I received an ecopy of Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb free from the author to review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.
Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb
MEET LIZZY SPEARE…
…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 Cyclops to Middle Eastern cab drivers and Brooklyn hipsters—in what is truly “an improbable fiction” as the Bard himself once wrote.
My Review of Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb
Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb is a wonderful book for not just middle-grade kids but for “kids” of all ages. It is full of adventure and excitement. I found myself so engaged in the story. Lizzy and her best friend Sammy are the perfect pair. Their characters really made the story. They are typical twelve year old children who get caught up in a tremendous adventure.
When Lizzy’s 12th birthday occurs, something unbelievable happens, and she and Sammy are transported to New York City. While there, they learn of a legacy Lizzy never knew she had. She is the last living descendant of William Shakespeare! No wonder she is such a fan!
When my daughter was 16, she went through a Shakespeare phase and had to read him everyday. I can’t say that I was that into the plays when I was her age, but I do enjoy Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Author Ally Malinenko uses Shakespeare throughout the book to introduce chapters and give the reader clues. I found that very enjoyable.
Though everyone tells her she has a gift for writing, Lizzy is very unsure of her talents. I found that to be so believable. I remember how I was at that age. Twelve is that in between age, when you aren’t a little kid anymore, but you aren’t a cool teenager yet either 🙂 Lizzy feels like a real twelve year old. Her best friend Sammy may not have a knack for literature, but he is great at science and remembering things that are relevant to him. Now THAT is totally believable when it comes to twelve year old boys. My son is fifteen now, but he’s always been able to remember things that are important to him. (Unfortunately, science isn’t one of them.) Ms. Malinenko really has the knack for writing realistic characters.
The settings in Lizzy Speare are very descriptive and make the story come alive. The secondary characters are well thought out and not just there for fluff. I really liked the character of Gossamer. She reminds me of one of the fairies in Sleeping Beauty (the Disney version, of course). I loved that she made Lizzy hot chocolate. Very grandmotherly. Cleo is a great addition to the story as well. The scene in which we first meet him is great! It really made me laugh. I love the cat guard (you’ll see!) and all of the passwords. It reminded me of Harry Potter at that point.
All in all, I’d give this book 4.5 stars because it is truly imaginative and enjoyable. It is a longer story, so this might be one you’d like to read with your child. I read all of the Harry Potter books with my daughter and she was a teenager when the series ended. I love those memories. Create your own with your kids and Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb. Can’t wait for book 2 🙂
About the 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.