Read and Review: The Lost Crown of Apollo
About our reviewer
Hi, my name is Poppy Cheesman. I am 13 years old and I live in West Sussex. I am home educated. My favourite thing is to sneak off to my room and read books when I'm supposed to be doing maths!! I have recently read all the Roman Mystery books by Caroline Lawrence. I really like the Greeks and Romans. I am studying Classics and Latin.
Poppy has read and reviewed The Lost Crown of Apollo by Suzanne Cordatos. The book is aimed at readers aged 8–12. It is published in the UK by Sunberry Books.
Poppy's review: The Lost Crown of Apollo
This is an adventure story about a Greek holiday gone wrong; treasure (a two-thousand-year-old gold leaf crown meant for the sun god Apollo) is found by a ten-year-old boy but then he has to decide whether to keep it or lose it in order to rescue his kidnapped sister.
I really enjoyed the author’s writing style – very vivid and full of detailed description, especially of Mikonos and its inhabitants; the jolly fisherman; Christos laughing and a rather uncomfortable Elias talking to Alexander.
I think she uses lots of really lovely metaphor and simile to good effect, for example:
Soon Mikonos Island bumped out of the blue horizon. White boxes dotted the landscape like dozens of sugar cubes. As they got closer, they could see that the boxes were actually houses.
I thought it was a good plot but as much as I enjoyed these things, I have to say, it was quite a slow read. At first anyway; about half way through it becomes more of a page turner. I think I would have found it more grasping if the main character, Elias was more likable and sympathetic. When I first started reading, he came across as selfish, pompous and mean to his sister. Further through the book, he got better but was still gritty.
I think the characters are well drawn out but then a bit two dimensional and over dramatic. They were a bit unrealistic for me, especially some of the dialogue and the family relationships.
It’s very American, which is fair enough as the author is American, but it’s just So American. And ‘schooly’ all the way through.
The fact that Elias’s motivation seems to be how good school will be next term makes him seem rather shallow.
I found the ending unreadably smaltzy and unrealistically sentimental – for example:
"Most of all, we had each other. We did it –" and Lily, Anniker and Jon chimed in with Elias on the last word "– together!"
I was expecting it to have more historical detail like the Roman Mysteries by Caroline Lawrence, but I was disappointed. Any historical stuff was very brief and not in depth.
It’s good that there’s a glossary of Greek words, but there’s no pronunciation guide which would have been useful.
It’s the sort of book I would have loved when I was younger. I would recommend it to readers around 9–11 years old.
Rating: I give it 6 out of 10.
Congratulations to Matthew Hickman, Stefan Jennison and Fraser Chapman who each won a copy of The Lost Crown of Apollo in our competition.