Thursday, 13 September 2018

Secrets of a Sun King by Emma Carroll

- Source: my bookshelf -

It's November, 1922. In a valley in Egypt the tomb of a long dead pharaoh is about to be discovered. The world watches and waits for news with baited breath. Thirteen-year-old Lillian Kaye is eagerly following the story. One morning the news takes a sinister turn: a man - a famous Egyptologist - disappears. All that remains of him are his feet. Then Lil's grandfather is taken suddenly ill, and when a mysterious package turns up from the Egyptologist, Lil starts to believe there is truth to the rumours of a pharaoh's curse.

As I've expressed time and time again here on Reading with Jade, Emma Carroll is my favourite middle grade author, and an auto buy author of mine also. Given this, I went into her newest MG novel with hope and some expectations I suppose, and as usual, Emma Carroll did not disappoint.
Emma Carroll writes historical fiction with a middle grade audience in mind, however her books are suitable for readers of all ages. In terms of time period and book setting, Emma Carroll varies the background of her stories, with Secrets of a Sun King largely taking place in Egypt during the early 1920's. The way in which Emma Carroll writes her novels - based off of factual events & time frames, whilst placing a fictional adventure at the heart of her story - is great as not only does it raise curiosity in her readers, but also makes history and real life events a whole lot more accessible for younger readers.
Starting out in London, we meet Lil, a girl who is soon to be going on an adventure of a lifetime, returning a very precious package to Egypt in the midst of the opening of Tutankhamen's tomb. Along the way she meets some new friends, learns a few life lessons, and highlights the lengths we'd go to for our family & loved ones.
The focal characters within this book, namely the three children - Lil, Tulip, and Oz - are well written with individual personalities and backgrounds that are well covered in a book that is a little under 300 pages long.
Speaking of page count, one of the things I really enjoy within Emma Carroll's books is how she packs so much into her books. From plot development, to character building, and an ensuing adventure, there is never a dull moment and yet it all works together perfectly well.
There are a couple of themes that run throughout Secrets of a Sun King, with friendship being one of the central ones. I really love this focus, especially in an MG read, and the way the theme is pulled in both Lil's time frame, as well as that of Tutankhamen's youth, is cleverly done.
All in all, another fantastic middle grade adventure from Emma Carroll.

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