky or wide-eyed. She's sly and clever with just half a sandwich more intelligence than her fellow man. "Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos" is not a perfect creation, but it has enough originality and sheer verve to make up for those imperfections a reader might find.

When you're living in Edwardian England as the child of easily distracted museum curators, you have to do a lot of growing up on your own. Theodosia Throckmorton , for her part, has done her fair share.
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Format: Hardcover
Who could resist Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos, by R. L. LaFevers? The book is dedicated to "clever girls everywhere who get tired of feeling like no one's listening". Set in the early 1900's, it's the story of young Theodosia Throckmorton, who more or less lives in London's Museum of Legends and Antiquities. Her mother is an archaeologist, frequently away excavating tombs in Egypt. Her father is museum-obsessed, and frequently works through the night. Theodosia, who has managed through her parents' inattention to dodge both boarding school and governesses, has her own little room at the museum, where she sleeps in a sarcophagus. This alone would be interesting, but it gets better.

Theodosia, who is "cleverer than most", has a rare natural gift for sensing ancient curses, and removing them. When her mother brings home a very important, and seriously cursed artifact, the Heart of Egypt, Theodosia finds herself at the heart of a conspiracy. She has to recover the artifact, after it's stolen by evil-doers, and go to great lengths to un-do the damage wrought by the Heart of Egypt. She wrestles with a secret brotherhood, German troublemakers, an appealing young pickpocket, and her pesky younger brother, Henry. Not to mention stowing away on a ship, facing scorpions, and removing a curse from her black cat. Through it all, Theodosia remains strong and smart, considerably more on top of things than her relatively hapless parents and snooty grandmother. She's very cool.

Theodosia has an appealingly snarky voice (the story is told in the first person). Here are a couple of examples:

"I weighed my options: being followed through the streets of London by a menacing stranger or catching a lift with Grandmother Throckmorton.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Think of a new series of Harry Potter books with Hermione Granger as the star. In many ways that's what you have here, at least in terms of the voice and the basic appeal of the heroine.
First, the egyptology in this book is much more interesting, and more full of colorful detail and atmosphere, than any other similarly themed series (including the new Riordan series, which drops more names but feels less authentic). This gives the whole series a creepy and magical feel that seems somehow more real than most kids magical fantasies.
Second, and much more importantly, Theodosia has a fresh, charming, spunky voice that is just wonderful. She can be snarky, sensitive, perceptive, fragile, tough, and no-nonsense. She is just a terrific star for this series, and is a wonderful treat. I have been delighted by the fact that recent series have elevated girls from secondary to lead roles, but this one has created a particularly charming star.
Now, to be fair, this book does not come with a dense back story, or a fully realized magical world. It is episodic, and the plots (society of good guys versus society of bad guys) aren't breaking any new ground. Think of it as more like the first in a series of Indiana Jones style plotlines. But, you don't usually get dialogue as sharp as this, or writing as well crafted, or characters as engaging in middle grade fiction. The sample chapter, above, gives you a pretty good sense of the book, (although I think the book gets better as it goes on), and I would strongly suggest that you take a look at that.
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