Book Review: Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus by R. L. LaFevers

theodosia and the eyes of horus Review: Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris by RL LaFevers


Three books in, Im delighted to be able to say that Theodosia Throckmorton is growing on me. Theo has all of the characteristics I tend to love in a character: shes witty, shes independent, shes switched on, and she doesnt give a rats about the way things should'be done. But unfortunately for the first two novels in this promising series I found Theo just a tad too holier-and-smarter-and-everythinger-than-thou, and there was something about her archness that prevented me from being able to identify with her as much as Id have liked.

However, in Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus, Theo gets herself a pair of britches for which shes not too big, and she indulges in just enough humble pie to make her quite pleasant to spend a few hundred pages with. This is fabulous news, because theres so much about this series that impresses: beautifully evocative writing, arcana galore, and a setting that becomes increasingly real to the reader with with each passing volume. The lack of opportunities for women, the Othering of people of colour, and limited social mobility and its consequences are all touched upon, but LaFevers does so while keeping things light enough not to alienate the MG set.

In The Eyes of Horus, Theos efforts to take an evening off from her perspicacious assault on all things bookish go awry when the magician performer up on stage seems very much to be the real thing. Awi Bubu isnt the fake that Theo expects him to be: hes not just a crowd charmer, but hes quite possibly a snake-charmer, too. Theo, rather studied in all manner all things Egyptology, suspects that Awi Bubu may be hiding something. And when, after Theos brother comes across a long-lost Egyptian artefact, Awi Bubu starts popping up on the scene with both frequency and fervour, Theos investigative nose starts twitching.

But its not easy being a young female Egyptologist-turned-sleuth in Edwardian England, and Theo is stymied at every turn by secret societies, groups, and clubs, all of whom have muddled agendas that seem to have one thing in common: getting in Theos way. Theres also the small matter of a certain returned-from-the-dead fugitive who has his sights on Theos life, and the late-stage reveal that despite her efforts towards being less of an egocentric narcissist, Theo is actually quite important in the wider scheme of thingsimportant enough that she has her own prophecy. And perhaps best of all, cranky Grandmother Throckmorton shows everyone what for, too.

LaFevers has a lot of balls in the air here, but for the first time theres the sense that these books are part of a larger narrative arc rather than simply self-contained volumes, and we can see the plot beginning to stretch out beyond the final pages. Theo becomes much more balanced in this third outing, and her occasional flights of precociousness are tempered by the strong supporting castSticky Will, Henry Throckmorton, and the giddying array of secret society members, all of whom seem to have about them somewhat of an ick factor. Plot-wise, though, things move a little slowly, with much of the book given over to the various cults abducting, harassing or generally getting in the way of Theo, and theres a good deal of research and revelatory stuff going on that chews up page space without advancing things too much (quite the opposite in fact)if only novels could nicely incorporate a filmic montage.

Still, the third time is the charm for Theo, and Ill be keeping an eye out for her continued adventures.

With thanks to Simple Schooling for the review copy

Rating: ????? (very good)

Purchase Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus'from Amazon | Book Depository USA | Book Depository UK

See our review of'Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos

See our review of Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris

Other books by R L LaFevers:

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