“KA-TASTROPHY” Or “The story erupted from his mouth like vomit.”
I got this book for free as a win from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program. Thanks!
There are books I’d love to just completely forget about, e. g. Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter so that I could read them again for the first time. Others, I simply want to forget. This book is one of the latter.
Reading “Jagger Jones and the Mummy’s Ankh” does indeed feel like the story erupted from [the author’s] mouth like vomit. Seriously, as an author you should be able to at least stay above that level. That seems to be the primary issue, though: The author, Malayna Evans, is the self-professed “author of the middle grade time travel series, The Egyptified Joneses” (from her blurb at Amazon) – despite this being her debut title and she simply can’t write:
– Evans’s severely limited vocabulary shows all over the place, e. g. all people are doing if they’re in distress or even hurt is moaning:
Jagger moaned as his little sister spun and zoomed back into the house. Jagger moaned when his phone Jagger moaned as Tatia draped a dress over Wenher moaned through clenched teeth as she slowed the horses. Jagger moaned. Was he really being profiled in ancient Egypt?
And this is just a careful selection from around 30 moans. The characters’ voices often “crack” as well and oftentimes it’s not quite clear why – was the cracked voice trying to be stern? Is it just puberty or was the speaker so emotional his voice cracked? Mostly, we don’t know. Nor do we care.
– Oh, and grammar surely is important for any author to make themselves clear:
He flinched, startled by a huge, black cat that jumped onto the railing separating the street from the park, running miles along the lake, teeming with bikers and dog walkers.
The railing teems with bikers and dog walkers? Wow, that must be a busy railing, indeed, and so many artistic people!
She leaned into the captain, whispering, as the prince steered he and Aria into the rectangular building on
He and Aria? I think not. Maybe some comma might have helped to save that sentence but, alas, Evans liberally sprinkles them all over the place…
They must be in one of the small, storage rooms adjoining it.
… making it painfully clear she doesn’t know how to use them.
Now, I’ve read books that were saved by their story – not so in this case, though, because the story is bland and uninspired: Two kids get magicked back in time to ancient Egypt, save the Pharaoh and his family and secure “Death life” (afterlife) for one of his daughters. Story telling mostly consists of either someone using mono-syllabic magic (“Bind!”) to make happen whatever needs happening (and that includes everything but the book ending). Alternatively, Aria (yes, seriously, the “y” stayed over at Ice and Fire) dives into her seemingly bottomless pink purse (or maybe it’s a disguised TARDIS?) and – TADA! – finds just the thing they need (chewing gum, bug repellent…) to save the day.
None of the characters are in any way relatable, interesting or at least likeable. In fact, each and every character is boring, clichéd and guaranteed not to develop in any way. You simply don’t care if Aria, her brother or anyone else lives or dies. Or the people they try to save.
In a nutshell: This book is a complete, utter, irredeemable failure without any saving graces. Don’t believe me? Want to know if this book might actually be for you?
Just try reading the following chapter headings without cringing (my favourites are written in bold) – if you’re successful, read the entire thing; otherwise, do something more worthwhile like watching paint dry or grass grow:
– IN DE NILE – I WANT MY MUMMY! – A ROYAL SHOCK – KA-TASTROPHY – STRUCK BY AMULET-NING – DRESSED TO … KIDNAP? – FOLLOW YOUR PRINCE-IBLES – DON’T HATE ME ‘CAUSE I’M MUT-IFUL – WHAT THE CROC? – PARADING WITH KHONS-WHO? – TEMPLE RUN – HOLY HERIHOR – SNAKE HASTE – SEIZE THE … SPRAY? – THAT’S THE GENERAL IDEA – HISSSSSY FIT – A BALL AND PAIN – DA FEET – NOT TOO SHABTI – STAY WOKE – FUR-EVER AND EVER? – THAT’S CHARMING – PURR-TING COMPANY – SELFIE CARE – HOW DO YOU SPELL HOME?