Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)'s Reviews > The Basilisk’s Lair

The Basilisk’s Lair by R.L. LaFevers
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's review
Jan 15, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: egypt, childrens_teens_sci-fi, ze_2010_challenge_atwi_80_books
Read in December, 2009

Nate can't believe it... they're lost. And it's all his fault. Aunt Phil relied on him to get them back to the plane with the compass she entrusted to him and he goes and gets them lost. But his navigation lessons are cut short by a band of men on the horizon. There is a telegram for Aunt Phil from Bamanko. The Basilisk has escaped! They are on the move again, but Nate feels not just the hesitation steaming from the fact he feels incompetent, but from the fact that the Basilisk, unlike the Phoenix, is very dangerous, or so he and Greasle learned from sneaking a look in the book. After a stop over in Egypt, where Nate attempts to jump ship, or plane, as it were, they are on their way to the Sudan. The villagers, as can be expected, are very afraid of the death and destruction that the Basilisk might bring... not only that, but if the creature gets to the river the water will be poisoned and all could die. Also, could the Basilisk's escape have anything to do with the mysterious red headed stranger who wishes to pilfer the Fludd's family secrets?

The second installment of R. L. LaFever's new Beastologist series picks up literally moments after the first book ended. Being more conventional than the first, I thought it was a wonderful bridge book, but lacked the originality of the previous installment, yet built up even greater expectations for the next. The first book set up Nate's past and the new journey and new friends he would make in this path his life was taking since the disappearance of his parents. He learned of the wonders of his family heritage and of the value of friends and relatives. He also learned of the dangers that his legacy contains and the threat from outsiders, particularity of red headed men. In this book, we don't get any further revelations, we don't learn any more about his mysterious nanny or about who the red haired man might be, but we do get a great adventure. While I'm a fan of the story arc, the greater movements of the pieces to come to the endgame, sometimes I know you need an interlude, a break from this, and that's what this book felt like.

Even though it is, or perhaps because of it being, only the second book, you can't have too much revelation, you can't have all the secrets revealed and the curtain lifted, because otherwise this would be a very short series, and that is something I don't want. Instead we have Nate learning that the Beasts can be not only very beautiful, but also very dangerous. Here we have a Basilisk, something slightly different, but still familiar to readers who loved Harry Potter. It's the immediate threat of the Basilisk that must be attended to, no matter how much I wanted them to be on their way back to England to get to the bottom of the Fludd's disappearance. I think that this book will really appeal to the younger age bracket for which it is written, versus, say, myself. I have my eyes on the end, where a younger reader will have their eyes on the immediate struggle. And while the way the Basilisk is handled is unique and original I still felt that perhaps this beast is a little overplayed... but then again the Phoenix worked... so perhaps it's just the lack of secondary and tertiary plots that made it fall a little flat for me. But you can count me in as a reader for the next installment, I can't wait to see where Nate goes and see how his friendship with Greasle grows. I just can't get enough of that morally ambiguous, oil eating gremlin, who is always there when you need her most.

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