Thursday, December 15, 2011

Early Review - Stealing Magic (Sixty Eight Rooms, Book 2) by Marianne Malone (4/5 stars)

Reading level: Children's/Middle Grade
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
Size: 256 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 24, 2012
ISBN: 978-0375868191
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd in The Sixty-Eight Rooms Adventures
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: 4/5 stars

I got an eGalley of this book to review from the publisher. This book is a sequel to Sixty Eight Rooms, which I read last year and really enjoyed. This book was equally fun and I enjoyed the mystery and magic involved. It seems like there will probably be another book following this one.

Ruthie and Jack thought that their adventures in the Throne Rooms were over. But there are still mysteries to be solved. Historical items are being stole from the rooms and Ruthie and Jack are concerned that these disappearance might be connected with an art thief that is running rampant in Chicago. Now they have to figure out if there is an art thief involved or if someone else has discovered the magic of the Sixty-Eight rooms. On their adventure to solve this mystery they will journey to 1937 Paris where they try and save a girl and her family from Nazis and they will solve the mystery of the strange purse that Ruthie got in the last book.

These are such wonderful books. The story is a bit simple and predictable but it is well put together and well written. Ruthie and Jack are smart and fun kids who have a good relationship with their parents and get drawn into the most wonderful mysteries. I loved that they spend more time in the magic Throne Rooms in this book than they did in the last book.

In the course of their adventure Ruthie and Jack learn a lot about history; they get to visit Paris during the Nazi takeover and they get to visit the South when slavery was still in practice. They solve a wonderful mystery and I really enjoyed how a number of little elements from the first book were tied into this story; it was well planned out and well put together. I can't comment on the artwork throughout because the advanced copy that I had didn't have any artwork completed yet.

Overall I just really enjoyed Ruthie and Jack as characters. I love the mysteries that they get entangled in; and although the book was a bit predictable it was still very well woven together. I find the magic of the Throne Rooms to be absolutely intriguing and magical; I wish that I could go with Ruthie and Jack and go back in time to see all these awesome events in person. This book is a fun read, teaches some interesting history, and has a wonderful mystery. I recommend it highly to middle grade readers who love learning about history, love mysteries, and love a little magic in their stories.

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