Mar 30, 2013

Lizzy Speare & the Cursed Tomb ~ Review by Mom Loves 2 Read


…a normal twelve year old girl with a talent for writing, who has a very not normal family secret. And when Lizzy’s father vanishes, that secret will change her life in ways unimagined. (Spoiler Alert! It turns out that Lizzy, or Elizabeth S. Speare, is the last living descendant of William Shakespeare. Shhh! Don’t tell anybody!)

Then Lizzy and her best friend Sammy are kidnapped, awakening in the faraway land of Manhattan. Their host is Jonathan Muse, whose job is to protect Lizzy from becoming the latest victim in a family feud nearly five hundred years old. Could that be why the mysterious, eye patch-wearing Dmitri Marlowe is after her? (Spoiler Alert 2—he’s the last living descendant of Christopher Marlowe, a friend and rival of Shakespeare’s. But keep it to yourself!) Is Marlowe after Lizzy’s family fortune rumored to be kept in Shakespeare’s tomb? Does he seek artistic immortality? Or Revenge (with a capital R) for a death long, long ago?

In a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, Lizzy and Sammy are thrust into the realm of the mythical and fantastic—from satyrs and Cyclopses to Middle Eastern cab drivers and Brooklyn hipsters—in what is truly “an improbable fiction” as the Bard himself once wrote.

Let's Tune in now to Muse Talk TV where Lizzy Spear and her best friend Sammy are currently being interviewed . . .

Welcome to Muse Talk on Muse Live TV!

Thanks for joining us, my fellow Mythkind! Today we have two very special guests from the mortal realm. Chances are good you’ve already heard the story about these two but I’ll let them introduce themselves. Tell us a little about yourself:

Lizzy: Okay, I’ll go first. Hi. So, I’m Elizabeth Shakespeare – man that still sounds so weird! But everyone calls me Lizzy and for basically my whole life my last name was Speare.

Sammy: It was shortened so no one knew she was famous.

Lizzy: I’m not famous, Sammy!

Sammy: I’m Sammy Galletti.

Lizzy: He’s my best friend. We’ve been friends forever.

So why don’t you tell us a little bit about what it was like to meet Jonathan, the Shakespearian Muse. He’s very well known to our mythkind viewers but he can be a bit elusive. Now that you know him so well, what’s he really like?

Sammy: Meeting him was weird. I mean, cool but weird. He just showed up on Lizzy’s birthday and used some kind of magic and whisked us off to his castle in the city. Lizzy said it was kidnapping –

Lizzy: No I didn’t! [rolls eyes]

Sammy: Did too. You were so scared.

Lizzy: So were you! Anyway, it all happened sort of fast cause Marlowe showed up at my house and my dad told me to go hide but Jonathan was there and he got us out of there. I mean, it’s cool now, cause I know why he did it, but then I was scared. But Jonathan is a really cool guy, er, muse. He knew Will Shakespeare! And when he’s in his true form he’s this big ball of light and sound and total chaos. But otherwise he looks like a regular guy.

Sammy: Like a hipster.

Lizzy: What?

Sammy: That’s what my dad said. He said Jonathan was a hipster.

Lizzy: Whatever that means.

So you were taken to Jonathan Muse’s castle in New York City. I hear it’s a pretty amazing place. What’s your favorite thing about the castle?

Lizzy: The archive for sure. The entire Shakespeare archive is there. It’s like the best library in the world.

 Sammy: Bo-ring! You kidding me? It’s a magic castle and you care about a bunch of old books? The coolest thing is the buried treasure in a GRAVE. And also Orion – he’s a giant gryphon with paws this big [holds hands out] and wings like this [holds arms open].

Lizzy: Yeah sure but you weren’t the one Orion tried to kill!

Sammy: That’s cause you weren’t supposed to be down there snooping around. You should have followed the rules. I would have told Jonathan to let him eat you too. You’re always doing what you’re not supposed to be doing. And you never listen to me. Which is dumb cause I’m really smart.

Lizzy: [sticks out tongue]

So Lizzy can you tell me what you like best about being a Shakespeare descendent?

Lizzy: Well, I guess having a muse like Jonathan. He’s really smart and really creative and even though it’s sometimes like having a second dad, I know he’s just looking out for me. And knowing him means I get to know cool people like Cleo – he’s a satyr.

Sammy: [whispering] Who you’re in love with.

Lizzy: Shut up! [elbows Sammy]

Sammy: [snorts and laughs]

Lizzy: I’m not. Honest. ….Anyway, it’s cool. I mean my whole life I’ve been a huge fan of Shakespeare and then to find out that you’re related to him! I mean, Wow! That’s incredible. The whole thing about Marlowe trying to kill me was slightly less cool.

Yeah, I wasn’t going to bring him up but since you did, what do you think his problem is. I mean why is Marlowe so dead set on blaming Shakespeare for his life?

Sammy: He’s crazy. I said that from Day One. And Lizzy was crazy enough to chase after him that day. Then things went from bad to worse.

Lizzy: I don’t know. I wish I could say that it’s this one specific thing. But I don’t know. All I know is that he hates me. And not just me, all of us. He hates everything to do with Shakespeare. He says I ruined his life. I’m just a kid! How could I have ruined his life?

Sammy: Cause he’s coo-coo for co-co puffs.

Okay last question – do you plan on living up to your ancestor’s literary reputation?

Lizzy: [laughing] Are you kidding me? I’m twelve! And he’s Shakespeare! Dream on.

Sammy: I bet she could. She’s really creative. When we were trapped in that old theater she wrote a description of a manticore with this magic ink that Jonathan gave me.

Lizzy: Sammy! Shut up.

Sammy: No, listen… honestly… she did. And she wrote it really good and the manticore came to life. Lizzy saved us.

Lizzy: You saved us.

Sammy: [shrugging] We both saved us.

Lizzy: We make a good team.

Sammy: [smiling] Yeah. We really do.  

Well Elizabeth Shakespeare and Sammy Galletti – thank you both for joining us today. And tune in next week when our very special guests are the Symphonias – the sacred Muses of Music! Find out what Mozart was really like at home! Also they have some juicy secrets on Madonna’s early vocal tracks! See you then!

Now for My review
Lizzy Speare & the Cursed Tomb is a fantastically unique book for middle grades to preteens with an amazing amount of Shakespeare and nearly every fantasy creature imaginable thrown in.  The story line is one that sounded great when the author pitched it to me, but only a few pages into the book I was struggling to read it.  There is a lot of facts, history and information, and variety of characters thrown into this story. At times I found myself wondering what I had just read, what had just happened, and where the story was going.

I think the author has a great idea but needs to focus it a bit more.  The words do not flow as well as it could, and there are a few words that I think are a bit difficult for younger readers to understand.  There is nearly every fantasy type creature imaginable in this story and at times it became confusing to keep track of who was who.  I'd love to see this book rewritten with a little easier to understand language, and more flow to the story.  Otherwise I think this author has great potential with this story.
I'd give this book a 2.5 as is due to the potential to be an absolutely amazing book!

About this author
Ally Malinenko, a self-proclaimed Bardolator, took her first pilgrimage to Stratford-Upon-Avon in 2009 and hasn’t been the same since. Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb is her first children's book. Her poetry book, The Wanting Bone, was published by Six Gallery Press. She blogs at Ally lives in Brooklyn with her husband.

I received one or more books or products in the post above for review purposes only. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All my reviews are my honest and personal opinion .  If you have any questions or comments, please see my FTC disclosure or Review Policy.

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