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The Pharaoh's Secret

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  483 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Filled with intrigue and surprises, The Pharaoh’s Secret includes Marissa Moss’s original illustrations throughout. The novel skillfully weaves history with a personal story full of heartache and family tensions that will entice and enthrall readers.

When Talibah and her younger brother, Adom, accompany their father, an academic, to his homeland of modern Egypt on his
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Harry N. Abrams
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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  483 ratings  ·  91 reviews

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Laura Smith
Mar 31, 2012 rated it did not like it
This book is floating around grade school libraries and shouldn't be. I loved the Egyptian history, lore and mystery, but the story itself was difficult to follow with multiple names for many of the characters, intricate implied plots and a maturity level too high for grade schoolers. This book is better suited for the high school set due to sexual triangles between pharaoh's and their advisors, resulting in illegitimate children, evil nightmares with haunted images, vicious dead pharaoh's ...more
The premise of this book pretty much reminds me of Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles. Centers on Egypt. Siblings—a boy and a girl. Dad’s an Egyptian scholar. Mom died a few years back. Dad takes the siblings to a museum where it will all begin. Girl’s a whiny little thing. Boy’s a certified geek.

To be honest, the very reason why I picked up this book is because of its appealing cover. Yes, I have a weakness for pretty covers. A sanguine disposition naturally envelops me every time I see them—they
Alicia Alonso
Jan 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It is one of the awesomest books in all time!
This book is amazing!
It is a mix of adventure, mystery, and ancient egyptian history.
The Pharaoh's Secret by Marissa Moss
Aug 28, 2010 rated it liked it
At first I was a bit thrown by how similar this book is to Riordan's The Red Pyramid--at least in premise: a brother and sister who have lost their mother and their dad is a professor of Egyptology. They get caught up in ancient magic and end up having to set things right. I liked this book more than I liked Pyramid, but it still drags a bit towards the end. It is a natural choice for kids who really enjoyed the new Riordan book and does have quality moments of adventure and intrigue. Lots of ...more
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, fiction, atlantis
This is by no means a Rick Riordan book, but, if you're looking for something similar that involves ancient Egypt, or you're just into all things Egypt (like half my family), then this book is definitely for you. It's not as action-packed as The Kane Chronicles, definitely not as long, and it's not as intense either, but it's still a pretty good read and involves information about one of Egypt's greatest pharaohs and the first female, Hatshepsut. I seriously have never heard of her until now, ...more
Gail Carriger
Nov 19, 2009 rated it liked it
Present tense narration not withstanding, and infodumps navigated with some difficultly, I was still left with a pleasant taste in my brain after having read about a modern girl with Egyptian heritage visiting Egypt for the first time. There Talibah and her little brother get involved in a plot to expunge Queen Hatshepsut's name from the record books.
If you are considerign this for a young reader who has interest in Ancient Egypt you might also try Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Pharoah's secret is a really good book. It has been four years since I read this, but it is really good.
I was about eight when I read it, it was a little creepy at times, but it was very awesome!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cassandra Westover
Great adventurous book for younger readers! I loved it in middle school!
Belva Shelor
Aug 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
Good read, little like reading a history book more so than a story. In other words dry and preachy but still enjoyed
Kelly Carey
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I only read this book because it was about Ancient Egypt. It reminded me of the Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris series.
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: teen-book-club
S'ok. Meh. A lot of telling you what's going on, instead of showing. The saving grace is the neat-o Egyptology stuff.
The Pharaoh's Secret is not a bad book, but the excitement one might expect from ancient curses and murders, and from present day cobras and scorpions, never materializes. The story is set in both modern and ancient Egypt, and each setting is well and accurately described. And, except for her oft-repeated, "he hopped from one foot to the other" – a trite, writer's workshop phrase that is pointless if the character is over 5 years old (the boy doing the hopping in this case is 10 and mature for ...more
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Level:V/W, and people who want to learn hieroglyphs
Recommended to Julia by: My teacher
Shelves: 25-text-log
I am writing a book report about the book The Pharaoh's Secret by Marissa Moss. This book is mostly about a girl named Talibah,and a boy named Adom trying to help a servant of Hatshepsut. They think that nobody will be their enemies in the adventure. However, meet Rashid a mean cruel person who is a servant of Hapuseneb. He is trying to stop Talibah, and Adom from knowing the secrets of Hatsheput, and her faithful servant Senenmut. This is quite impossible because Hatshepsut, and her friends ...more
May 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
DNF at 120 pages.

I've done a pretty good job of surrounding myself with good middle grade books. The main MG authors I read are Katherine Applegate, Michael Grant, and Suzanne Collins*. All of them write surprisingly complex MG that takes its audience seriously enough to provide something genuinely thought-provoking. They resist resorting to formula (with varying degrees of success), and they set out to write something with actual artistic merit. Because I read so much of their work, it's easy
Feb 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
At the surface level, this book is a fluffy YA novel about a teenaged Egyptian-American girl who goes to Egypt with her dad and younger brother, and somehow becomes mystically involved in helping solve the mystery of what became of the pharaoh Hatshepsut's lover. Well-written, but - really? Mysterious visitors bringing sacred gifts? Visions of 4000 years ago? At about page 6, I was ready to write this book off.
But then there's the second layer. The whole ancient Egypt story that drives the plot
Jul 21, 2009 rated it did not like it
I was sadly disappointed in The Pharaoh’s Secret. From the synopsis, I was expecting a fast-paced and exciting story but there was a shortage of action and the execution and development of the story were unsatisfactory. I found Talibah’s character hardly developed, while some may argue that this book is for ages 9-13, I still find that Moss could have made Talibah a stronger heroine.

The plot sounded promising but half way through the book, nothing happened. Talibah meets a few odd people,
Taylor Stine
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The Pharaoh's Secret is the story of Talibah and her brother Adom going to Egypt for their first time with their father to discover some of their ancestral roots. It is through these early explorations that the author does a fabulous job of capturing the way Egypt looks as well as the culture and lifestyle. The setting includes reference to ancient as well as modern Egypt and the transitions between the two flow very easily. I even enjoyed the plot revolving around finding out what happened to ...more
Akshita R.
Nov 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It was a really awesome book! It was about a fourteen year-old girl named Talibah and her ten year old brother Adom going on a trip to Eygpt with their father. Their father's college friend, Rashid, welcomes them to go on a VIP tour to go and see Hapuseneb's tomb. Slowly, things start to get mysterious. Talibah starts having nightmares in her dream. Soon she finds out that she needs to bring Hatshepsut and the queen's love, Senenmut. She firgures out that she and her brother are related to ...more
May 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great book that would be enjoyable for boys and girls at about a 5th grade reading level. Would also be a good read-aloud to spark interest in Egyptology.

"The novel skillfully weaves history with a personal story full of heartache and family tensions that will entice and enthrall readers. When Talibah and her younger brother, Adom, accompany their father, an academic, to his homeland of modern Egypt on his research assignment, they become involved in a mystery surrounding an ancient, lost
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
I must admit I was not that impressed by this book. I was reading it for my mom who is an elementary school librarian and she wanted me to read it because I am a quicker reader than she is. She wanted to know if the content was good for 4th-5th grade reading level, which it is. She was concerned that it might be a bit too scary - its not. Overall it was the author's style that I disliked and the way she lacked transition between the character's thoughts and the actual dialogue. Due to the secret ...more
Sep 06, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: interested in adventure, Egypt or fantasy
This is a great story, Talibah and Adom accompany their father on yet another exotic trip in his work as an Egyptologist. The family is still devastated by the children's mother's death many years earlier.
this is a trip they are really looking forward to, it is a return home for Dad and the kids really want to experience the magic of Egypt. They are to learn what we already know, be careful of what you wish for!!
As soon as the family arrives, Talibah is approached by an ancient woman wearing a
Oct 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Marissa Moss really surprised me with this one. I'm familiar with her Amelia's Notebook series from when my sister was little. Most authors tend to stick with what they know, so I was a bit shocked when I put the two together. The book was great, and the 10 year old I tutor is really into it as well. We found at the perfect time, since her social studies class had just started studying Ancient Egypt, and I think that the shifting between ancient and modern really helped keep her interested. ...more
Shannon McGee
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012, royals
After Talibah and Adom mother dies, their father decided it was time to show what he works on. Archaeology of pyramids. He takes them to one of the few queens of Egypt. Talibah begins to have visions and thinks she losing her mind.

I know it is a juvenile kids book but I loved it. I learned about a female pharaoh I had never heard of and the people surrounding her. The mystical way Talibah finds out about the ruler is not really original but how light hearted the book is I am willing to let that
Jun 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, teen, 2016
I liked this book well enough that I finished it in about 3 days even if it wasn't very long. It was a little slow at times but it was a good book. I enjoy reading books that have some sense of Egypt and there was a supernatural connection that was very cool here. I think the reason I probably didn't find it very fast paced was because it was meant for middle grade readers and I am an adult. However I couldn't resist because of the subject. A good quick read for me between reading different ...more
Jul 29, 2015 rated it liked it
An interesting book, I did not find it so similar to the Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan as other readers did. I liked the fact that it focused on the sole female Pharaoh, and I learned a great deal about the Ancient Egyptian concept of an after life, which was fascinating. However the pacing of the book was slow and the main character reiterated her thoughts too many times. Young readers may need this to follow along but I found it a nuisance.

Overall I found it an interesting read that, while a
Hannah Hopkins
Dec 09, 2013 rated it liked it
I thought this book was very good. The book was good but i am not in to history as much as the kids in the book. It was s learning opportunity because it told a lot about ancient egypt and greece. if you like history this book is for you. If you like interesting author and an awesome adventure this book is for you! I thought this book would be a 4 out of 5 it wasn't my favorite but it was written right and interesting. This book was good and suggest if you are looking for a "quick read than you ...more
Chihiro Tanaka
Oct 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
From this book, I learned soo much!! When I started reading this book, I was learning about Egypt in my social studies class so this book had many facts that I didn't know or I did know but wanted to learn more about. This book had a HUGE twists at the end. I didn't expect that to happen so it was so surprising. It wasn't boring at all and I will give this book 5 out of 5! If you have interest or want to learn about Egypt, this book is for you.
Becca Kirkman
Nov 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
A great Egyptian mystery. Talibah and Adom, sister and brother, go on a trip to Egypt with their father. Little did they know that they would be sucked into a thousands of years old mystery. Talibah using clues about Queen Hatshepsut must solve the mystery surrounding her high steward Senenmut.
I really Talibah, and the author tells a great story of healing the past, and preserving the memory of family members lost.
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Who is Marissa Moss anyway?

I’ve been making children’s books for a looooong time. I sent my first picture book to publishers when I was nine, but it wasn’t very good and they didn’t publish it. I didn’t try again until I was a grown-up and then it took five years of sending out stories, getting them rejected, revising them and sending them back over and over until I got my first book. Now I’ve
“It is often while you are looking for something else entirely that you make the most amazing finds.” 13 likes
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