Combine a complicated and not entirely explained premise involving the link between a mysterious planet and a half-buried desert city, giant scorpions with the power to communicate, and an eccentric cast of characters, and you’ve got a wild ride indeed.
Long ago, the Azimuth people thrived in the beautiful city of Zahir, which was protected by a pyramid that absorbed energy from a planet called Nar Azrak. When a stone was removed from the apex of the pyramid, deadly scorpions invaded the city, and Nar Azrak began to veer off course in a path that would ultimately result in a collision with Earth. Fast forward to present day, and readers find 11-year-old Zagora, her brother, Duncan, and their father, archaeologist Dr. Charles Pym, venturing into the Moroccan desert to rescue Dr. Pym’s long-lost partner and to save Zahir and what remains of the Azimuth people. Although the focus is on the fast-paced, suspenseful plot, some welcome character development is also present. Zagora’s confidence grows, and she and her brother Duncan bond in a way that didn’t seem possible in their previous, ordinary lives.
Loose ends and a fuzzy mythology are flaws that will likely be overlooked by readers who enjoy immersing themselves in adventures featuring creepiness of both the historical and otherworldly varieties. (Fantasy. 9-13)