Review: The Prophet from Ephesus - Caroline Lawrence

The Prophet from Ephesus
by Caroline Lawrence
Middle Grade
Read From: June 21, 2012 - June 22, 2012














Review
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Cover Blurb: Like with all of the Roman Mysteries book covers, I like the simplicity and color scheme, as well as how it looks like a painting. This particular cover out of the series is one of the less interesting ones.

What I Liked: As always, I like Nubia; she continues to be the most level-headed, best tempered, and most considerate of the four friends. I will always love Jonathan, but in this book his reoccurring pessimism and “oh, it’s all my fault” attitude really got on my nerves. While certainly it would take forever for someone to reconcile themselves with something as terrible as the fire in Rome, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and sigh when Jonathan brought it back up. He’s beaten that horse enough already.

What I Disliked: I liked Flavia in the first book, but I really don’t like her anymore. It’s been fifteen books and she still hasn’t matured. She seems her age - twelve - and therefore it is really hard to find anything romantic about her crush on Flaccus. It’s even harder to believe that Flaccus loves her because - hello! She’s twelve! And she is definitely not mature for her age! It’s just . . . creepy. I know, twelve was an acceptable age for the Romans, but you know what - it’s still creepy. And not at all romantic.

Believability: Caroline Lawrence does her historical research; that has always been true. She’s always managed to take her four young detectives places in a plausible fashion, and have things happen to them that the Reader could actually see happening. It’s no different in this installment. All of the research is there, the plausibility. And she even goes a step further with her believability when everyone converts to Christianity, but Flavia doesn’t. I was afraid that the Author would have her convert, and I was never convinced that Flavia would ever give up her Roman faith. She’s not that sort of person.

Writing Style: It’s nothing special. She is wonderful at historical description, and often relates historical facts and myths through the characters’ dialogue in a way that doesn’t lessen the dialogue’s believability. But her writing is very moment-by-moment, and she overworks the cliffhanger - every single chapter literally ends in one.

Content: This one had no content of which to speak.

Conclusion: This is where the story fell down. The Author did a terrific job in connecting the loose ends of The Colossus of Rhodes to this one. She had a good setup and an intriguing villain that we fans have been wonderful about ever since The Colossus of Rhodes was first released. But then suddenly everything comes crashing down around our heads. I hate, simply hate it when an Author has a good villain, and then that villain repents, turns all good, and everyone goes home happy. It destroys everything in the story; turns it sour; leaves the Reader utterly unsatisfied. And that is exactly how I felt with this book’s conclusion.

Recommended Audience: This is meant more for the middle school level, and while I am an adult, I still enjoy this series, perhaps mostly because I’ve been reading it since I was ten years old. This is both a girl and guy read.


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 Surrentum
12)The Charioteer of Delphi
13)The Slave-Girl from Jerusalem
14)The Beggar of Volubilis
15)The Scribes from Alexandria
16)The Prophet from Ephesus
17)The Man from Pomegranate Street

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