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Reviewed by Courtnee Turner Hoyle for Readers' Favorite
In her fifth book in the Aria and Liam series, The Magic Chalice, Coline Monsarrat continues to follow her adventure-seeking heroes. Aria and Liam are thirteen-year-olds who live in Sommetville and solve mysteries in history. With their individual talents, like coding, archery, intelligence, a penchant for history, and combined sleuthing, they race across time. After Liam’s Halloween bravado and a scary incident, the children are transported to fifteenth-century Wallachia. As if they are an answer to her call, the magic woman, Simona, recounts the number of victims as the town mourns the loss of vanished family members and friends. Aria and Liam must get Dracula to drink holy water from a magic chalice, but it doesn’t seem like a workable plan as they enter his castle.
Coline Monsarrat delivers adventure, humor, and history in a delightful series that could appeal to both middle-grade students and adults. Kids will read about Aria and Liam while learning facts about other cultures and diving into history without fully realizing it. The banter between the time-traveling duo is priceless, and the book includes a lesson on legends and folklore that could create an important discussion between children and caregivers. Monsarrat describes a cast of characters who are unique and well-detailed, and they each have a role to play in the story’s outcome. Aria and Liam’s dog, Pingo, and their friend’s pet, Pippa, are a cute pair who provide comic relief and help. Aria and Liam: The Magic Chalice is a great selection for readers who enjoy an adventure series with history and friendship.