Secrets of a Sun King

By Emma Carroll

Young Quills reviews

Secrets of a Sun KingHolly’s review
This fiction book starts off in London. The year is 1922 with the main focus being on a young school girl called Lillian Kaye. She is a smart girl with a scholarship to a school called St Kilda’s. Lillian doesn’t like school very much and has very few friends, she likes to listen to her Grandad recite stories of when he used to go travelling back in his young, although Lillian’s Grandad, whose name’s Ezra, have been to many different countries he has always been most fascinated with Egypt. It was through this story telling that he passed the love for that specific country on to his granddaughter. One day Ezra falls ill with Lillian being such a curious person she opens the parcel to find a strange vase. Shaken, she asks her Grandad who’s getting worse by the day about it. Ezra told Lillian that the vase belonged in Egypt and unable to say anymore because of a sudden fit of coughs. Lillian leaves the hospital knowing that somehow she must save her Grandad no matter what the cost. 

Rating 4/5 stars.

The book has a feeling of a classic adventure book with the theme being Egypt. The heroin/main character is Lillian, whose characteristic is intelligent, adventurous and bold. The story was good vocabulary including names, places, and artefacts that originally come from Egypt.

Charlotte’s review
I really enjoyed this book. I felt like I knew all the characters really well and therefore was scared, happy, anxious, and worried for the characters throughout reading this book. This book had the concept of a curse in it, but despite not believing in curses, I still found this book realistic. The time period that it was set in (1912) was very interesting and showed what it was like in 1912 in both England and Egypt. This book always had something going on and moved at a very good pace – something was always happening but the author never quickly skipped over something to move on to something else. All the mysteries were solved but the book kept me guessing throughout. It had a very good ending. I would definitely recommend it because it was a very engrossing read.

Star rating ★★★★★

Tom’s review
Secrets of the Sun King is a book set in 1922, where Lilian (the main character) and her friends embark on a journey to return a package to its resting place in order to stop a curse. My favourite character in this book is probably Oz, who is a young boy who is quiet but quite smart. There isn’t a character I don’t like. I learnt how the war four years before affected some of the characters. The plot is good as well and also it has some exciting points. Finally, I will 100% recommend this book to anyone who likes Egyptian artefacts and pre-war London.

Eva’s review
I really enjoyed this book, I think it is simply wonderful. This book is marvellous because it:

  1. Has an enjoyable, thrilling story that makes you not want to put the book down.
  2. The vocabulary and various range of adjectives, similes, and metaphors paint a picture of what the setting would be like if you were there seeing it for yourself.
  3. Last but not least, the story tells you historical facts from way back in the ancient Egyptian days.

I certainly found the characters very interesting and they each had an important role to play which made the story even more fantastic. My favourite character has to be Lilian Kaye because she is courageous enough to go all the way to Egypt to save her ill grandad from a deadly curse.

I definitely found out a lot from the past like the story of Tutankhamun and Lord Carnarvon’s death. Even though this story is fiction there are certainly lots of historical things about this book.

I found this book’s plot very entertaining and exciting. I would definitely recommend this book to others.

Amelie’s review
I really enjoyed reading this book. My favourite character was Tulip because she was kind to Lil and she was strong minded about what she wanted and didn't want to do. I liked all the characters in the story, my favourite part about the book was when you read about the Kyky. I liked that part because you could find out about why there is a curse and how Kyky died.

I learned a lot about how Egyptian pharaohs were treated after their death. The plot of this book was exciting.

I would definitely recommend this book to people my age or a bit younger!

James’s review
During the book there are possibly three main characters, Lilian Kaye, Pepe and Tulip, and Oz Mendoza. However, there are multiple other characters that have significant roles in the book but do not appear enough to be classed as main characters. These include Lysandra, Maya, and Kyky, the three characters most focused on within Lysandra’s account of Kyky’s, or Tutankhamun’s, final days as King of Egypt. Other secondary characters that are mentioning would be Alexander, the boy who helps to get the parents of our main characters to reveal the blood relativity between the Mendozas and the Kayes.

My favourite character in the book would have to be Pepe. This because he is expecting of politeness and is annoyed to see Englishmen invade Egypt and straight away act as if they own the place which I perfectly understand and can sympathise for. On the other hand; there are no characters that I would not be happy to be acquainted with.

The setting of time and place significantly assists to the plot of the story as I believe if the characters had not ended up going to Egypt the curse would not have had such a big of an understandable impact. Also, the time, being set in the past, helps as it is not too far back as to make the journey to Egypt a several week journey but is not too far forward as to make the journey too quick and uneventful. To me, the plot started off quite slow but very quickly it became exciting and held lots of tension, making me want to read the next chapter almost every time I finished another. This is a very good book. From this book review I can conclude that with use of gripping language, relatable characters, and real world situations that still create a fantastic atmosphere. Emma Carroll is capable of writing a book that children and adults alike will enjoy. I would recommend this book to fellow students not just as an exciting story but as something that can be used to pick out good language from.

Inayah’s review
Usually with most history books, I stop halfway through but with this book Secrets of a Sun King it had history mixed with a suspenseful plot! I was gripped from start to finish; it is about a girl named Lillian who travels with her friends on an exciting journey to return a sacred Egyptian object safely. However, what makes this book different from the rest is the message it conveys. This book is portraying how girls in society were held back in the 1920s in England but how this girl was determined and strong minded, this is very inspiring and conveys an important message. I would definitely recommend this for anybody who is ready to be inspired and gripped in the story. What is also nice is the main character Lillian has her name from a bid in the Authors for Grenfell charity auction, this adds a personal and interesting touch!

Katie’s review
Plot: A young girl named Lilian (Lil) has a grandpa who loves Egypt and he falls ill from a curse and she goes to feed her grandpa’s cat (Nefertiti) and sees some parcels and makes friend with a girl (Tulip) and they talk about it.

Is it a good read?

Does it have good historical content?
Yes, because it’s based in Egypt, and Egypt is a part of history, so it’s good to read.

Does it inspire readers to find out more about that historical period or people?

Did you learn something in particular?
Yes, the names of Egyptian Gods.

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