Book Review: Sol Invictus (The Eye of Ra #2) by Ben Gartner

I was provided with an eARC by the author in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

Sol Invictus (The Eye of Ra, #2)

Siblings John and Sarah barely made it home last time, but in their next time traveling adventure the challenge really heats up. Surrounded by clashing cultures on the ancient Roman frontier, they must fulfill their quest to unite the emperor with his enemy, an Alemanni barbarian, or risk being stuck in time forever.

An action-packed fantasy full of sword fights, chariot chases, fearsome wild animals, and high mountain survival. For graduates of the Magic Tree House looking for a thrilling middle grade page-turner, read Sol Invictus, book two of The Eye of Ra series!

My Thoughts:

Oh my my my, this book takes the reader into the heart of ancient Rome! The second book in The Eye of Ra series, follows the siblings, Sarah and John, as they get pulled into a new adventure this time starting at the Museum! This time though, they go into it knowingly, having been told that the fate of the world rests on them. They are told that they are on a quest to unite the emperor with one of his enemies.

The story is action-packed with a lot of fights, chases and hiking! Once again we have a reference to the Sun God, but as perceived in the eyes of the Romans. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and I think that it was even better than the first book. The story is a delight and once again the reader is treated to some historical facts mixed in with some sections where the author has taken creative liberty! There is another delightful recipe at the end, something that John, ‘the Little Chef’ learns during his adventure. The author makes certain references to Book 1 which helps remind the reader of some happenings or experiences from it. However, this book can also be read as a stand alone!

One part of the story that stood out to me was the bond between the siblings. Sarah is struggling for some amount of independence and does not want to have her younger brother trailing her all the time. However, when thrown into adverse situations or faced with a reality where she is separated from him, she starts to appreciate John more. This is wonderful to read about as the siblings rediscover their bond and learn to trust one another again while making new friends in ancient Rome and fighting off the enemy.

This series so far is filled with adventure, mystery and a lot of learning! The author leaves quite a bit to the imagination and through the books encourages us all to indulge in the impossible and enjoy ourselves! And finally, there is a hint that there is more where these books came from, more adventures for Sarah, John and all of us readers, children and adults alike!

Book Review: The Amulet II (The Gallic War) by Fredrik Nath

I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Read on to know my thoughts:

About the Book:

The Gallic War (Amulet, #2)

When Aulus Veridius Scapula flees Pontus his heart is breaking. He has been comfortable there for too long and realises he must find the amulet, stolen from him by his cousin Marcus, for it contains the key to untold wealth. He follows Marcus to Gaul where he fights under Caesar but despite his desperate efforts, he fails to find what he seeks. Sent back to Rome in disgrace, he continues his search, leaving a trail of blood in the streets and the arenas of the Mother City. In this tale of love, battle and family honour, Aulus follows his inexorable fate once again.

My Thoughts:

As mentioned, I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. In all honesty, I admire the way the author has crafted the tale and has written about some of the historic events, interspersing them with the story. He has masterfully used them as a backdrop for the events occurring in the story. I read this book without having read the first one and it is true that to a major extent, this can be read as a stand alone book. However, there are some events that occurred in the first book which do carry over or are mentioned in this one which it would be nice to have an idea of beforehand. Simply put, even though this book can be read as a stand alone, since it is a part of a series, it would be better to read it in order.

The story however does seem a bit of a drag in some parts, with a lot of repetition of details that have already been mentioned. Also, I noted that the story involves an Amulet, but even though it is talked about a lot by the protagonist, not much happens in the story with regard to the same. It feels as though the plot has deviated in this book, focusing more on wars and fighting. However, I choose to believe that the author has done this on purpose, perhaps to set the stage for the next book where the focus may shift.

Overall, it is a decent read with great background details. The description of the wars and fighting was on point and well done. Some of the characters were well introduced and developed and I assume the author has some tricks up his sleeve to be brought out in the upcoming books. A well written tale, it will definitely interest readers who enjoy fiction that involves history, wars and some amount of mystery!