Book Review, Children's Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction

BOOK REVIEW – The Rose Muddle Mysteries: The Secret Ruby by Imogen White

– Quick Review –

Another magical detective adventure with Rose and Rui for 8 to 10-year olds. Set in exotic India, Rose thinks she’s landed on her feet now she’s the official companion to Rui the Maharajah of Jaipur’s nephew. However, even on the train to Jaipur things start to go wrong. Rose and Rui are flung into a new mystery connected to Rose’s magical amber pendant which might just bring about the end of the world… again, unless Rose and Rui can figure out what’s going on. Full of mystery and intrigue, this book is even more exciting than the first, and India is vividly brought to life on the page.

Other books you might like: The Famous Five by Enid BlytonThe Hardy Boys by Franklin W DixonBeetle Boy by M.G. LeonardFreaks by Kieran Larwood , Alex Sparrow by Jennifer Killick.

– Long Review –

Rose, Rui and Bahula the monkey are back with another intriguing mystery. The author, Imogen White, is developing an exciting series here. Rose travels to India with Rui to become his official companion. Their monkey side-kick Bahula is back again. Rose thinks everything is going to be okay, but things start going wrong even before they get to Jaipur. An obnoxious English general causes them a ton of trouble along the way, and Rui turns out not to be the most loved person in his uncle’s palace. Rose and Rui are trying to return Mr Gupta’s ruby to his brother, but it seems other people are after it too. A new mystery unfolds, and members of the Black Sun have followed them to India. A new disaster that will open a doorway to another world is afoot and Rose and Rui must figure it all out before it is too late.

India is brought to life in this book and it seems to be a place full of colour and energy. Imogen makes Jaipur feel real to the reader with her descriptions of places and people. I enjoyed this book even more than the first. The story, like the first, builds up to a very exciting ending. The last hundred or so pages in both books are real page turners that will have you gripped, with more twists than an amusement park roller coaster.

Rui’s character and history are explored more in this story, as is Rose’s. Their pasts come to affect their present. They are both brave and plucky, although they have some self-doubt. It is a small gripe, but I would like some of their character flaws explored a little more. There is a glimpse of this with Rose in the exciting ending. But like I said, this is a small point. In the third book, and I do hope to see it soon, I wonder if Rui and Rose’s friendship will develop in different ways, perhaps it will be tested? For a longer series of books to keep readers wanting more, there might need to be some further development of our heroes’ flaws. These are good questions to have because it means that I care about the characters, and I think other readers will too.

What’s great about this series, is that there is a need for a detective series for eight to ten-year-olds. The Hardy Boys were popular books from a while ago that were detective stories, as were The Famous Five. There are some recent books that are mystery elements, like Beetle Boy by M.G. Leonard and Freaks by Kieran Larwood. Beetle Boy has developed into a series, but I wouldn’t describe them as detective stories. There was always an element of this in the Harry Potter stories, although that isn’t the main way people think about them. So Rose Muddle is filling a gap.

In sum, Imogen White has delivered another action-packed adventure, full of mystery, magic and mayhem, with lovable main characters and a growing band of villains, hell bent on destroying the world as we know it. Book two suggests the series is getting stronger as it grows, which should leave us excited about the appearance of book three.

The Rose Muddle Mysteries: The Secret Ruby is published by Usborne and available to purchase here.

We also reviewed The Rose Muddle Mysteries: The Amber Pendant here.

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Imogen White won her place in the Undiscovered Voices 2014 Anthology with the opening to The Rose Muddle Mysteries. Imogen loves local history, and children’s stories that aren’t limited to beautiful countryside locations or secluded seaside coves.

Imogen lives in Hove with her husband, children and belligerent ginger-tomcat. The Amber Pendant – the first book in The Rose Muddle Mysteries – is her debut novel.

Follow Imogen on Twitter

Reviewed by Daniel Soule

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3 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW – The Rose Muddle Mysteries: The Secret Ruby by Imogen White”

  1. How cute is the cover for this?! I loved detective stories when I was a kid – Nancy Drew, in particular. This might work for my little nephews 🙂

    Like

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