Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Review: Kara and the Amulet of Amun-Ra

Title: Kara and the Amulet of Amun-Ra (Book #1)
Author: Paul A Hilton
Released: 30th April 2011
Genre: (Children & Tween) Fantasy (Fiction)
My Rating:  ★★★ (3 out of 5)

Description:

Moving into the old vicarage at Clifton Ridge, fourteen year old Kara is called to the cellar where she finds an ancient wooden door. The door dates back to the days of Ancient Egypt. Trapped inside the door is the soul of Sahu- a long dead Pharaoh.

Kara and her friend Peter agree to help him escape his tomb and live again. But this leads her into direct conflict with the evil Lord Grimm of the manor and his henchman, Kilim. It is a dangerous time for Grimm; his body is dying and now is the time for him to transmigrate. Using the Amulet of Amun-Ra and the help of the Gods of Ancient Egypt he must move into the young body of his son, Lawrence, before it's too late.

Feeling threatened by the door and its prisoner, he orders Kilim to destroy it. With Kilim's assistance, or lack of it, the despicable Lord Grimm is beaten in many ways but he is not yet defeated. Will Sahu get his freedom? Will Grimm transmigrate to his new life? Or will Kara and Peter get the Amulet of Amun-Ra and win the struggle to save Sahu…and themselves?

Structure:

In the first chapter we find the first major plot point; meeting an old Pharaoh named Sahu. The reader is thrown into the troubled waters along with Kara as she is depended on by the dead Pharaoh. Now, the reader has some idea of the goal that the book is focusing on. Although the scene is brief, Paul manages to make the reactions of the characters very relatable.

Moving slightly further on, we are given some insight into another key character. Nothing really happens in this scene but it sets up the reader for an important piece of information in the next chapter. A major piece of the puzzle is subtly revealed, the reader may not yet be aware just how important this information is yet, and then we are given a chapter to push us through to the more critical events.

The next three chapters have clearly been written to prepare the readers for the next major plot point. A sub-plot is successful woven into the story as we glimpse the effects of Lord Grimm trying to rid of them all. Surprisingly, the freedom of Sahu comes next. Some readers would assume that it would be the penultimate plot point, but they would be assuming wrong. The characters and reader are thrown back into the deep end when it seems Kilim, the henchman, has managed to kidnap Sahu. Swiftly, the readers mind is put at rest.

In the next few chapters the reader is just topped up on knowledge of the components that make up the hidden plotline. Now at the centre of the story, it has become clearer just how complex the problem is. It promises the reader more action to come. Disaster, the protagonist and her sidekick are held captive and a fresh piece of essential information is revealed; Grimm’s master plan. However, not being a story to slow down, they escape and we proceed to find a few chapters written solely to push the story to the main parts. Despite being able to call them filler chapters, they are not boring.

Toward the end, the story starts to build up again to the biggest plot point in the book. We meet Grimm’s son- an important element to the plot but never before mentioned- and all hell brakes loose. A lot happens in chapter 20- there are a few deaths and some undiscovered pasts become, well, discovered. The scene quietens down in the last chapter and the ending hints towards a sequel.

In my opinion the last eight or so chapters got me completely lost as to what was going on. I suppose my frame of mind at the time contributed to that. After breaking down the structure, I did see what Paul was doing with the plot. So, as ever, that was purely my own opinion.

Characters:

We do see characters such as Kara and Peter grow throughout the book. Kara, although confident from the beginning, does seem to get a boost as the conflict reaches it’s climax. Peter starts off being slightly unsure around Kara; this is shown through his uncharacteristic reaction to Kara’s questions.

I cannot point out any characters which are in need of adjusting. They all are well-developed and even Lawrence, whom appears for a short amount of time, has a realistic personality. Very well done.

Summary:

The mechanics of the book and the execution of the plot are what made this book work. Although, saying that, the strong characters made the book more enjoyable. I do believe that the book is successful in it’s genre and it is appropriate for it’s young audience. If you know anyone aged 8-13 I would recommend Kara and the Amulet of Amun-Ra. Although, for the slightly older teenager; this may not tick their boxes.


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