Time Castaways: The Mona Lisa Key

400p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. Sept. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062568137.
Gr 4–8—Three siblings disobey their parents' seemingly overprotective rule about never getting on the New York subway, only to find themselves aboard a time-traveling vessel whose mission is to collect artifacts around the world from different eras. Matt, the primary character and eldest, finds himself doubting their captain, the alternately creepy and fatherly Captain Vincent, as more is revealed. Third-person narration with memorable characters, an enticing plot, and some cool steampunklike magic will attract readers who love Jen Swann Downey's Ninja Librarians or Brian Farrey's Vengekeep Prophecies. A strong sense of the characters' humanity and interesting time travel paradoxes make up for what is lacking in humor or nail-biting tension.
VERDICT The first in a promising series for fantasy adventure fans.

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