Majanka's Reviews > Shadow of the Sphinx

Shadow of the Sphinx by Carla Jablonski
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Dec 02, 2011

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bookshelves: charmed, fantasy, witches
Read in December, 2011

Shadow of the Sphinx is the sixth novel in the Charmed Series, not counting the Charmed Classics. The Charmed Series features the main characters from Season Four and up: Piper, Phoebe and Paige. Cole and Leo appear a lot as well, the first one either in his human form, happily in love with Phoebe, or during his descend into evilness. I thought this book was one of the most enjoyable Charmed novels, especially considering it’s original setting (time travel to Ancient Egypt? Count me in…) and charismatic but socially-awkward (I’ll explain later how these two things can be combined) Tyler. But it’s also one of the books that is extremely far-stretched, even for the Charmed Universe. Paige shapeshifting into a feline is one thing, but time travel is something else alltogether. We see it occassionally in the Charmed Series, but even for the Charmed Ones, Ancient Egypt is a bit far-stretched. Also, the fact that little Tyler supposedly relies on Paige’s power, raised quite some question marks with yours truly.

The story starts off with Paige being extremely stupid, as usually, mainly because she still feels bad for not having as much power as her sisters have. Or so she thinks, because in my opinion orbing things from one place to another, is pretty damn awesome. To prove her skills to herself and her sisters, she decides to shapeshift into a cat, obviously forgetting the fact that felines don’t talk and they certainly don’t say spells out loud. A mistake that will cost her dearly as her sisters, oblivious to Paige’s shapeshifting experiment, mistake her for an actual feline and bring her to the animal shelter.

Her sisters realize their mistake later on that night, when they started to wonder about Paige’s whereabouts and catch the Book of Shadows showing a shapeshifting spell. As fast as possible, they race to the animal shelter, only to discover that Paige has already been taken. Paige’s new ‘owner’ is a young, socially-awkward but undeniably handsome fellow named Tyler. Since his nowadays life somewhat sucks, Tyler has grown obsessed with Ancient Egypt, their Gods (Bastet, the cat goddess ring a bell to anyone?), their habits and lifestyle. Luckily for Tyler, he isn’t the only socially-awkward person with a knack for Ancient Egypt, because he has succeeded in putting together a group of Egypt-fanatics and they perform bizarre rituals every other week, in hopes of accomplishing…well, what exactly they hop to accomplish, they don’t know. Tyler does though, but his wannabe-Egyptian-Gods friends don’t have a clue. That doesn’t keep them from actively participating in the rituals though, and the chanting, and the weird dress code.

Except this time, Tyler’s plan actually works, mostly because he’s channeling magic from Paige. Tyler and his new feline friend are transported back in time to Ancient Egypt. But although cats are worshipped there like the divine little creatures they are, and Tyler undergoes a sudden personality change – gone is the timid, awkward young man and hello to the confident and charismatic version of him – that doesn’t mean they can stay in Egypt forever. For one, Paige would like to be able to fit into her clothes again, and actually have a conversation with someone other than Tyler. But things are strange in Ancient Egypt. For some reason, Tyler can understand Paige when she talks to him in cat-form, and he can channel her magic as well. But the mystery only grows greater when the other Charmed Ones go on a trip back in time as well, and accidently kidnap the wrong feline.

Of all the Charmed books, Shadow of the Sphinx is one of the most original. It was difficult imagining the Charmed Ones in Ancient Egypt though, and I would have liked it if the book focused more on how they would behave/react/try to fit in, rather than burst into energyball-throwing action. I liked the character of Tyler, someone who’s painfully aware that he doesn’t really fit in this world, but reacts all the more naturally to an Ancient, long forgotten culture. I also love the idea of time travel – always have, always will, Back to The Future-fan all the way, but I do think a lot of stuff happened too fast, and the time travelling was a bit too easy in this one. Certainly the Charmed Ones have a lot of magickal skills up their sleeves, but going back in time and altering events with just a flick of a wand (so to speak), is a bit far-stretched. Especially considering the fact Tyler did that all on his own, simply by channeling Paige’s magic while she’s in feline form. A nice thought, but it could have been explained better.

Apart from that, the story is original, action-packed and at times downright hilarious. Although we get a whiny Paige at first (for some reason, nearly every Charmed book starts out with Paige whining about not having awesome powers, not being able to control her powers, or about not having a boyfriend like both her sisters have), she soon develops into the powerful and confident Paige we all know and love. Recommended to all Charmed fans, and bonus points for being funny and original.
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