The Drowned Vault

by N. D. Wilson
ages: 10+
First sentence: “The man in the pink shirt stopped outside his house.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Others in the series: The Dragon’s Tooth

I’ve been looking for quite some time for that book to give kids who love the Percy Jackson series. Something fantasy, of course. But with a bit of mythology, a gripping story, a bit of humor, fast-paced, and likeable characters as well.

I’ve found my series.

I read this one out of order: The Drowned Vault is the second in The Ashtown Burials series. But, honestly? It didn’t matter. Yeah, there was some stuff that I didn’t fully  understand because I haven’t read the first one (yet), but it was such a fun, interesting, cool world that Wilson developed it didn’t really matter.

From what I can gather: there are immortals abroad, and there’s a team of mortals — called the Order of Brendan — that basically keep the immortals in check. Brother-sister team Cyrus and Antigone Smith are recent inductees into this Order (I’m assuming all this comes down in Book 1), and they have let something called the Dragon’s Tooth (Ah! The name of the first book) — which can kill immortals — fall into the hands of the Bad Guy, Phoenix. This puts them a bit on the outs with both the immortals and the O of B (as it’s often referred to), so the main goal of this book is to get the Dragon’s Tooth back from Phoenix. This is not as easy as it sounds (it sounded easy?). Especially since the immortals are banding with another Big Baddie, the brother of one of the Vlads (you know, as in Vlad the Impaler), Radu Bey, who is head of the Dracul order, which (obviously) wants to Take Over. So, not only do they need to stop Phoenix from raising an army of dead people, they need to stop Radu as well. And this means they need to raise the Buried. (Don’t ask. It’s much too complicated for here.)

I know that didn’t make much sense (moral: read the first one first!), but it really is a lot of fun. There’s humor, action-packed battle scenes, the girls are as awesome as the guys (Antigone reminds me a lot of Annabeth and Hermione, and there’s this really kick-butt older girl, Diana Boone), and Wilson mixes world mythology with American history, for a really unique world feel.

So, yeah: I’ve found a new series to be a fan of. I’ve already bought the first one and I can’t wait for the next. Bring it on!

(Just for the record: because this is a Cybils nominee, I’ve been asked to make sure y’all know this is my opinion only, and not that of the panel.)

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