Books,  Four Stars,  Review,  YA

History Keepers; Circus Maximus by Damian Dibben (+ Winner)

To start of this post I thought it would be best to announce the winner of my signed copy of History Keepers; The Storm Begins!

The lucky winner is…


An e-mail will be coming your way shortly!

Author: Damian Dibben
Publisher: Random House
Published: 2nd August 2012
Pages: 480
Format: Hardback
Source: Copy Received from Publisher
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon, TBD


The History Keepers are in terrible danger once more. Stocks of Atomium – the crucial ingredient which allows them to travel through time – are perilously low, and the agents must embark on a risky mission to find more. And now a new and even more evil member of the Zeldt family is planning a hideous take-over of the Ancient world, and they are forced to travel further back into history than ever before in order to save the day. Well, all of the days actually. In this exciting sequel, “The History Keepers” embark upon another rollercoaster adventure that takes us into the heart of the ancient world, from the doors to Hades, to the streets of Rome at the height of its glorious empire. You think the chariot race in Ben Hur is exciting? Wait till you see the History Keepers racing round Rome…

A Storm is Brewing
On rare occasions while reading a book, I find myself wanting to scrap my entire rating system altogether – or at least to introduce half ratings. But then I remember why I don’t include half ratings and simply bite my thumb while I’m writing a review. The History Keepers: Circus Maximus is a book that if I could, I would have given it four and a half stars, but instead it has received four stars from me. It was a really enjoyable book that I truly loved reading but there were just a few flaws – in my opinion – that stopped it from being a truly magnificent read. It is still definitely worth your time to read it though!

Its Impact is Large
The first thing to note about The History Keepers: Circus Maximus is that the story is just as magical and charming as the first book in the series. Damian Dibben has created a truly inspiring world in which to set his stories and I can tell that this series will fast become one of my favourites. In this story, Jake ends up in the era of the romans, a world that Damian paints so well with his words that you can see every detail he describes and can only marvel at it all. He has managed to make a long-dead era feel alive and it is truly magnificent. But even though Damian is brilliant with his world-building and the concept of his series is simply magical, it is the character gems in his stories that really keep the reader interested.

The Damage Unknowable
Once again Jake was an interesting character to read. Right from the very first chapter he is shown to be just a boy who makes mistakes like the rest of us. He has flaws but he also has some great personality traits, such as loyalty and a protective nature. He’s a lovable character that you can’t help but admire and feel for throughout the story. And he definitely grows up by the end of this book – I am definitely looking forward to reading more of him. The secondary characters of Nathan, Charlie and Topaz were all well-written as well and it was fun to read all about them again. Nathan kept me laughing, Charlie kept me informed and Topaz was full of life and adventure. They helped to make this book as readable as it was.

The adult characters in the book were also incredibly easy to read and likable. Jake’s parents were full of adventure and mischief and I just love the dynamic between the two of them – especially when it comes to Jake. His aunt is always a fun character to read about and is in contrast to the serious – yet sometimes fun – Jupitus. It can be hard to see their attraction at times but in this book it is set out so well. On top of all of these characters, Damian has managed to write a brilliant villain into his work. Just like in the first book, their are many twists and pulls where the evil to this story lurks and it truly helps to bring out a totally psychologically damaged villain – she simply wants women to have power…

A Rescue is Needed
One thing that Damian does well is to make sure that there is more than just one thing to focus on and I have to admit that the mystery behind Jupitus Cole had been nagging me since the first book and so when it was finally revealed in this book, I was relieved. Damian keeps the twists and turns going throughout the book and makes sure that most loose ends are tied up or are at least open up enough to be revealed later on in the series. It makes for a very entertaining read and it is easy to see why this book would really entertain the younger audiences – not that it doesn’t keep older audiences happy! The plot of this book was well thought out and interesting. It kept me guessing and I really had to know what was going to happen and how things were going to be resolved. It shows an interesting look at friendships, love and loyalty that help to bring the story alive.

So the World
While the book was enjoyable and entertaining, there were still a few things that irked me as I read. It is something that I noticed in the first book but it was never a major issue – and it still isn’t – but is something that I feel the need to point out. Whenever Jake gets hurt, or at least when he is, he still manages to carry out some very courageous and dangerous acts which are magnificent and stunning. That is sometimes not so believable but isn’t truly a problem, the problem occurs afterwards when things are solved and it seems that he isn’t as hurt as he once was or that his injuries are no longer a problem. For me this is hard to believe and it is annoying because right at the end of the book it pulls me out of the story and sets me back onto the sidelines. I’m curious if this is something that happens because it is for younger readers and something I will have to get used to or if it is simply that Jake is never as hurt as we are led to believe. All I know is that it irritated me in both books but it never stopped me from wanting to read more.

Can be Saved
All in all, The History Keepers: Circus Maximus is a thrilling, captivating read that I enjoyed immensely and would easily recommend to others. It was full of gripping adventure, it is fun to read, it is full of suspense, and it even has some really emotional scenes thrown in for good measure. With all of these happening, it is easy to see why this book is such an incredible read. It holds some really strong, powerful and entertaining characters that really bring the story alive. It is even enjoyable for young readers and adults as Damian has managed to make sure that there is something for everything. I said it in my review of his first book, but this series has all the interesting and compelling attributes that the Harry Potter series did so if you’re still searching for a good new series to read – this is the one! Besides, this book also has an exciting, cliff-hanger-esque ending that has opened up the story and made me really excited for the next book.

Four Stars
four out of five hearts


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