Sunday, June 26, 2022

Book Review: Charlie Thorne and the Curse of Cleopatra by Stuart Gibbs (Charlie Thorne #3)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great action, interesting story
Cons: Charlie at times; data dumps throughout book
The Bottom Line:
Charlie in Egypt
What did Cleopatra leave?
Overall, it’s fun

Charlie’s Following Cleopatra’s Footsteps

When I hear the name Cleopatra, I don’t necessarily think of scientific discoveries.  (To be honest, I think more of Shakespeare than anything else.)  So I was a bit surprised that she was the subject of the third Charlie Thorne adventure from Stuart Gibbs.  However, Charlie Thorne and the Curse of Cleopatra proved what a good choice that was.

If you have yet to meet Charlie, she is not only the world’s smartest thirteen-year-old, but she is one of the world’s smartest people period.  After her brother, Dante, recruited her to help the CIA uncover something that Einstein had left behind, Charlie has discovered that there are other treasures out there from other scientists, and she is on a mission to recover them.

As this book opens, Charlie is once again on her own, and she’s decided to find out what Cleopatra left behind over two thousand years ago.  To do so, she needs to slip into the apartment of a rich Egyptian playboy.  Naturally, things don’t go as planned, and Charlie finds herself being chased by not only the man’s security, but several different countries’ agents.  Can she dodge them and still find what Cleopatra left behind?

Of Stuart Gibbs’s series, I will admit Charlie Thorne is my least favorite.  As I was reading, I figured out what the reasons are.  The first is Charlie herself.  She is just a little too perfect – smart, physically able to handle many things, etc.  This isn’t to say she doesn’t have some flaws, but they are small compared to these strengths.  Of course, as a kid, I love the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, which are even more perfect characters than Charlie is, so I am sure this is something I will notice more as an adult than the target audience will be bothered by.

Then there’s the data dumps.  We get multiple ones over the course of this book as Charlie shares the history and background on where each clue she uncovers is taking us.  Yes, we absolutely needed some of the information to understand the plot.  And, some of it gives us more information on Cleopatra.  I will definitely be looking at her in a different light going forward, which is a good thing.  However, they seemed to go on a bit longer than they needed to.

But this is Stuart Gibbs, and the story is still overall enjoyable.  We get several great action sequences and a couple of twists to the story.  With how he left the characters here, I am very anxious to see where he is going to take them next.

Charlie’s brother and a few other recurring characters are a part of the action again, and I appreciated what they bring to the story, and to Charlie as a character as well.  Honestly, I was reminded how much I like the core cast again by the time the book was over.  The things I mentioned above are minor issues.

Which means that Stuart Gibbs has another winner on his hands.  Fans of good stories will enjoy Charlie Thorne and the Curse of Cleopatra.

This review is part of this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.


  1. Sounds like a book my grandkids would enjoy. Chariie, although perfect might be very appealing to my 11 year old and the reference to historical characters might appeal as well. Thanks for the review.

  2. My students like this series pretty well. Charlie's personality is overshadowed by the fact that we get to do a lot of vicarious traveling to fascinating locations, I think.

  3. That is a cool looking cover!

  4. Glad you enjoyed this despite the shortcomings you pointed out.

  5. One of my favorite authors, but I do agree with your points about this series. Thanks for featuring your review on MMGM.

  6. Thanks for your honest review. I appreciate it whenever a reviewer says what they liked and didn't like.

  7. I have read other books by Stuart Gibbs- but I haven't read any of the books in this series. Thanks for sharing. Sounds like it still a good series overall. :) ~Jess

  8. A too perfect character can really be off-putting. And I really never quite believe that kids can be spies. I don't think this is my cup of tea, but I appreciate your thorough review. Thanks for the post.

  9. Sounds an interesting book but I am in two minds, given those points you mention! Thanks for the review!


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