Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pandora Gets Vain by Carolyn Hennesy

Carolyn Hennesy has created a book series that combines adventure and fun with an introduction to mythology in a format that entertains and educates young readers. Pandora, a thirteen year old girl has through curiosity, unleashed the evils contained in a box entrusted to her family by the gods. Regardless of her intent, the result was setting free evil in the world. Now she is tasked with recapturing all these evils so that the world is safe and her family is not eternally punished. Her friends, Alcie and Iole, accompany her on her mission.

In this second book of the series, Pandora Gets Vain, the girls are on the trail of Vanity which they have determined is in Egypt. The book opens with a terrific storm at sea, which has been sent by Hera. Hera is jealous of Pandora and tries to thwart her mission at every turn. Homer, the young poet, has been sent by his father to guard them. They soon are involved in spine-tingling adventures such as combatting ancient guardians of pyramids and tombs, traveling with a group of magicians and carnival folks, and being rescued by dolphins from a watery grave. They wend their way to Egypt, where Vanity, in the form of a mirror, is in the possession of Cleopatra, the most beautiful Egyptian ruler. The unfolding of the capture of Vanity forms the backbone of the book. Gods encountered along the way include Poseidon, Apollo, Osiris, Hera and Athena. There are mummies, villians and heroes and the rewards and wonders of friendship which helps one overcome obstacles.

Hennesy has a hit series on her hands. Along with the excitement of the various adventures, young readers are introduced to mythological characters. Pandora and her friends are typical tweens and share the characteristics of young teenagers while also being tasked with an overwhelming responsibility. Consequences of actions are made plain as is the message of taking responsibility for one's actions. The various gods and historical figures introduced in the book give readers an interesting introduction to these characters. The series will continue as the rest of the evils unleashed on the world are recaptured by Pandora and her friends. This book is highly recommended for young teenage readers.

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