Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris by R. L. LaFevers
Goodreads: Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris
Series: Theodosia Throckmorton #2
Summary: Eleven-year-old Theodosia Throckmorton loves nothing more than to explore London’s Museum of Legends and Antiquities, where her parents work. She spends her days battling curses brought back on ancient artifacts and researching ancient Egypt. However, when mummies start walking the streets of Britain even Theodosia finds herself stumped. She will have to outwit not only the Serpents of Chaos but also a host of newly-hired governesses if she wants to save the Empire from disaster once more. Preceded by Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos.
Review: With her spunk, wit, and insatiable curiosity, Theodosia positions herself as the type of friend any young girl would love to have. She has an irreverent sense of humor and an unfortunate penchant for making astute observations the adults around her would rather not hear. Armed with a library of books on ancient Egypt and a pair of gloves, she sallies forth through Edwardian England to protect her family, friends, and country from the evil forces that threaten them. Though danger lurks everywhere, LaFevers keeps the adventure light with a host of quirky characters and a keen sense of the ridiculous.
Though the story contains many elements found in similar books—caring but absentminded parents, a strict grandmother, an unladylike girl determined to scheme her way out of having a governess—LaFevers seems to utilize them knowingly, sharing a wink with her readers over the predictable nature of her character interactions. Readers stay with the story not because they have never seen its components before, but because all those components thrown together at once are just too funny to resist. Dickensian caricatures travel through a world all too aware of its own extreme Britishness and the result is a mixture of ludicrousness and charm.
The second installment in the series lives up to its predecessor by compounding the ridiculous. Previously Theodosia fought a secret organization headed by German spies. One such group may have seemed a bit much (after all, are we really still writing German spies?), but by the end of this book Theodosia has encountered not less than three secret societies. She herself remarks on the improbability and seems a little disgruntled that her life could turn out so very odd. Her self-awareness disarms any readers annoyed at what could have seemed an inability to come up with a new plot twist and allows them to laugh with her.
A combination of fantasy and mystery with the flavor of an Edwardian novel, Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris has cross-genre appeal. Its fast pace, sense of humor, and likable heroine will delight and entertain readers and keep them coming back for the sequels.