Note: I received a free copy of this book from Online Book Club in exchange for an honest review. You can check out both the novel and other reviews here.
Even though I go into this knowing that I must be completely honest in my review, it pains me to do so. I honestly have very little good to say about this novel, so please keep in mind that I’m not trying to be harsh, just honest.
This book is the second in the Neiko Adventure Saga, and I would just like to say that while I haven’t read the first, the plot was fairly easy to follow.
The protagonist, Neiko, is trapped by her enemy, Francesco, who is out for revenge. He sends her to Ancient Egypt during the time of Ramesses II with no hope of escape. Once there, she finds her long lost friends who have been stranded there for the past eleven years, but things go terribly wrong when Ramesses himself falls in love with her. In this adventure novel, Neiko must work together with her friends in hopes of trying to get home, without changing history in the process.
The one good thing I can say about this book was that I actually liked the concept. It had a lot of potential. Time travel has a lot of risk and tends to be fast-paced. Mixed with mystery, romance, and the setting itself, I wouldn’t say I had high hopes for the book, but I definitely expected something decent. Unfortunately, I was not so lucky.
What this author desperately needed was an editor. There were formatting errors, spelling errors, and more than once the author used “you’re” instead of “your”. What really took you out of the story, as a reader, was the language itself. Everything sounded very awkward and unnatural, and some of this could have easily been fixed with the use of contractions in dialogue. For example:
“Well, well. I expected to find you here, Neiko. You are so brave and heroic that you are predictable. Well, the trap worked.”
Often times I found myself thinking that this had to be written by a ten year old. I saw what Taylor was trying to portray, but her writing unquestionably lacked fluidity and maturity. When Neiko is captured and made a slave, she treats it as a joke. When she is handed a broom, she starts playing air guitar and singing at the top of her lungs, and her captors laugh. It’s not at all amusing or realistic, and leaves the reader wondering what exactly they got themselves into when picking up the book.
When trying to ensure their safety, dealing with a ruler that can be incredibly ruthless, this actually happens:
“I’m sorry to say everything is true,” said Francesco, cutting in.
“Raven and the Crackedskulls will change that very soon and make it into a more organized place.”
“Whatever you just said, I don’t think so!” Neiko shouted.
“How dare you!” Francesco snapped.
“You need to pipe down, you pin-headed geek!” shouted Mactalon.
“You know, Francesco, you are an embarrassment to the Crackedskulls, you weenie!” Tito shouted.
“Oh, you will pay for that with your life, Indian scum!” retorted Francesco.
“Your mama!” Mactalon shouted.
And no, it makes no more sense when actually reading the novel than it does in this context.
I also should mention that all of these characters are in their late teens/early twenties. Between the immature and childish insults to the purely idiotic way they act through the introduction to the finale, the entire novel is nothing short of laughable. The really unfortunate thing is that it had potential. There were literary and pop culture references that would have been quite clever if not put so bluntly. Not to mention that Taylor seems to rush through every chapter. She takes scenes that could have left the reader on the edge of their seat, begging for more, but instead quickly shortens them into a paragraph. This, for example, happens in a dream sequence:
The statues began to chase them. Then there was a great earthquake, and Ramesses came out of the ground and stabbed Monchiska in the heart. Anubis carried him off while Ramesses carried her off. Monchiska came back and defeated Ramesses freeing her. Neiko and Monchiska, with three unknown people, destroyed the marching statues.
This could have been a gripping sequence. The concept is wonderful, but the execution is, dare I say it, painful.
If this book were categorized as a children’s novel, I would be more forgiving. It feels like it is written for a child, and many times, by a child. However, it is categorized as Young Adult. And I don’t know anyone my age, or near my age, that would be able to take this book seriously. I have to give it 1/5 stars. If the author is reading this, I would say that her ideas are intriguing, but she really needs to work on her style, grammar, spelling, and above all, execution. With some maturity, fluidity, and finesse, her work could be more enjoyable and more accessible to readers.
As always, thanks for reading, and remember that this is just my opinion! A lot of people really liked the novel, so be sure to check it out at Online Book Club here.
Sincerely, Fiction’s Mistress