Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Review: Amulet of Scion by J.T. Grobler

Today is another double-whammer with two reviews...because there are just so many awesome reads out there! (Some women love shoes. I love my kidlit). I have read a work or two from this author before and thoroughly enjoyed the tale. So, when I got a chance to peek into this one, I wasn't about to pass it up.

Let's just say that as a reviewer, it's this kind of read which makes me realize how much I love doing what I do. 

by J.T. Grobler
National Library of South Africa
Middle Grade Paranormal / Fantasy
223 pages
ages 8 to 12

"When the amulet calls, and the third sun falls, a heartbeat stalls."

At a Fossil Park, ancient relics go on display - a golden cat, a witch's broom, mysterious twig-people. A child wearing an amulet enters, unaware of the mayhem she's about to cause.

Bailee Paxton wants to help raise money for her friend, Asher. When she takes her amulet for appraisal, it glows the moment the professor touches it. Before long, he’s found in a trance and the relics from his display are missing. Meanwhile, someone… or something, spies on her from the shadows. And piles of salt begin appearing.



A determined girl gets lost in a mystery surrounding curses, witches, and secrets, which lead to more than enough danger and intrigue to keep the reader on the edge of their seats the entire way through. 

While Bailee's father is helping clean up an oil spill off the coast, she lives alone. Well, somewhat. Neighbors and friends are always readily available and help keep an eye out to make sure she's okay. When she learns that her best friend's mother is about to be evicted, and it's her fault a car accident took her best friend's leg, she hopes that by selling the most precious heirloom her mother left her will bring the needed cash. Upon showing the amulet to a relics expert, strange and deadly things begin to happen. With people suddenly falling ill and dying, colored sticks seeming to come to life, and piles of salt appearing all over town, it doesn't take long for rumors of witches and curses to take root.

This is such a fun and well-done read. Bailee is a character to love and root for the entire way through. She's got a bit of spunk and independence, but still is, sometimes, unsure, shy, and a bit at a loss despite her cleverness. Her openness and friendly personality intermingle with hesitation and a dab of scrutiny to pack a full personality...and make her realistic. Add the sympathy, which already unfolds at the loss of her mother and the longing for her father to return, and it's a perfect mix. But then, the other characters carry as much depth and quirks as she does, adding spice and suspicion on every page.

Friendship is key in this tale as Bailee does out of her way to protect her best friend, especially thanks to the guilt she carries after he lost his leg. But friendship also reaches out in new directions, and there is a lesson or too on relationships, judging people without having complete knowledge of what's going on, and remembering to ask for help. 

Messages and friendship aside, this is a quick-paced, adventure-packed, and twist filled read. The mystery behind the amulet is tricky and very hard to figure out. Plus, there is danger and, definitely, secrets around every bend. Everyone could be involved, and that makes it that much more intriguing. The magic plays along the side, adding a hum of imagination. There is death and slightly gruesome moments to keep tension high and add a smidgen of a dark side, too. In other words, it's a read which keeps the pages turning until way after bedtime.

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