Reader review: Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb by Ally Malinenko

Posted by on Aug 4, 2013 in Children's, Genres, Reading | 0 comments

Reader review: Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb by Ally Malinenko

A while back we were lucky enough to have Ally Malinenko guest post on Pen and Muse. She wrote a fantastic post called Stomaching Rejection or How Not To Give Up When The Big Houses Say No Thanks and Potentially Stomp on Your Dreams. As you can imagine, we were excited to check out her middle grade fantasy novel called Lizzie Speare and the Cursed Tomb. In case you haven’t heard of it, check it out below!

Meet Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb


…a normal twelve year old girl with a talent for writing, who has a very not normal family secret. And when Lizzy’s father vanishes, that secret will change her life in ways unimagined. (Spoiler Alert! It turns out that Lizzy, or Elizabeth S. Speare, is the last living descendant of William Shakespeare. Shhh! Don’t tell anybody!)

Then Lizzy and her best friend Sammy are kidnapped, awakening in the faraway land of Manhattan. Their host is Jonathan Muse, whose job is to protect Lizzy from becoming the latest victim in a family feud nearly five hundred years old. Could that be why the mysterious, eye patch-wearing Dmitri Marlowe is after her? (Spoiler Alert 2—he’s the last living descendant of Christopher Marlowe, a friend and rival of Shakespeare’s. But keep it to yourself!) Is Marlowe after Lizzy’s family fortune rumored to be kept in Shakespeare’s tomb? Does he seek artistic immortality? Or Revenge (with a capital R) for a death long, long ago?

In a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, Lizzy and Sammy are thrust into the realm of the mythical and fantastic—from satyrs and Cyclopses to Middle Eastern cab drivers and Brooklyn hipsters—in what is truly “an improbable fiction” as the Bard himself once wrote.




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Who this book is for

Anyone who likes middle grade books, Shakespeare, and magic!

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 What others are saying

“I love Shakespeare and Greek mythology so imagine my delight when I heard of a book that mixed the two.” – Patrice Caldwell

“I’m no Shakespeare scholar or fanatic, but I do enjoy his work, and author Ally Malinenko has done something quite extraordinary with her book Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb…she’s made Shakespeare fun! Fantastically fun, in fact! This adventure filled middle-grade surpassed my expectations and turned out to be an excellent read.” – Aeicha

“Lizzy Speare and The Cursed Tomb is part mystery, part mythology, part history, and a whole lot of non-stop action! Within the pages of this book, there is a story which features a strong female main character and her loyal friend Sammy…” – Renee

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 Favorite Quote

“People are creative, but they lack drive, ambition. They stray and wander. And they give up so easily, falling prey to outside distractions. A Muse is there to keep them going.”

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What I liked about Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb

I came into this novel with no expectations. I don’t normally read middle grade novels (not because I don’t like them, but because I tend to buy YA and NA instead). I’ll tell you one thing, I am a HUGE Shakespeare fan and I absolutely loved the concept of this novel. In fact, I can’t think of a single story out there that is like it. Go Lizzy!

Another thing I really liked about this novel is that Lizzy is a strong female protagonist. There’s nothing worse than opening a novel and starting to read it, only to find that the main female character is dependent on a male for happiness, or afraid to take action, etc. But this isn’t the case with Lizzy! Even though she may feel uncertain, or she made be afraid deep down, she doesn’t let it stop her from doing what she needs to do.

Lizzy, the main character, discovers she is the only descendant of William Shakespeare and her father is kidnapped and must be saved. Mix in magic, folklore, Shakespeare, and mystery and you’ve got yourself a fun read that will likely WOW middle grader readers!

Don’t miss out! Pick it up before the sequel comes out! Buy it on Amazon here!


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Ally Malinenko lives in Brooklyn where she wakes at an ungodly hour to write. She’s had poetry and stories published online and in print, including her first collection of poems, entitled The Wanting Bone (Six Gallery Press). Her second book of poems, Crashing to Earth, is forthcoming from Tainted Coffee Press. Her children’s novel Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb, the first part in a series, has been published by Antenna Books. Check her out on her websiteGoodreadsAmazonTwitter, and Facebook.

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