Monday, March 4, 2013

Book review: Priscilla the Great

"Priscilla the Great" by Sybil Nelson


Meet Priscilla Sumner, an ordinary seventh grader with extraordinary gifts. As if middle school isn’t hard enough, not only does Priscilla have to fight pimples and bullies, but genetically enhanced assassins trying to kill her and her family. Armed with wit, strength, and a genius best friend, Priscilla must defeat the Selliwood Institute, an organization dead set on turning children into killing machines.

Add an older brother annoyingly obsessed with Christina Aguilera, mischievous baby twin brothers who could scare the sin off of Satan, and parents more puzzling than a Rubik’s cube in the Bermuda triangle and expect a smoking page-turner!
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My Review

If Nancy Drew had a child one of the X-Men, you'd have someone almost as awesome as Priscilla the Great.  This story is written for preteens through young adults, but it's an excellent read for all ages.  As far as why I chose to read it instead of one of my normal fantasy books, well . . . slight confession:  I've read all the Nancy Drew series, most of the Hardy Boys, all the Tom Swift, all the Cherry Ames . . . and lots of other books geared to young adult.  It's what I read before someone introduced me to my first Xanth book at the age of 14.  I've actually had this one in my Kindle for over a year now (along with a bazillion other books, or however many the Kindle holds)

I really, really, really enjoyed this book.  Priscilla is a likable character who goes through the standard frustrations of a 12 year old, but also has a few twists thrown in.  She's not without her personality flaws, but they're realistic and the reader can totally sympathize with them.  She's got a brothers that make her life difficult, as brothers are supposed to do, and an overprotective father.  Her mother is always absent, which upsets Priscilla more than perhaps anything.  A couple of boys and a best friend complicate matters, as they should.  That's their job after all.

Then information about the Selliwood Institute starts to appear.  I can't tell you too much without giving spoilers.  Mix in shady experiments, children, government plots and you get a story that's filled with adventure, danger and mystery.  There's no end to the suspense.  I started reading and didn't stop until I had finished the story a few hours later.

The only negative I found was that certain things stretch believability a little bit, but it wasn't enough to detract from the story, and it might not be a problem for it's target audience, which is probably people under the age of 40. *chuckling*

I highly recommend this book for preteens on up.  It's a great story with characters that the reader can relate to.  I've already purchased the next in the series and will be getting more as I finish each one.  Oh yeah, there's about 8 or so of them, so it's plenty to keep a reader interested.

About the Author

Sybil Nelson lives in Charleston, SC. She is a former math teacher and has a master’s degree in mathematics from the College of Charleston and bachelor’s degrees from Washington and Lee University. She is currently pursuing a PhD in biostatistics and continues to write in her spare time. To date, Sybil has completed eight novels.


I have decided to review books that I enjoy. I am an avid reader of fantasy, so most of them will be in that genre. I'm not taking any requests, just reading what catches my eyes. You'll find that most of these are from Indie Authors. The way I figure it, David Eddings, Anne McCaffrey, Alan Dean Foster and Piers Anthony (my favorite authors) already have enough reviews, but Indies could always use a few more.

It is important to note here that while I am a writer, I am doing these reviews as a reader. I also know a number of the authors I will be reviewing. This is not an exchange of reviews, nor have I been solicited by those authors to write the review.  If I don't like a book, I won't review it.  At no time will I ever accept any form of payment for a review. When I say that I'm am doing this as a reader, I mean it. I get nothing in exchange.

All my best,

John H. Carroll

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