Review: Under Wraps by J.A. Cipriano

Note: This book was sent to me by the author’s assistant for review.

Self-published. 200 pp.

This short young adult novel, the first in a trilogy, has something to offer for those looking for a fast-paced, light read rich in Egyptian mythology reminiscent of the works of Rick Riordan. We follow Thes Mercer (short for Theseus), as he time-travels to Ancient Egypt to recover his best friend Connor’s soul. One catch about Thes: he’s a werewolf. This gives him power when fighting, but also a certain lack of judgment and control over the beast within him. Upon beginning his journey, Thes meets Aziza, a mummified Egyptian princess who pledges to help Thes if he will help her destroy rival mummies. Action, Egyptian gods and goddesses, creatures and the geography of Egypt paint a lovely picture of imagery that throws you straight into Thes and Aziza’s world to root for them– however small their goals may be.

A strength of this novel, first and foremost, is its pace. The action rarely slows down for too long, save for the necessary breaks with some contemplative thoughts from Thes. Thes and Aziza, our protagonist and foil, respectively, each have distinct voices and personalities, each with a quickly sharp sense of humor, underlying flirtation with each other. However, while The is not strictly speaking static, the stakes never rise high enough for the adult reader to really want to care about Thes triumphing. This is classified as young adult–and it fits with the sporadic profanity and tongue-in-cheek references to nudity and sex–the conflict feels a bit too elementary for anyone older than the age of twelve or thirteen to really relate. Remove the sex and profanity–which, while cute and funny, add nothing to the story–and this would make a much stronger  elementary grade children’s novel. Overall, a light and fast read, but one that may be trying a little too hard to fit in with the Rick Riordans of literature.

3 out of 5 stars.

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