Book Review: “Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris” by R.L. LaFevers

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It’s tough to be a swashbuckling hero when you’re a twelve-year-old girl in Victorian England. No one feels this more deeply than Theodosia Throckmorton, who at one point in this novel observes that even a jackal statue come to life and run amuck in the streets of London has more freedom than she does. Partly this is a result of the expectations held over young ladies of the time, embodied by her sternly disapproving Grandmother. Partly it is a side effect of being as deep undercover as possible for a secret agent battling the combined forces of ancient Egyptian curses and an international conspiracy to sow conflict between the English and the Germans.

Yes, the Serpents of Chaos are back, even after the drubbing Theodosia gave them in her previous adventure. This time their scheme involves an ancient staff of tremendous magical power. It can make mummies walk the streets of London at night. But it has even nastier powers, which will soon be aimed at one of Britain’s most valuable military assets. Meanwhile, Theo’s father is in trouble with the law, her friend Sticky Will is in trouble with someone on the other side of the law, and some of the quirky assistant curators at Father’s museum reveal their own surprising secrets. With loads of evil magic to lay to rest, a plot against her country to foil, a kooky secret society on her trail, and a series of demanding governesses trying to mold Theo into a proper young lady, she has more trouble than time to deal with it. Luckily, she is a resourceful girl with the wit to be prepared for almost anything.

This fun, magical romp is Book 2 in a series that continues with Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus and Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh. Because Theo uses, and interacts with, magic based on the religion of ancient Egypt, I owe concerned Christian parents an “occult content advisory.” Besides these books, R.L. LaFevers is also the author of (at present) four books featuring Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist, a trilogy titled Lowthar’s Blade, and juvenile fantasy novels The Falconmaster and Werewolf Rising.