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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

A thrilling, fast-paced middle grade that blends Indiana Jones-style treasure hunting with World War II spies and time travel adventure! At the height of World War II, Isaac Wolf's parents send him from his home in Prague to Scotland alone. They give him a pendant in the shape of an eternity knot, and assure him that he will be safe if he can find this symbol in Scotland. The clue leads him to …

The Artifact Hunters

by Janet Fox

Overall Book Review:

In The Artifact Hunters, Janet Fox takes readers on a journey through World War II era Europe with stops in other eras and locations by way of magical time travel. This book is a fast-paced, adventurous read that will keep young readers entertained by the escapades of the similarly young protagonists. This is the sort of fantastical story that should grab a child’s attention with its magic, its exciting settings, and its fun cast of characters, most of whom are around the same age as the intended reader audience.

The characters in this book are good and noble. At least, the heroes are. The villains are suitably evil to make the characters face genuine peril, but the evil of the villains serves to make the heroes’ goodness shine that much brighter. The heroes constantly help each other, as well as others outside their circle of friends, and they are welcoming to a boy who is a newcomer to their group, even if he is a little odd. All of the children in this book are creative, studious, and capable, demonstrating qualities that it would be beneficial for readers to model. The question of what really makes a person good and heroic, or evil, is a recurrent theme of this book.

The setting of this book, or rather the settings since the book wanders through many different and interesting places, really positions this book apart. The characters visit various times and places and, in some cases, meet famous people, at least in passing. These chance meetings will thrill a young history enthusiast, or may set a reader on the path of trying to learn more about historical people. Some of the settings are pure fantasy, and in those cases, the author describes them well enough to make them vibrant without being tedious in the descriptions.

A young reader who picks up this book is in for an exciting, magical treat.

Review of an Advance Reading Copy provided by the Publisher

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  A few uses of the British “bloody” (not tallied).

Violence/Gore:  Report of a past war; a few reports of a murders; report of a fight with a monster resulting in someone being knocked unconscious; a character has a few brief scary visions (which are not graphic); a character is stalked by monsters in a spooky scene; animals growl at or chase children a few times; report of bullies pushing a child; a character kicks another; a natural disaster damages buildings; a character cuts himself multiple times with a knife as part of a magical ritual; a character is magically transformed into a monster; a character is petrified (this is a humorous scene); characters use magic to attack each other; a character threatens another with a weapon; a monster bites a character.

Sex/Nudity:  A boy and girl hug.

Mature Subject Matter:

Nazism; war; bullying.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Mention that adult characters might be drunk.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

My taste in literature leans heavily towards sci-fi, fantasy, and (my favorite) horror, and the latter can present some fairly murky waters for parents to let their children explore. I enjoy novels of both the standard and graphic varieties. Since those genres, and graphic novels in particular, tend to appeal to boys, I hope that I can help other Boy Mommies in their quest to find books that their little video gamers--I mean, future bibliophiles will read and enjoy. When I am not reading, I enjoy tabletop role-playing games, video games, and singing karaoke. I have a wonderful husband who lets me indulge my reading habit by sharing the housework and being a great dad to our genius kids and their faithful hound.