Book Review in the Loudoun Times-Mirror, March 3, 2016
Smithsonian Adventure Captivates Young Readers: The Firma Twins and the Purple Staff of Death, Book 1 of The Firma Twins Adventures
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Twelve-year-old identical twins, Isis and Electra Firma, discover they have fantastical powers far beyond anything they could have imagined.
In the first installment of "The Firma Twins Adventures" series, D. H. Timpko uncovers the history of the Firma family and places twin sisters Isis and Electra Firma on center stage to play out the adventure.
Isis and Electra Firma aren't your average 12-year-old girls. Rather, they are twin sisters who seem to have an acute propensity to find adventure that deposits them in the doorway of danger. It is the twins' 12th birthday and to celebrate, their parents take them to the coveted Smithsonian in Washington D.C. with two of their friends, Kelly and Phoenix. The Firma family has been steeped in Greek history for decades; hence the inspiration for the twins' birth names. How appropriate the twins would find themselves wandering through the mummy exhibit. All is not what it seems. Isis is drawn to the 2000-year-old mummy exhibit. Imagine her surprise when it comes to life and delivers its message that she is the 'Chosen One.'
Still trying to shake the experience, the 'tweens meet their parents back at the minivan. As they are about to leave, their van is rear-ended and Isis receives another message—this time from the squirrel with the purple sash. She tries to speak, but no words come out. Dr. Dearth, a diabolical human-sized rat has his hands firmly placed around Isis' neck and the life is slowly slipping from her being. The ambulance arrives and Isis is taken to the hospital. Once the doctor assures her parents she will recover, the group continues home—Isis, however, will remain in the hospital overnight for observation.
What Isis cannot possibly know, is once she returns home, it will be her mission to enlist the help of her twin sister and friends to uncover her grandfather’s diaries. Only then will they begin to understand the connection between it, the Purple Staff of Death and the evil Dr. Dearth's role in it all.
Timpko has selected a delightful premise for this mystical series of fantasy and adventure. The dialogue is credible and the allure engaging. Her target audience (young adult) is the perfect genre to entice young readers to engage in the wonder of the joy of reading. The adventure is certainly laced with delicious fantasy and naturally appeals to the aforementioned age group. The story line is clean and not too gruesome (or scary) to incite nightmares.
Rather, it is every young adults’ fantasy to step into the pages of imagination and travel willingly throughout. Timpko has mastered the art of encouraging young readers to grasp the concept of just how fun reading can be. I look forward to the next installment of the Firma Twins adventures.
Loudoun County author Diane Lunsford reviews books of local authors or with a regional angle for the Times-Mirror.
Readers' Favorite Five-Star Review of The Firma Twins and the Purple Staff of Death, Book 1 of The Firma Twins Adventures
The Firma Twins and the Purple Staff of Death by D. H. Timpko is a fantastical tale of identical twins Isis and Electra, born into a family with a history of identical twins, passed down from generation to generation, including their younger brothers. The story begins on the girls’ 12th birthday and Isis gets to pick what they do. She chooses the family outing to visit an exhibit in Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian Institute—as Isis put it, the Museum of Ancient Egyptian Stuff. She wants to see the mummy that has just been autopsied. While looking at the body in a glass case, Isis notices a bug crawling from the ear to the mouth, and entering the skull through a nostril. As if in a dream, the eyes glow red, the mummy sits up, tells Isis that the vampires have risen, and the Squrlon are in danger. Isis must find the Purple Staff of Death and lead the battle.
D. H. Timpko does a superb job of introducing many characters that get recruited for the school play, which just happens to be a modern day Pied Piper of Hamlin, but on steroids. Electra plays the Flutist and the rats are as big as humans. The author intertwines the play with the solving of the mysteries of their family’s secret history. I loved the way she let Isis become another Nancy Drew. The Firma Twins and the Purple Staff of Death is a fast paced tale of wonder with many different twists and surprises that will leave you hungry for more.
—Stephan Fisher for Readers’ Favorite, May 2015
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Broad Universe, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting, encouraging, honoring, and celebrating women writers and editors in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other speculative genres
The Firma Twins and the Purple Staff of Death
A Firma Twins Adventure, Book 1
Born into a family with a history of identical twins, Isis Firma and her identical twin sister Electra are as different as two people can be. Isis is studious and quiet, and Electra is an outgoing athlete. Because it’s her turn to decide, Isis gets to pick what they’ll do on their twelfth birthday. Much to Electra’s disgust, Isis decides they’ll go to the Institute of Ancient Egyptian Stuff in Washington, DC, to see a mummy that’s just been autopsied. While looking at the mummy, Isis notices a bug crawling from the ear to the mouth and entering the skull through a nostril. Unseen by everyone except Isis, the eyes glow red and the mummy sits up and tells her the Vympyrym have arisen and the Squrlon are in danger. Isis must find the Purple Staff of Death and lead the battle. Then even stranger things happen as Isis tries to unravel the mystery of the mummy’s message and the secrets of her family.
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