A 16-year-old travels thousands of years back in time in this YA adventure combining fantasy, history, mystery, and a touch of romance.
Teenage Alyssa Morgan has grown up helping her widowed father, Kade Morgan, on archaeology digs. After the Egyptologist contracts a mysterious illness while excavating at the Great Sphinx of Giza, Alyssa is determined to help him, even if it means parachuting off an Andean mountain, faking a medical credential to access the London office of the World Health Organization, or defying ruthless, international grave robbers. She even leads an assassin on a car chase that fans of the 2017 movie Baby Driver will likely admire. Debut author Sasinowski creates captivating action and an empowered central character that will appeal to many teenage girls, as will her adoring male supporters, who never dominate the proceedings. Paul Matthews, a college intern at WHO with a charming British accent, supports Alyssa and provides gentle humor—as well as muscle—when needed. His 16-year-old friend, Clay Obono, whom he calls a “computer geek extraordinaire,” becomes another important partner; he uses a laser and virtual-reality technology to help Alyssa step into the body of a man in the distant past and unlock the secrets of a crystal that her dad later found deep under the Sphinx. Science aficionados will enjoy Clay’s techno-speak, as well as Alyssa’s love of the 1990s TV show Bill Nye the Science Guy. One aspect that may trouble some readers, though, is the fact that Alyssa experiences ancient Egypt through male eyes, but it’s a plot device that works well. Sasinowski’s descriptions are spare, but the simple details, such as a villain’s “bull neck” and “cold” eyes, are effective.
An engaging adventure for readers who love stories with ancient Egyptian themes and strong heroines.