EYE OF THE DESERT by NK Bauer

EYE OF THE DESERT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Mystical amulets, magical scrolls and unspeakable evil re-emerge in Egypt.

Five years ago, Elizabeth Stanford’s adventurous grandmother Victoria disappeared abroad under mysterious circumstances. Now, Elizabeth has lucid dreams that transport her to ancient Egyptian temples. To Elizabeth and her short-tempered friend Maddie, the connection is obvious—Victoria was an Egyptophile, Elizabeth dreams of Egypt, therefore, Victoria must be alive and telepathically contacting Elizabeth. The friends decide to travel to Egypt in search of Victoria. Fortuitously, on the flight over, Elizabeth meets Violet, a spirited elderly woman who happens to have known Victoria before her disappearance. She offers to put up Elizabeth and Maddie at her villa in Cairo, despite Maddie’s protests, and to aid in their search. A cursory exploration of famous ancient monuments, with the insightfulness of a middle-school field trip, yields nothing. But in a busy marketplace, an unassuming amulet draws in Elizabeth and no one else, setting her on a journey through time, space and a few imaginative set-pieces. Quickly, Elizabeth finds herself on the standard magical mystery tour; a shadowy cabal, the pending advent of ultimate evil and tortured poetry as incantations. Various supernatural forces suddenly appear to fight for good or evil, or at least ineloquently discuss it, but their intentions, as well as the actualities of this newly revealed magical realm, regardless of its believability, remain deliberately obscured to the point of frustration. The narrative’s unbecoming present-tense, passive voice further dries up the telling. Briefly—precisely 30 seconds, according to the time-fixated narrator—the story shakes to life in its surprisingly brutal climax. Disaster and destruction are welcomed in the end, if only as alternatives to customer service-like conversations about the mystery of it all—abstruse declarations mistaken for profundity. After hearing one too many riddles posed by faceless hooded figures, even Elizabeth becomes bored by the vagueness: “Stop wasting my time.”

A mystical adventure in need of some soul-searching.

Pub Date: Aug. 10th, 2010
ISBN: 978-1453720929
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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