Brumbach, Andrew. The Eye of Midnight
March 8th 2016 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Copy provided by the publisher
William and Maxine are set, for various reasons, to spend time with their Grandpa Battersea in New York City in 1929. When they arrive at the big, creepy house, no one is home, so they go exploring and find all sorts of foreign relics in a hidden basement. Grandpa shows up, but then goes missing, and the children get drawn into a seedy underworld group. There, they meet Nura, who has carried The Eye of Midnight all the way to New York from her home in the middle east. Complications ensue, evil must be fought, and Will and Maxine get more of an adventure than they bargained for.
Strengths: This reminded me of the Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody books, which I definitely liked. It also had a clever use of the adventuring in the 1920s, as well as the underworld figures. The writing was fine, and the fantasy was well-developed without being annoying.
Weaknesses: I wanted Maxine and Will to have a more developed relationship with their grandfather, and perhaps more knowledge about his background. Then their desire to save him would have felt more natural to me.
What I really think: Not my favorite thing, but one of the character's is named Sufjin, and I have a fantasy reader who has the same name, although it's transliterated differently. It's difficult to find fantasy books with Middle Eastern mythology, so I'm glad to have this one.
Need more fantasy? These also had pretty blue covers, but weren't quite what I needed.