One of our favorite books of 2016 was Secrets of The Seven: The Eureka Key. It was a literary version of the Goonies with ties of National Treasure about a group of teen genius’ who were selected to solve puzzles, fight bad guys and preserve historical artifacts. That book left us very eager for the second one in the series. With Secrets of the Seven: The Eagle’s Quill the gang is back, but the book lacks a certain zip and charm that made the first one so much fun.
The first chapter starts off with the team bickering. They’re on the way to Glacier National Park to find the second in a series of seven ancient artifacts. When combined these artifacts are suppose to unlock a secret weapon that was created by the founding fathers. The artifacts are being protected by ancestors of the founding fathers and they’re being pursued by Gideon Arnold, descendant of Benedict Arnold.
If you didn’t read the first book in the Secrets of the Seven series you’ll be fine and be able to figure out what’s happening very quickly. Unfortunately for the team, almost as soon as they land in Glacier National Park to meet the people who have their next clue the bad guys show up. The team is split up with some of them taken hostage while the other half is tasked with safely procuring the next artifact.
Elements of The Eagle’s Quill still work as well as they did in the first book. There are some very clever traps and pitfalls that the team has to use their intelligence and wits to escape. It’s also worth noting that the book moves at a very brisk pace and doesn’t allow readers to get too bogged down when the group’s indecision slows down their progress.
It’s not that The Eagle’s Quill is bad; it’s just that the first book in the Secrets of the Seven series, The Eureka Key was so much better. That book instilled a sense of optimism, wonder and curiosity, whereas The Eagle’s Quill has more banter, bickering and despondence. In the greater arc of the books it might make sense, but it wasn’t as much fun to read.
Upper elementary school students through middle school will still enjoy the series, but realize that it lost some of its zip in this second book. Young readers will learn lessons about teamwork, persistence and will be curious to learn about the history of the U.S.A. from some of the real and historical fiction that’s discussed.