…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 Cyclopses to Middle Eastern cab drivers and Brooklyn hipsters—in what is truly “an improbable fiction” as the Bard himself once wrote.
*May Contain Spoilers*
Ally Malinenko creates a mythological, fantastical world in which the last living descendant of William Shakespeare is the main character and the only hope of fictional history in the novel, Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb. A story that started long before Lizzy's time continues on her twelfth birthday when her father is kidnapped. She finds herself in a world never imagined facing an enemy who wants nothing but her birthright.
Lizzy is a twelve year old who loves to write and knows everything Shakespeare. She's quite a determined little girl who doesn't shy away from things she doesn't understand, such as time travel or mythological creatures. When her father is kidnapped, she is only concerned with finding him and stops at nothing to do so. Even facing off against Marlowe, who wants to steal her fortune and leave her for dead. Readers will love her fearless nature and intelligence while connecting with her based on her loyalty to others, especially her dad. Though some may have trouble believing that a such a young girl is capable of everything she succeeds in. But hey, it's fantasy!
The plot of the story is as twisted as Jonathan Muse's castle with doors that always lead to the same thing, some that lead to various places and times, while others disappear completely. The book is creativity at its finest, as Malinenko weaves history together to form her story line. When Shakespeare's fortune is on the line and his last living descendant in danger, readers will have no choice but to root for the obvious historical favorite. Be warned, this is book one of a series. You'll want to be on the look out for number two.
Rating: 4/5 Cups
Book 2 (Fantasy Genre) for the 2013 Genre Variety Challenge