Monday, May 14, 2012

Review: The Scribes from Alexandria - Caroline Lawrence

The Scribes from Alexandria
by Caroline Lawrence
Middle Grade
Read From: Apr. 22, 2012 - Apr. 22, 2012

Compared to the last one, this one was more exciting. It had more purpose to the things that happened, more mystery, and I was very curious to see how things turned out. But it also had tons of flaws. For one thing, no book intended for this age bracket should go into such detail about how a male is turned into a eunuch. It came pretty darn close to being graphic. And I also don't think that kids from that time period - even girls - would not know about what makes a male a eunuch.

I also found it more than a little annoying that the character who was serious about his Jewish faith, Seth, was also the character with the pompous and self-righteous attitude and was always making derogatory comments about pagans and eunuchs. And when Seth asks another character to marry him, the Author managed to make him sound arrogant and pompous when he tells her that if they are to marry, she'll have to convert to Judaism. Maybe it wasn't the Author's intention, but nonetheless it still seemed like she was saying people who take their religion seriously are judgmental and unpleasant to be around and arrogant, which is entirely untrue.

The other flaw lie with the ending. A great deal of mystery and intrigue is built up throughout the story, and it ends up to where the Reader really doesn't know which character is going to end up being the "villain." But the end reveals that there really is no villain, and this whole "cat and mouse" game was simply an elaborate treasure hunt to capture a husband - and there isn't even anything sinister in that, either. There's no fortune the person is trying to get ahold of or anything like that. The one redeeming thing that happens is long-term Readers of this series discover more about Nubia's family, and a few questions about where she'll eventually end up are answered. As a long-term Reader myself, I was satisfied with that, but everything else about the end was disappointing.

Others in The Roman Mysteries Series:
1)The Thieves of Ostia
2)The Secrets of Vesuvius
3)The Pirates of Pompeii
4)The Assassins of Rome
5)The Dolphins of Laurentum
6)The Twelve Tasks of Flavia Gemina
7)The Enemies of Jupiter
8)The Gladiators from Capua
9)The Colossus of Rhodes
10)The Fugitive from Corinth
11)The Sirens of Surrentom
12)The Charioteer of Delphi
13)The Slave-Girl from Jerusalem
14)The Beggar of Volubilis
15)The Scribes from Alexandria
16)The Prophet of Ephesus
17)The Man from Pomegranate Street

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