After my curiosity was aroused by the first book, The Colossus Rises, of the Seven Wonders series, I decided to read the next book, Lost in Babylon.

The adventure continues as Jack and his friends traveled to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in the pulse-pounding second title in the Seven Wonders series. With Marco gone and the first Loculus lost, Jack, Cass, and Aly are no closer to saving themselves (or the world) than when they first arrived at the Karai Institute. But whenever Bhegad tracks down Marco deep in the desert, the kids are off on the next leg of their quest – to the ancient city of Babylon. There, the kids find themselves faced with a daunting choice that makes them question everything they’ve learnt so far. It’s a gut wrenching decision, but what the kids don’t realise is that it’s also a trap. Surprises pile on surprises until a long-lost figure from Jack’s [ast returns, and the kid find themselves forced to engineer an escape that might just turn out to be a different kind of trap altogether.

I am sorry but that cover really reminds me of Rick Riordan’s The Red Pyramid. It’s quite distracting to see so many similar elements. Anyway, going past that and on to the goodies. The first surprise is the dedication page, which reads: “For my amazing friends at the National Bookstore and MPH and the great readers they serve on the other side of the world.”

Whoa! Our very own National Bookstore has been mentioned. I dimly recall Peter Lerangis first visit in the country via NBS, but I was not a fan back then. Drat that luck. But it’s really cute that he mentions his Eastern fans since we don’t get much love or mentions from foreign author. He also mentioned Manila, twice in the story.

Jack, Aly, Cass, and Marco are back! I have come to enjoy their rapport with each other,despite the worrying disappearance of Marco at the end of the first book. Lost in Babylon is actually peppered with hints of Marco’s secret agenda, but I already suspected it early on (or maybe it’s just my paranoid nature). Still, when Marco’s change of mind finally revealed, it still felt like a blow to me. I have come to view the four of them as a family. At the start, I thought he just truly believed that Karai are the bad guys, but when his great plans is finally revealed, I discovered his instinct – greed for power – is the true inducement for his switching towards the other side.

The dreams that Jack keeps having make me more convinced that he’s truly descended from one of the two brothers. Of the four of them, he’s the only one who has no real physical talent (brains, brawns, and memory) and he’s the only one who keeps getting dreams from the Mother Qalani and the two brothers, Karai and Massarym. Plus, my suspicion is aided by that bomb that Lerangis’s drop on the readers by the end of the book which I will not reveal because it’s a game changer!

Literary fiction is currently populated with YA books involving adventures around the world, but I think Lost in Babylon stands out in particular because it talks about an ancient wonder that is quite popular but not much explored in fiction.

Discovering (or rediscovering) places around the world is one of the reasons why I love to read books, and reading about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon has spurred me on to read more about it. I can say I am very excited to read the rest of the series because I want read about the five remaining wonders, as stylised in fiction.

Peter Lerangis’s had definitely improved with regards to visualisation. Unlike The Colossus Rises, I was able to picture in my mind’s eye how the Hanging Garden must have looked. What I felt lacking in Lost in Babylon is the other two characters, Aly and Cass. They felt like lackeys, and not the heroes I believe they are. I am hoping that the next book/s will be narrated from either of the two’s perspectives, since I believe they can do so much more than they are currently portraying.

My liking for the series has improved since the first book. Lost in Babylon has alot of great elements that make it an exciting book – good characters who have potentials to be great, a typical locations for the heroes’ adventure, and a fluid writing style by Lerangis, which seems to be a gaining stride with each book. Definitely looking forward to the next books in the Seven Wonders series.

Have you read any of the books in the series? How do you like it so far? Are you pro-Karai or pro-Massa?