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Review of 'Seven Wonders: The Tomb of Shadows' by Peter Lerangis

Fabulous book in middle grade adventure series
Fabulous book in middle grade adventure series
courtesy of Harper

Seven Wonders: The Tomb of Shadows by Peter Lerangis

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"Seven Wonders: The Tomb of Shadows" is the third book in the "Seven Wonders" series by fabulous author Peter Lerangis. The first in the series, "The Colossus Rises," introduces the young teen protagonists and explains their problem. The story continues with "Lost in Babylon," and this third entry again takes us into the lives and adventures of the Select, as the group is called.

Jack, the narrator, is kidnapped from his home in the first book and he finds himself on a remote island with three other young teens (none of them are yet fourteen). They all have an unusual mark on their head which means they are descendants of an ancient family from Atlantis.

From my review of the first book: It starts with a boy, Jack, who is kidnapped to save him from certain death. He finds that he and three others were brought to a mysterious island (the remains of Atlantis) to save their lives and possibly to save the world.

His three companions suffer from the same rare disease (or inherited gene that can cause death or superpowers). Aly is a genius computer hacker, Marco has unbelievable physical abilities, and Cass is a human GPS (and also can speak backwards at will).

This third book takes the group to the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. The opposing group, the Massa, have gotten closer to Jack's group, KI. And Jack realized that somehow his mother, who they thought had been killed when he was six, is a part of the Massa. But with her help, they had escaped the Massa in the second book.

In this book (spoiler alert!), Jack meets his mother in person, and ends up getting help from his father. The action, again, never stops, and entwined with the action are anagrams, number clues and brilliant dialogue.

Lerangis intellectually respects his middle grade audience. He challenges them to rise to his writing, and as they are immersed in and enchanted with the story, they begin to understand that seventeenth century English can be a breeze. Toward that end, Lerangis creates a fabulous character, Dr. Canaver, a kind of misshapen genius, who speaketh in this manner, "Thou forcest me to let thee inside with a magnetic card, and then thou belittlest a hallowed site."

Action, adventure, danger, zombies and spirits are in plentiful supply, and Lerangis also manages to include gobs of wonderful humor. And even though the story features sacrifice, death and despair, it also speaks to loyalty, friendship, family and honor.

Is it over the top? Absolutely -- but in a way that is virtually guaranteed to draw in middle grade readers. It's not just fun, it's not just clever, it's not just adventure -- it's addicting.

Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, HarperCollins, for review purposes.

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