This is the story about a secret. but it also contains a secret story.
When adventurous detectives, Cass, an ever-vigilant survivalist, and Max-Ernest, a boy driven by logic, discover the Symphony of Smells, a box filled with smelly vials of colorful ingredients, they accidentally stumble upon a mystery surrounding a dead magician’s diary and the hunt for immortality.
Filled with word games, anagrams, and featuring a mysterious narrator, this is a book that won’t stay secret for long.
This book seemed to try a little too hard.
It tried a little too hard to be like other fun books (specifically the Series of Unfortunate Events books). For a middle-schooler, the story would doubtless be fantastic and keep them reading – but it lacked the charm that I had hoped it would have to keep me thoroughly interested.
That said it was a very quick book, once I actually set my mind to finishing it off so I could move on. The story got better as the book progressed, but the ending seemed a bit of a cop-out and just as I was starting to think I’d like the book more, the ending threw me off again.
If you have a 10-12 year old he or she would probably enjoy the book. I did like all of the footnotes with bits of information and the appendixes of information on circus jargon and code writing. My nephew would love this book (although, in the interest of full disclosure I will tell you that there is a gay couple in this book – although the author doesn’t come out and say it directly.)
I’m still undecided on whether I want to pick up the next book or not so I’m going to take a bit of time off and read some other books before making the decision.