by Ben Mezrich
Reader Appeal: Teens and Adults
Genre: Fiction / Suspense
PopFam Rating: A
Ben Mezrich is a bestselling author, yes, with his books adapted into hit movies as well but...up to this point Ben has always written nonfiction. When I heard that he'd decided to conquer suspense fiction as well, I was intrigued! I’ve been fascinated by his storytelling style in nonfiction works like The Accidental Billionaires and Bringing Down the House, so I had to find out what was going on with his new novel.
Seven Wonders follows the adventures of "field anthropologist" Jack Grady. Think of Jack as an Indiana Jones type of character, but more believable. When his twin brother is stabbed to death by an ivory spear reminiscent of ancient Amazon warriors, Jack determines to solve the murder. Joining him on the quest is the whip-smart (and beautiful, of course) botanist, Sloane Costa and Jack's own grad student brain trust. What follows is a globe-trotting journey through thrills and danger as Jack tries to uncover the secrets of an ancient world now dangerously manifesting themselves in modern days.
Seven Wonders definitely lived up to my expectations. It was full of twists and turns that kept me guessing—and turning pages. It was smartly written, incorporating history, mythology, science and even geography, but I didn’t feel like I had to have PhD to keep up.
Plus, from the very beginning there was lots of action! That kept the plot moving for me. Best of all, it was a plot that actually made sense—not just action for action’s sake. Mezrich's characters were Indiana Jones-ish, but not too heroic to be unbelievable. They seemed like real people with real flaws, out on an amazing, unexpected adventure.
The book does include some line drawings as well, which was helpful in some places. In fact, I wished there'd been more of those because there were some hieroglyphics that were hard for me to picture in my mind. I would've liked to get a better picture of some of the clues Jack explored, and additional line drawings would've helped. Still, that was a minor issue that stems mainly from the fact that Mezrich got me so wrapped up in his story that I wanted to take in every detail.
In all, I really liked Seven Wonders, devouring it in just a few sittings. I think both teens and parents will enjoy this novel—and that you'll have fun talking about it afterward.
Seven Wonders isn't overly graphic, but it does include violence, some mild sexuality (particularly in descriptions of Amazon warriors) and profanity, so it's probably best for high-schoolers and above. This also would be a great add-on to both history and geography lessons, as it covers the seven wonders of the ancient world as well as the seven wonders of the modern world.
Tags: Ben Mezrich,Jack Grady,Sloane Costa,Indiana Jones
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