Plot/Idea: Cameron continues the Young Explorers Adventure series with a lightly spooky mystery set set in an ancient Scottish castle (the site of an archaeological dig) that appears to be cursed.
Prose: Cameron writes in an appealing, lively prose style that is a perfect fit for middle grade readers.
Originality: The author nicely captures the setting of a dilapidated castle filled with history and unsettled grudges. And the concept of a disembodied suit of armor haunting the living, is decidedly fresh.
Character/Execution: The 13-year-old explorers take the reins as the mysteries of the castle–and the source of the curse–comes to light. By setting the adventure in 1919, Cameron give readers a unique perspective, while the protagonists remain entirely relatability.
Date Submitted: June 21, 2023
Steeped in myth and adventure like the series’ earlier entries, the Scottish Knight boasts plenty of action and historical lore. The Young Explorers are quickly ensnared in the curses plaguing the MacGregors, as the renovation unearths an eerie suit of armor that turns up missing shortly after it’s discovered. When the armor later goes on the hunt—taking down Lord MacGregor in the process—it seems that ancient curse has some truth to it, especially when Morag foretells that it’s the Scottish Knight, returned to enact death on the MacGregors because “evil runs in [their] veins.” The curse—traced back to one of the early MacGregor lords who murdered a local woman accused of witchcraft—soon poses a threat to the entire group, when the ghostly knight turns on them all.
Cameron evokes the steadfast loyalty of young friends throughout the story’s deadly chases and chilling attacks—and that camaraderie eventually saves the day, of course, in a savvy and unpredictable plan hatched by the Young Explorers. The ending, though suspenseful, becomes cumbersome in its plotting, but middle grade readers will still relish this spirited escapade.
Takeaway: Ancient curses and intense action keep this adventure’s pages turning.
Comparable Titles: Shannon L. Brown’s The Crime-Solving Cousins Mysteries series, Jonathan W. Stokes’s Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-