RISE OF THE SNAKE GODDESS (A Samantha Knox Novel, Book 2): A Samantha Knox Novel, by Jenny Moke, Disney-Hyperion, June 7, 2022, Hardcover, $17.99 (young adult)
Archaeology student Samantha Knox returns with an adventure on the Greek island of Crete in Rise of the Snake Goddess, by Jenny Elder Moke.
After being snubbed by her college’s archaeology department for an honor she rightfully earned, Sam is hell-bent on proving her worth to her misogynistic department head. So, when an opportunity presents itself to solve the hidden meaning behind a symbol found inside a cave in Greece, Sam is all over it, and she’s bringing Bennett and Jo with her for the cross-Atlantic trip. Once on the island of Crete, Sam finds a treasure she never expected ― the golden girdle of an ancient and powerful goddess, and she can’t resist its siren call, or the accolades she would win for discovering it. 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 coincidental.
Soon Sam, Bennett, and Jo are embroiled in a wild hunt ― one that takes them to tiny island shops, a glamorous high-stakes auction, and a fiery near-death experience ― to find the girdle before someone can use it to raise the ancient goddess from her slumber. An unexpected heist, a terrifying trek through a labyrinth, and a fight to the death with the Minotaur itself lead to a final standoff she and her friends won’t soon forget ― one that might just break up Sam and Bennett for good. —Synopsis provided by Disney-Hyperion
Rise of the Snake Goddess is the second book in Moke’s Samantha Knox series. And while you don’t have to read Curse of the Specter Queen to enjoy Rise of the Snake Goddess, it’s worth doing so if you’ve got the time.
Rise of the Snake Goddess takes place in the ancient ruins of the Greek islands in the 1920s. It’s a time of great discoveries, and Sam wants a chance to make one of her own. The book plays out like a Hollywood movie — Indiana Jones anyone — with action and adventure, mythology and mystery, and some romance all tied together into a neat package.
This time around the characters have each settled into their niche. Sam is the puzzler, constantly questioning things and won’t give up until she’s reached her goals. Sam’s become a bit more assertive this time around, not willing to put up with the misogyny she so often faces. Bennett is the protector, cautious to a fault. Jo continues to surprise, bringing humor and some strong insights to the table.
Moke has clearly done her research, adding her own twist to the mystery surrounding Minoan snake goddess who has been theorized as goddess of fertility and sexuality rebirth, resurrection, or renewal of life. Though the goddess’s true purpose may never be known, Moke’s take is bold and refreshing, and fits well with Sam’s underlying problem of being ignored and undervalued.
Rise of the Snake Goddess is the perfect summer read — I read it in one day. It transports you to another time and place and it’s one of the most entertaining novels I’ve read in quite a while.
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