Savage Garden

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Martin insisted that “Lost in Babylon” was a must-read. I agreed, hesitantly.

After a semester of studying Modernist Literature, I wondered if I turned into a snob. Did I forgot to enjoy reading? I must admit that Peter Lerangis was a genius, as I never thought that within the depths of the Euphrates, one could travel back to the past. This doesn’t mean that anyone could pass through a time portal and had the chance to see Babylon in all its glory. Only descendants of the (lost) continent of Atlantis would be lucky, which would be Ally Black, Cass Williams, Marco Ramsay and Jack McKinley. This what “The Seven Wonders” series was all about.

“The Hanging Gardens rose on the other side of the Euphrates. They were more like an explosion of greenery than a stately ziggurat. If colour were sound, the flowers would be screaming in the sun. They thrust through every columned window, draped the shoulders of every statue, obliterating the fine carvings on the walls. Their vines in the breeze like the hands of bullet dancers, and water rushed through marble gullies like distant applause.”

I wasn’t disappointed when Ally, Cass, Marco, and Jack finally set foot in the gardens, guarded by animals like the Viszeet, which kill their prey with their spit. There were also black birds, with skin like bronze. These, and other fierce creatures unheard in Greek mythology (or Roman, for that matter), were brought to Babylon by Kranag, garden keeper who was once an inhabitant of Atlantis. He didn’t imitate Noah, but used some powers that these four teenagers were searching for. (In the first book, the Colossus of Rhodes hid the power to fly. In the Hangings Gardens, it was the ability to be invisible.)

Lerangis’s second novel answered some questions in “The Colossus Rises”, which made me quite frustrated. One was many have survived the deluge that doomed Atlantis, one of whom was Daria. Jack seemed to be infatuated with her, or it was just me. Second was the names of the antagonists that our young protagonists were pitted against. (The ending was rather unexpected, but I should have guessed.) There was a degree of predictability, which seemed to be a thing in Young-adult fiction. In fact, a few chapters described a pyramid in Egypt, which wasn’t discovered. Yet. Then and there, I believed that the pyramids of Giza would be the setting for the next adventure. Martin had trepidation. I tried to suppress a smirk, as Lerangis wouldn’t read “The Kane Chronicles” first. It would be coincidental if there would be similarities.

I wanted to shake that feeling of boredom, which I felt in some chapters. I didn’t want to look too far ahead, as Rick Riordan’s next series would be a modern update on Norse mythology. This would be more exciting. This doesn’t mean that the remaining books in “The Seven Wonders” would offer less. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. Statue of Zeus at Olympia. Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Lighthouse of Alexandria. I was certain that Lerangis would think of something about these places, which might piqued my curiosity.

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