These are the first two books in a series of seven, which span seven days and seven continents.
Arkie Sparkle, the daughter of two archaeologists with access to amazing technology, comes home from school to find her parents have been kidnapped. There is a message from the kidnapper saying that in order to get them back she must follow a series of clues involving travelling to seven continents in as many days. Impossible? Not really. Arkie has access to technology including a craft called the BLUR, which can dodge local radar, a computer with all the information she might need and even a time machine enabling travel into the past! She also has a genius cousin, TJ, and TJ’s dog Cleo, who come with her.
In Code Crimson, they go to Egypt and travel into the past where they meet Abu Simbel, the boy after whom the place is now named. They also encounter Giovanni Belzoni, the circus strongman who uncovered the temple of Ramses II.
Time Trap finds them in China, in the time of the First Emperor, the one who was on a quest for immortality and destroyed as many books and scholars as he could. Arkie is after a book called the Book of Songs which is part of the next clue, and the only way to get close to it is to pretend to be an immortal herself. She hasn’t, of course, been counting on the sheer lunacy of this particular Emperor...
There is an endearing silliness about these books which should give young readers a chuckle. Each of them has many illustrations and information about the historical characters written in a chatty style at the back, so that the reader learns something, even if it’s only enough to help out in a trivia quiz. TJ being what she is, she spouts facts as she goes, while Arkie has to learn something to help her find the next clue in the puzzle. There is just enough information to give young readers the curiosity to go look it up. The language is generally fairly simple, though words like “manifesting’ and “turbocharged” might be confusing. But most of the long words are in context, so that they can probably be figured out.
Recommended for mid-late primary.