The third book in the middle-grade Secret Box series culminates the adventures of Jax, Ethan, and Tyler as they try to keep the magical urns of Faith, Hope, and Love from falling into the wrong hands.
Picking up from the cliffhanger ending of The Secret Cipher (2015), 13-year-old Ethan, his older brother, Tyler, and their new friend, Pyrrha, are attempting to retrieve the urn of Love from Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts when their cousin Jax, waiting outside, is kidnapped by the villain Ricardo, introduced in Book 2. Ricardo, actually an immortal named Epimetheus (and Pyrrha’s father), wants all three urns in order to erase Zeus from humankind’s history through domination of the mortal world. Why he wants this is revealed to Tyler and Ethan when they go to the Realm of the Gods and meet Pandora, Epimetheus’ wife. It is a back story that is both poignant and thought-provoking, and it adds a fine emotional nuance to the overall narrative. Following the previous books’ formats, the story is narrated in the first person by Jax and Ethan in alternating chapters. While Ethan’s shy, insecure, but loyal character comes through strongly, Jax’s irreverent voice is sometimes watered down by too much information delivery.
Rich in adventure and Greek mythology, and with an ending sentiment that is thoroughly wonderful, this tale is a satisfying conclusion to the series. (Fantasy. 8-12)