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The Scarab Heart

by Michael Gallagher

Series: The Involuntary Medium (book 2)

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3314729,947 (3.79)1

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I am a huge fan of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series of books. So, when I read about The Scarab Heart, I thought this would be a great book to try. I received it in exchange for an honest review.
I really tried to like this book. I thought the story was authentic and historically correct. It reminded me a lot of my own travels in Egypt. But, because I haven't got enough time to read in one or two sittings, it became increasingly difficult to pick up where I'd left off and I eventually just abandoned the book. I wish the story line had been a little more engaging. It seemed obvious from the early stages who the perpetrators were and I think that led to my lost interest. I'm also not a big fan of fantasy, and the part of the book where the main character had conversations with a historical figure was not my favorite. ( )
  catlinp | Mar 1, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
And the adventures continue! Lizzie Blaylock, a very unusually talented young woman of the 1890s, finds herself accompanying an older woman, with talents of her own, to an archeological dig in Egypt. Lizzie has the ability to not only speak with the dead, but also acts as a bridge between the afterlife and the current, allowing the dead to rise from her body and speak with their own voice. This is a talent that, as you can imagine, proves to be as much of a drawback as a blessing when surrounded by bits and pieces from Ancient Egypt. All Lizzie wants to do is ignore her talent and enjoy being in Egypt. Instead, Lizzie finds herself juggling a ghost with a mission, new friends with secrets, some not so petty thievery, and a companion who wants her to share her talent with the world. Plus, she might be falling in love. And then, there's a murder.... How Lizzie gets herself in, and out, of encounters with the far past and the present, is a captivating escape from everyday life. The imagery is fabulous, the characters are likable, and the story is believably enthralling.

It is a good tale on its own, but read the first book in the series, The Bridge of Dead Things, to give yourself a better foundation for enjoying it to the fullest. ( )
  Nightwing | Feb 7, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wow...I don't know what I was expecting, but not that.

I've never read a mystery-Egyptian-paranormal from the Victorian era. Scarab Heart totally sucked me in. It was fast paced and very fun to read.

Can't wait for the next book! ( )
  summers1630 | Jan 25, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received a copy of this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program. I didn't enjoy it quite as much as Book 1, but it was still an enjoyable read. It kept me guessing till the end, which I suppose is the hallmark of a good mystery. ( )
  labrat35 | Jan 18, 2014 |
The Scarab Heart is the 2nd book in Michael Gallagher’s Lizzy Blaylock series. There’s a lot to admire with this book, but it ultimately fell a bit short of the first book for my taste.

Things I liked:

The amount of research Gallagher incorporated is impressive. The Scarab Heart is a very nice blend of ancient Egyptian history/mythology and Victorian era culture. At times I thought it was a bit forced, but overall it was extremely well done and quite compelling. The setting of the novel is an Egyptian archeological dig where, thanks to Lizzie’s paranormal talent, an investigation of the murder of one of the dig workers overlaps with an ancient Egyptian murder mystery. I especially enjoyed how Gallagher used Egyptian history and mythology to suit the needs of his plot. I’m no scholar on ancient Egypt, but I knew enough going in that I was very impressed.

Things that didn’t quite work for me:

Lizzy seems to have lost a bit of her sassiness from the first book, and I think that’s a shame. Instead, she comes across as a bit more petulant and selfish as opposed to the self-confident, mouthy little girl from The Bridge of Dead Things. I never quite got 100% behind her in this one - I was never quite on her side. More importantly, the climax of the novel is telegraphed by this change in characterization in the opening pages of the novel, which left the end extremely predictable and, ultimately, flat.

I also found the narrative style of the novel problematic at times. The vast majority of the narrative is people sitting around telling stories about things that happened to them. The stories themselves are involved and active, but I found it difficult to get past the fact that most of the time this is a story about people telling stories. I found myself not knowing what or whom the narrative was actually focused on and not really caring about the storytellers. In the end, the multiple stories did come together, but they seemed to fight each other every step of the way until the final pages.


The Scarab Heart is a good book. While I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first in the series, in the end I did enjoy it. ( )
  RobbFlynn | Dec 31, 2013 |
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This novel is dedicated to my mother
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Lizzie, have you had any news of Albert?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Egypt, 1885. Theft and murder are afoot at an archaeological dig in the Valley of the Kings. Lizzie Blaylock, a young materializing medium of some renown, and her mentor, Miss Otis, thought they were there to vacation, especially as Lizzie has decided she wants nothing more to do with her powers. Her powers, however, have other things in mind.
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