Monday, October 7, 2013

Read Scary: Nonfiction Monday: Secrets of the Ancient Gods: Anubis Speaks! by Vicky Alvear Shecter, illustrated by Antoine Revoy

I assumed this was a fictional chapter book with a somewhat weird cover and was enchanted to discover it is a...well, it's kind of hard to describe. A narrative of ancient Egyptian beliefs and culture is the best thing I can think of.

Our guide on this often dark and dangerous journey is Anubis, the jackal-headed Egyptian god of the afterlife, or certain aspects of it. Anubis takes the reader through the journey of Ra, the sun, as he travels through the underworld in several stages during the night, battling evil gods and demons. Along the way, we learn about Egyptian mythology and beliefs as well as the culture and some of the history and geography that shaped it.

Anubis is a gleefully gruesome narrator, talking about his duties of weighing hearts and what happens to those unlucky enough not to measure up with ghoulish delight. With snarky asides and egocentric complaints, he narrates the function of the gods and how they functioned in the context of Egyptian culture.

This isn't exactly a scary read, but it's certainly gruesome in parts, since many of the rituals include burial rites and traditions, such as how to make a mummy, and lots of fighting between gods and demons, not to mention the tortures of those who don't weigh equally on Anubis' scales.

Verdict: Hand this to fans of Rick Riordan's myth-based fantasy adventures, to kids obsessed with ancient cultures and mythology, and to those who like gruesome and gory history with a touch of snarky humor. In other words, approximately 60% of any average group of 8-12 year olds. This is the first in a series and I'm looking forward to the sequels.

ISBN: 9781590789957; Published October 2013 by Boyds Mills Press; ARC provided by publisher at ALA annual 2013; Added to the library's order list

1 comment:

shelf-employed said...

Thanks for participating in today's Nonfiction Monday roundup. This does sound like a good companion book for fans of Riordan's, The Kane Chronicles series.