Book Review: The Last Girls of Pompeii by Kathryn Lasky

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POMPEII, AD 79 ~ Julia and Sura lead opposite yet inextricably linked lives. Julia is the daughter of a wealthy shipbuilder; Sura was kidnapped from her parents as a small child. Julia bears the Curse of Venus - a withered arm; Sura's beauty turns heads. Julia is free; Sura is her slave.

The summer has already been a trying one for Julia, with two older sisters' weddings to endure. Then she begins to suspect that her parents have a terrible plan in mind that will affect not only Julia's life but Sura's as well.

Yet what no one in Pompeii suspects is that beneath the verdant vineyards that grow on Mount Vesuvius, a beastly volcano slumers. When it finally erupts, it forges a path of destruction that throws everyone's futures into question, and forces Julia and Sura to confront the true meaning of freedom.

I hate the title. I'm sorry. I don't know why. The book was okay, and the historical setting was very interesting, as I haven't read very many books concerned with Ancient Rome. The characters of Julia and Sura are great foils for each other, and this relationship is pretty much summed up in the first paragraph of the blurb.

The unfairness of Julia's family is unbearable. They're just like the Dursleys, except they're not British and there are no sons. Julia's sister Cornelia is just really spiteful for no reason, though. Okay, so less mundanely evil, more ruin-your-life evil. I didn't really get why Julia didn't want to go to that convent, though.

The weirdest moment in the book is probably when Sura slapped Julia when Vesuvius was erupting. It showed that Sura is spiritually a lot stronger than Julia. (Yeah, I liked Sura waaay better than Julia, I have to admit.)

Although I found this book in the juvenile section, there are a couple parts that might not be suitable for younger kids (i.e., the part where the ladies step on the genitals of Mercury in the baths).

Overall maybe 3 stars. Not too bad, I guess.
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