Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 713
Adventure and Mystery Abound
Overall rating
Writing Style
Curse of the Specter Queen by Jenny Elder Moke is Indiana Jones meets The Mummy (1999) and encompasses everything I could possibly want in a book. There’s action and adventure, a hint of romance, a curse, and a lot of puzzle solving all set in beautiful Ireland. Following Samantha Knox as she sets out to discover the mysteries behind an ancient journal, Curse of the Specter Queen is for all the kids who grew up longing for adventure.

Sam is a wonderfully complex character. She is set in her ways, working at her friend’s father’s antique bookshop restoring and cataloguing the books. When a mysterious package arrives with an ancient diary and brings with it the destruction of her bookshop, Sam becomes determined to uncover its origins. Believing her friends are in danger, Sam will stop at nothing until she discovers the truth. I really like Sam. She’s shy and a bit backwards, very smart, and yet she hides herself away. She shies away from the spotlight, and for the last seven years has spent her life mourning her father and shunning those she was once close to.

Joana and Bennett Steeling were once Sam’s closest friends, and now they hardly speak to one another. I love Jo. She’s the exact opposite of Sam. She’s feisty, spunky, and headstrong. Jo brings out the best in Sam, allowing her the space she needs to work and providing the tools to do so. I loved Bennett too! He is Sam’s unrequited, childhood crush. Like Sam, he’s a little shy and backwards, at least around Sam.

The diary was sent to Bennett from his professor in Ireland. He is joining him there for an archaeological dig on the Hellfire Club, an ancient organization who practiced dark magic and worshipped Ireland’s three-faced goddess the Morrigan. When the shop is burned by men searching for the diary, Jo and Sam set off to try and warn Bennett before it is too late. I loved the action and adventure throughout the story. The pacing was steady, sucking me into the story. I didn’t want to set it down! I loved the historical setting (somewhere in the mid to late 1920s if I had to guess), and the characters helped to drive the plot.

Overall I really enjoyed Curse of the Specter Queen. Sam is a wonderful character. I hope to get more adventures with her as she sets off with Bennett and Jo. If you enjoy historical fiction with a bit of fantasy and a heaping of adventure, I highly recommend it.
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