Author: Jenny Elder Moke
Narrator: Rebecca Gibel
Audiobook Length: 9 hours 37 minutes
Samantha Knox is back for another adventure in this 1920s female-driven mystery-adventure series!
Sam Knox’s second adventure takes her to the island of Crete, just off the coast of Greece, where she discovers the ancient Snake Goddess’s golden girdle in the depths of a cave shrine that has been buried for decades. After having been belittled by her archaeology professor throughout her first college semester, Sam knows this triumph will prove her worth in the field, but before she can take credit for the find, the girdle is stolen and the island is hit with a series of earthquakes that don’t feel quite geological.
Soon Sam, Bennett and Jo are embroiled in a wild hunt―one that takes them to tiny island shops, a glamorous auction party and a near fiery death―to find the girdle before someone can use it to raise an ancient goddess from her slumber. The final battle features gryphons, a labyrinth, the minotaur of legend and lots of snakes. Lots.
Samantha (Sam) Knox returns for a new adventure set in the 1920s in Rise of the Snake Goddess. After being pulled from her job at an antiques bookshop, she was swept into an ancient mystery in the first novel, Curse of the Spector Queen. Here she is joined again by Bennett Steeling, her childhood crush and love interest and Bennett’s younger sister, and Sam’s friend, Joana (Jo). As the characters were established in the first novel, it is best for readers to experience the novels to connect more to them and to gain additional background; however, a reader could fully enjoy this story as a standalone.
After the Spector Queen chaos that occurred in Dublin previously, Sam is now back home and facing the aftermath of her newfound reputation at her university. She receives a letter from Professor Wallstone asking for help regarding an ancient artifact, the golden girdle, Sam cannot resist setting out on a new adventure. This adventure happens to take her to Greece, the same place that she was rejected from travelling to for a project by her misogynistic department head, Professor Atchinson. Sam is determined to prove Atchinson wrong and that she is worthy of being a top treasure hunter, so the adventure for the girdle, which is buried in an ancient tomb, begins. While it is coincidental that the two end up in the same place, this was something that I love about these stories as it just worked for me.
Sam is the treasure hunter where she is the one able to solve the riddles and wants to find the answers. Jo is the opposite where she wants to have fun all the time with a nice dose of snark and sass while also being a friend to Sam. Bennett is the overprotective and more cautious one that wants to keep everyone safe. The combination of the three personalities is what I connect with most in the story as I love their dynamic. Each character brings something different, yet they all work well together, even if you prefer one over the other at any given time. As the main character, Sam is coming into her own in this story where she is becoming more confident and focused on her future.
This adventure includes fun (and dangerous) obstacles including the Minotaur. The story includes an amusing adventure while also being character-focused as each character grows from the ones that were initially introduced. I loved the balance in this story as there was still the campy yet dangerous adventures yet there was still an effort for the reader to connect and watch the characters develop. As for romance, Sam and Bennett share a connection and care for each other while still focusing on trying to overcome every obstacle they face. I enjoyed the balance of the romance, friendship, individual character growth, and chaotic adventure in this story. Since the characters were initially introduced in the first novel, this one moved at a slightly faster pace yet still giving some recap for new readers (or those that need a refresh). With tons of ancient curses and mysteries around the world, there is room for the author to add more to the series with this fun group of characters. I am not sure how many novels are currently in the works, but I hope that there are more to come soon!
**I want to give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Disney Audiobooks, for a review copy of this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**