After a disappointing morning of reading and reviewing an Ice Cream Sundae (see my post ‘Don’t Attack the Sundae,’ for the inspiration for my rating scale,) I was relieved to dive head first into this book. Mona Lisa’s Secret, by Phil Philips, gets a strong Full Plate Mail rating (four out of five stars) and came very close to a Mithril Rating. Be sure to check this author out, I know I will be picking up his other works!
Mona Lisa’s Secret is a fast paced exhilarating masterpiece of history, drama, art, and action. From the first scene, the novel seizes the reader’s attention, and enraptures interest to the very last chapter’s words.
For a young man, Joey has a haunted and criminal past. For the youthful beauty, a decade older than Joey, Marie’s own past is brimming with secretive ghosts. What happens when the descendant of the man who stole the Mona Lisa, by happenstance, falls in love with the daughter of the man who tried to expose a decades old conspiracy? I’m not telling! This book is well worth your time to discover the answers.
The themes of transformations and discovery are weaved through the work, ever so subtle, as to not hinder the novel’s perfect pace. The main character Joey shrugs off the pain and stigma of his family and puts his familia skills to use to save Marie and solve a mystery long lost but not forgotten. At the same time, Joey discovers new passions, as he matures, and solves solutions in a Da Vinci Code, meets Laura Croft, meets James Bond, manner.
The synchronicity in chaos of Joey meeting and dating Marie, who has her own ties to the Mona Lisa secret, could have been a cheesy troupe. However, Philips achieves the plot point in a surprising and unique way, resulting in an innovative take in a popular genre.
Construction wise, the story flows with excited grace and ease. The novel itself is presented as a flawless, well edited, refreshing work. At first, I was put off by the short chapter length, but like the staccato of one of the musical renaissance Masters, it achieves an ebb and flow creating a symphony which brings the characters and scenes to life.
Philips defies expectations. I anticipated a novel too similar to other popular works. Instead, Philips steps out on his own and distinguishes his work with vivid unique characters and a chilling ruthless villain. There’s a welcomed grit to his story, setting him apart from other tales.
A small criticism, I feel the rescue of Marie is too drawn out. Still, this novel has everything I like it in: Alexander the Great, art, history, a touch of romance, intrigue, and innovation!
As a personal preference, I would’ve like to see Marie in a more active role and less the damsel in distress. She’s intriguing and could’ve shined a little more brighter and individual.
Overall, a heart racing, animated, and vivacious novel! If you like a book, a story, that is just really well done, read Mona Lisa’s Secret!
On a personal note, let me thank Mr. Philips for rescuing my Saturday. The novel was a crisp palette cleanser after what would’ve been a wasted morning. See ya’ll next time, and have a great weekend!
(Please note, as to not disturb the spirit of Mr. Vonnegut, I don’t post ice cream sundae reviews on my blog. Again, read my post ‘Don’t Attack the Sundae’ for context)
[Please note, in exchange for a free copy of the novel, I agreed to provide a HONEST review.]