Review Detail

Middle Grade Fiction 126
Uncovering the Family Secrets
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
The most interesting character is the family’s “dog” named Nyx. It’s actually a Gabriel Hound and it strikes fear into all of the citizens of Falinnheim. Actually, Tuesday and Zed are unaware their family pet can burst into flames and attack anyone threatening the family until they’re transported to another dimension. As terrifying as Nyx can be as a Gabriel Hound, she can be a playful, loving friend when back in her dog form. The kids are lost in Falinnheim but Nyx seems to know where they’re supposed to go. Tuesday and Zed put their trust in Nyx that she will safely deliver them where they’re meant to be. However, other characters have different intentions for the children.
The author effectively keeps the mystery of the parents going throughout the first third of the book. Tuesday is especially suspicious of them since she doesn’t know what her father does at work and they apparently have no other relatives. What kind of people would name their kids Tuesday June Furst and Zed? Their mother doesn’t go anywhere without Nyx by her side so it’s strange she’d leave on a “business trip” with their father but leave Nyx behind with the kids. Tuesday and Zed realize their suspicions have merit when two men break into their home intending to kidnap them. Readers will wonder what’s going on right along with Tuesday and Zed.
The teamwork displayed between the two siblings is admirable and entertaining as they take turns discovering useful information. Zed is more thoughtful as he tries to understand the connections between all of the events and the evidence they uncover. He takes his time to reflect. Tuesday is more emotional and impulsive and tends to act and speak when angered. She is also very intelligent and new thoughts evolve when exchanging ideas with Zed. Decoding the posted nursery rhymes is a great example of them working together. Tuesday’s surprised at times when Zed shares information with strangers but he always has a good reason behind it. For example, their captors have had many opportunities to kill them so why not answer their questions now?
What didn’t work as well:
Nyx always comes to the rescue when Zed and Tuesday are in danger but it would be more exciting and add some variety if the kids were able to use their own skills and brains sometimes. They’re intelligent characters so it’s definitely within the realm of possibility. As it is, readers know the kids will always be safe when Nyx comes to the rescue.
The Final Verdict:
The overall premise of the story isn’t overly unique but a protective Gabriel Hound is a nice twist. The plot moves along smoothly and quickly and reveals some surprising truths regarding several characters, especially toward the end. Lovers of adventure will definitely enjoy the book and I recommend you give it a shot.
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