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The Curse of Deadman’s Forest: Oracles of Delphi Keep, Book 2

Review

The Curse of Deadman’s Forest: Oracles of Delphi Keep, Book 2

Thirteen-year-old Ian Wigby (almost 14) and his 11-year-old sister, Theodosia, live in an orphanage called Delphi Keep nestled in the English countryside near the White Cliffs of Dover. In 1939, Ian and Theo discovered a box containing an ancient prophecy. The prophecy spoke of a Guardian protecting a special orphan called The One, and together they would gather six more gifted orphans by traveling through a magical portal. This team of oracles may have a chance to defeat the evil underworld god, Demogorgon, and his four children --- Magus (powered with fire), Caphiera (powered with water), Atroposa (powered with air) and Lachestia (powered with earth). 

In the year since their discovery and first trip through the portal, Ian has accepted his role as Guardian, and Theo’s as The One and the first oracle, the Seer. They and their loyal friend, Carl, another orphan from Delphi Keep, barely survived their portal trip to Morocco where they found the second oracle, the Seeker, a fellow otherwise known as Jaaved, and the second box. The box contained a magical sundial and the next riddle, neither of which they had figured out just yet, but are working on diligently. They do know that their next trip through the portal will be for the third oracle, the Healer, and that it will endanger Ian’s life. With this bit of information, The Earl, who oversees Delphi Keep, has decided that Ian won’t go through the portal when the time comes; to ensure his wishes, he has placed a locked gate in front of the portal.

But life is still far from boring for Ian. As they wait for the next step of the prophecy, Ian, Theo, Carl, the Earl and the professor travel to Spain to track down a clue in an old diary. During the trip, a pretty girl begins to come between Ian and Carl. She seems to like Carl, but Ian has trouble fighting the jealousy that sprouts up, threatening their very friendship. And then a stranger shows up at the orphanage claiming to be Theo’s long-lost father and wanting to take her away to his home. Theo knows he isn’t her father, but the man goes to court with his evidence. If he takes Theo away, Ian no longer will be able to protect her.

A further threat comes to Delphi Keep in the form of a polio outbreak. In a desperate attempt to save their friends, Ian, Theo and Carl sneak away through a secret passage in order to steal the key to the portal; they must find the Healer to save the polio victims. And despite his best intentions to avoid the trip, Ian goes through the portal as well. They end up in Poland, right in the middle of the forest where not only the dangerous Nazis are invading, but also one of the evil offspring is attempting to free his imprisoned sister, all adding up to a huge, catastrophic battle.

Victoria Laurie has a charming writing style that fits well with her 1940 English setting, and her characters are endearing and fascinating. The relationships between them tug at the heart, with the special bond between Ian and Theo, and the solid link between Ian and Carl. Laurie does introduce a tiny bit of romance in this book, creating some conflict between the best friends. The storyline constantly moves, sometimes deliciously inching forward a bit at a time, revealing another piece of the puzzle, other times flying forward with massive action and fantastic adventure. Laurie also cleverly weaves in some life lessons, like standing by your friends and making the right choices, no matter how difficult. Her imagination and storytelling talents are pure genius, and we look forward to future installments of this wonderful series.

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on June 14, 2011

The Curse of Deadman’s Forest: Oracles of Delphi Keep, Book 2
by Victoria Laurie

  • Publication Date: June 14, 2011
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling
  • ISBN-10: 0440422590
  • ISBN-13: 9780440422594