Monday, October 29, 2012

Review: Samantha Sutton and the Labyrinth of Lies by Jordan Jacobs

From Back Cover: There's nothing twelve-year-old Samantha Sutton wants more than to become an adventure-seeking archaeologist like her brilliant Uncle Jay. Samantha's big dreams are finally coming true when Jay invites her along on a summer excavation exploring an ancient temple in the Peruvian Andes. But this adventure isn't exactly what she thought it would be with her nosy older brother, Evan, and Jay's bossy colleagues monitoring her every move. On top of that, she has to deal with the local legend, El Loco, a ghostly madman who supposedly haunts the ruins. But when the project's most important finds go missing, it's up to Samantha to solve the mystery before Jay loses his job and the treasures of the temple are lost forever.

My Rating: 3.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: You know how when you’re little, people ask you what you want to be when you grow up? Well, one of my answers used to be: “Archaeologist!” As I grew up, I realized that it probably wasn’t as glamourous a job as the media made it out to be and that getting dirty wasn’t something I was fond of. And let’s not even talk about bugs! However, I thought it would be interesting to read Jordan Jacobs’ Samantha Sutton and the Labyrinth of Lies considering that Jacobs himself is an archaeologist. Here’s my list of pros and cons about the novel:

  • Because the locals living around Chavin de Huantar speak Spanish, I liked that Jacobs kept their sentences and questions in Spanish rather than translating them into English. I may not have understood what was being said, but the incorporation of Spanish gave the book a more authentic feel. It also enabled me to relate to Samantha’s plight of not being able to understand what’s being discussed when people are conversing in Spanish because she doesn’t know the language.
  • Similarly, I liked the incorporation of real archaeological terms.
  • I thought the relationship between Samantha and Evan was depicted pretty realistically. As siblings close in age, they argue a lot; but there are also times when they’re sort of nice to each other.
  • Overall, I felt that Jacobs did a good job of demonstrating the day-to-day life of an archaeologist.
  • Though I didn’t think the answer was that obvious, my hunch as to who the looters might be turned out to be correct. Nevertheless, I had no clue as to how the looters were stealing from the units.
  • The book could have used a bit more excitement. It was a little more serious in tone than the MG novels I prefer to read, and I never felt that need to find out what was going to happen next.
Samantha Sutton and the Labyrinth of Lies was released by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky on October 1, 2012.

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Raincoast Books) for free.


  1. I love MG books. This is one I haven't heard of yet. It sounds like a lot of fun.

    Ps: Two years ago I would have answered with the same answer: Archaeologist. lol. ;)

  2. I was a wannabe Archaeologist at one point too. It did look like a lot of fun but then I realised I didn't like dirt either. :D This sounds like quite an interesting MG book despite the occasional lack of excitement. Great review!

  3. Sounds cute, but I'm a bit surprised on the serious tone of the book. I actually thought we'd get more humor, but I do love sibling books so I might give this one a shot.

  4. I don't read middle grade but I do keep an eye out for anything that I think my son might be interested in. While this does sound enjoyable, the female protag doesn't seem to appeal to him. Great review hun :)

  5. Sounds like a fun read but I don't know if I would have understood all the archaeological terms.

  6. Oh cute! It's true that people who are archaeologists in movies and books generally have a lot more fun and adventure than real life archaeologists. I haven't actually heard of this one before, but I think I would really dig it! (Aaah! Pun NOT intended, I swear! haha)

  7. Despite the lack of excitement, I really like the sound of this book! The Spanish sentences & real archaeological terms are a nice touch :)

  8. Anonymous8:25 pm

    When I was growing up, my idea of the perfect profession always shifted from being a fashion designer, to a food critic, an English teacher and even a marine biologist. Those ideas couldn't be farther from the truth now! Anyhow, great review and I'm pleased you enjoyed this :) I'm not a frequent reader of MG fiction but I may just give this a shot, mate.

  9. Lol, Z. When I was young, my dream was to become a doctor. But now, I WANT to become an archeologist and an astronomer.

    You know I don't read MG but I've started listing down the MG's you gave high ratings to. ;)


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