Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Review: The Order of the Owls by Elisa Puricelli Guerra

When a couple comes to Minerva's mansion, claiming to be her parents, she knows they are lying in hopes of gaining her home and land. She just has to prove it. Luckily, her new friends are there to help her.
For ages 7-10. From the Minerva Mint series. No one knows for sure where Minerva Mint came from. She just appeared in a London train station one day‚ a baby in a bag. Since then she's been living with Mrs. Flopps, the woman who found her, in a rundown mansion called Lizard Manor. It's been nine years now, and Minerva is no closer to finding her parents. Fortunately, her two new friends, Thomasina and Ravi, have turned the mystery of finding her identity into a wonderful adventure.
* A new and modern Pippi Longstocking
* Irresistible mix of curiosity and adventure
* Illustrated with vintage-style drawings
About the Author:
Elisa Puricelli Guerra was born in Milan, Italy. She always dreamed of becoming a writer (or an astronaut or a witch) and her love of books was born when her mother read the Pippi Longstocking books to her aloud. Like Pippi, Guerra has red hair — a fact that has caused many problems. She never got away with anything in school, because her flaming red hair always caught the attention of the teachers. As a writer, she often gives the main characters in her stories red hair, too, but she makes them extra clever, so they get away with a bit more than she did. Guerra also works as a freelance writer and translator, but if she could make a living by just reading, that is exactly what she would do!
About the Illustrator:
Gabo Leon Bernstein was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He studied graphic design at the University of Buenos Aires and comic art at the Garaycochea Art School. In addition to illustrating several international book series, he has worked on character and toy design for television, background design for animation on movies and TV, and editorial illustration for advertising agencies and magazines. The more he struggles to learn how to play the violin, the more he’s convinced that visual artwork is his life and passion.

It's nice to read books about quirky heroines that accepts the character's odd traits as they are, without pointing them out at nearly every turn.

In The Order of the Owls, Minerva Mint was abandoned in a train station as a child, but among the belongings she was abandoned with was the deed to a manor. Fast forward nine years later, and countless impostors had tried to get the manor by pretending to be her parents. Thankfully, Minerva has some new friends, Thomasina and Ravi, who will help her get rid of the latest pretenders and maybe solve the mystery of who Minerva's parents really were.

I really liked the way Minerva was found. The seemingly random objects she was found with are all important to the mystery of her ancestry, and readers can guess along as the series goes to see if they can learn who Minerva's parents are or how to find them.

The blurb emphasizes the couple who comes to claim Minerva and the manor, but that story felt like just a side story because the focus of the book seems to be on Minerva's mysterious origins. That's perfectly fine with me because that plotline was pretty interesting.

However, it felt like the action really only got started in the last 1/4th of the book. I mean, there were things happening throughout the book but the most exciting bits were really in the latter half of the book. This helps give it momentum going into the second book in the series, though, and it made me want to read the next books in the series.

Thanks to NetGalley and Capstone Young Readers for the e-copy.


  1. Minerva is interesting.
  2. The mystery of her origins is interesting.
  3. The other characters are likeable as well.


  1. The first puzzle they tackle related to the contents of Minerva's travel bag may be easy to solve.

The house was surrounded by a huge garden, which was the kingdom of rabbits and moles. In spring and summer, it was covered by a carpet of orange and pink flowers. Then, in the evening, the flowers were replaced by dozens of fireflies.

  1. You like quirky heroines.
  2. You like mysteries that are written in a light-hearted tone.
  3. You like reading books that are part of a series.




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