'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 30 April 2020

Review: The Chicken's Curse

It’s the Romans against twice as many Nervians when preparations for war begin in Gaul. The Romans are guided by the augur. He has read the sky and the behaviour of the birds and delivered his findings to the general. The chickens not eating their grain is a bad omen. But the headstrong General Porcius is determined to lead his army into battle.

Felix is the general’s servant. Terrified of losing his life, he wants to get back to Rome and his mother. So he runs away.

Soon after, he comes across Livia with her secret intentions, and a selfish, often stupid, sacred chicken that loves cake. They too, have run away and are being pursued by soldiers. The trio join up and set off for Rome.

Livia is smart, logical and resourceful. Felix is open and honest; the sacred chicken a hindrance.
Pooling all their knowledge, courage and survival instincts, these travellers encounter challenges that test their morals and their trust of one another.

Livia is forced to disguise herself as a boy, and the sacred chicken joins a flock of geese and departs.

Their travels are filled with surprises; not always good ones! They face disbelief, accusations, hunger and bandits. Included in their encounters are a talking camel, a grumpy over-used magic carpet, a sceptre, golden coins depicting Caesar, and an ostracised poet who gives them shelter when they are shipwrecked.

Danger follows Felix and Livia on their epic journey to Rome. Can they get there in time to save Livia’s brother from the arena? Or will they too, fall beneath the shadow of the chicken’s curse?

These lovable characters are stars, all shining together within an historical setting. The story is filled with humour and some silliness (mostly from the pursuers). Frances Watts builds an entertaining plot that gradually evolves into an exciting adventure. Lots of underlying messages are hidden within the storyline. I enjoyed it immensely!

Title: The Chicken’s Curse
Author/Illustrator: Frances Watts
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $16.99
Publication Date: 4 February 2020
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760523569
For ages: 8 - 12
Type: Middle Grade Fiction