Reviewed by: Toni
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
Transported from the Archipelago after the death of their friend Luana, Joshua and his friends land in another dimension, Asteena in the Valley of Edufu, with memories wiped cleaned except for the fact that they remember their names. Unknown to them, the king of the land, Ahmoses III, watches them through a magical mirror, the Eye of Horentus. Ahmoses has been waiting for Joshua to arrive, to help him free his people from the Goat. He sends his faithful servant, Jafar, to bring Joshua and friends to him.
Jafar explains their memory loss: “Around this world is a magical barrier. It is such that those attempting to pass into this world will have their memories taken from them.”
He further tells them that the Orb of Memory will help them remember who they are, where they came from, and what they are supposed to do. “This alone has the power to recover what you have lost.”
Obtaining the Orb of Memory will bring Joshua closer to his goal of obtaining the three orbs required to defeat the Goat. He hoped Ahmoses has the third orb. With the aid of Jafar and a Metamorph named Philaena, they make their way through Asteena, dazzled by the oddities of the land in which they find themselves.
The king may be sending Joshua assistance, but there are new dangers other than the Goat that even Ahmoses III is unaware of…
In this story, it isn’t so much Joshua’s adventures, exciting as they are, that caught my attention, but the actions of those around him, which may also rivet younger readers’ attention. The country, a pseudo-Egypt, with its marketplaces, temples, and pyramids, is reminiscent of a Tomb Raider video game wherein Joshua and friends brave temples and escape the attack of the Goat’s latest minions, the wadjets, giant, two-headed snakes. There are also some cute little creatures called Kimallas who are both pests and comic relief.
Though the Goat makes more appearances in this novel than in the preceding others, he does little more than stamp around and bellow his rage at being thwarted when he isn’t torturing various people who have assisted Joshua and company, until the climactic confrontation in Ahmoses’ throne room. That doesn’t make him any less intimidating, however, for as in the case of most villains, less appearance, more suggestion, is always good.
The real villain of the piece—or villainess, rather—is Queen Neferemu, Ahmoses III’s beautiful and wicked spouse. This female is almost a caricature of the deadlier of the species, she’s so unsubtle in her attempts to distract the king from protecting Joshua, and also trying to do away with His Majesty. Once can envision her draping herself across the throne chair while Ahmoses peers into the mirror. It’s surprising Ahmoses III doesn’t notice this but the king’s so involved in keeping Joshua safe, he ignores everything else. Truly, Neferemu is a delightfully nefarious creation, reminding me in some ways of Scarlet Overkill from the Minions movie. Ahmoses’ hairbreadth, near-slapstick, brushes with death at his lethal wife’s hands are at the same time frightening and comical, and I found myself hoping the lady could somehow be brought back for an encore.
(Pardon me for likening this novel to other media, but it truly lend itself to such comparisons.)
As in the other novels in this series, there is the entertaining Glossary following the story, with its delightful illustrations. There’s a second feature in this one, a hieroglyphic alphabet guide, which can be used to translate the messages sent from Ahmoses III to Joshua, making this an interactive book for the reader. Other extras are also included.
Of the three entries in this series that I’ve read, Joshua and the Magical Temples is thus far the most entertaining, with the best characters yet. The cliffhanger ending, however, suggests Book 4 may be even more exciting.