REVIEWS (Book 2)

Books, Babies, and Bows
SUNDAY, APRIL 13, 2014
Mattie Spyglass and the Curse of Ashurnasirpal by Shoba Sreenivasan- A Review
(also featured in Goodreads 4 out of 5 stars)

I think the sentence that most appropriately summarizes this book comes on page 405 at the end of Chapter 17, "The Great Battle would now begin." The second book in the Mattie Spyglass series is truly an epic battle of good versus evil. If you are new to the Mattie Spyglass series, I recommend checking out my review of the first book, Mattie Spyglass and the 8 Magic Stones.

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Overall, I enjoyed reading this second book. Much like the first book, the story is heavily wrapped in religion and history. I am amazed at how well researched the book is. Ironically, there is a heavy emphasis on Russian history, which I knew very little about. However, given the recent news events, I found myself digging into Russian history books to cross reference things I heard in the news and read in the book. In particular, towards the end of the book, I found the thoughts of the character Stal to be incredibly haunting.

"Stal thought with certainty, If you tell them what to think, they will, for people were sheep, and he had read their hearts, filled with anger and envy. ... Soon they would believe that good was evil and evil good." 

This second book is much darker and complex than the first, similar to how the Harry Potter books get progressively darker. This series is definitely for an advanced reader for both the high reading level and the concepts. This is the type of book that when read a second time provides new understanding. I am looking forward to reading this book again and delving more into some of the historical and religious references.

Ms. Sreenivasan's book is intelligently written, drawing from many of the world religions and various historical events over the course of written history. This book would make a compelling companion fiction read to go with a world history or world religion class. I recommend this book for the 12 and older reader who has already had some background knowledge on world history. ...  READ MORE...

Book Goodies
Featured Book: Mattie Spyglass and the Curse of Ashurnasirpal by Shoba Sreenivasan

Volume 2 of the Mattie Spyglass series is a time-travel mythic tale centered around a Babylonian mystery and the Pandora’s box of evil that arises when the Spyglass, an ancient entity, is again awakened to power. This book deepens the aspects of wizardy, Jungian myth and magic. Mattie in releasing souls from Nineveh on the 2nd Stone meant for the underworld into heaven has thrown time into Chaos and incurred the wrath of the Dark Master Marduk. The trio of innocence in the form of 11-year-olds Mattie; Eddie, a wannabe warrior; and Geeta, an introspective Indian girl; and their guide, the old wizard Biddle, journey to the Third Stone on the Path of the Virtuous. Marduk holds one of the Tablets of Destiny, that of Darkness, and seeks the other Tablet to seize all power over the universe. The Hidden Sister who holds the second Tablet of Destiny, that of Light, has been lost. But her whereabouts are known to the Spyglass. Thus, Marduk seeks to capture the Spyglass, and sets his evil servant the Snake Uri Gneezy (and twin of Herman Biddle) to do so.

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The story of Biddle and Wigglesworth and their wizardry is further developed. There is an unleashing of the forces of evil caused by the Chaos, in the form of the forgotten gods of old, they who were defeated by Marduk and plunged into obscurity for the eons. With their rise, and the rise of the battling Gneezy and the Beast, Mattie is targeted on all sides by evil. Book two offer psychological and philosophical insights into how anger divides and provides a fruitful ground for evil to flourish as it ends on a cliffhanger note. 

Mum2Go BookClub
Mattie Spyglass and the 8 Magic Stones
Author: Shoba Sreenivasan (2012)
Genre: Junior Fiction/Action/Adventure/Fantasy

"Readers will marvel at the weaving of historical and religious events with the magical tale of Mattie.  The book paints wonderful scenes with its well-written prose.  It’s the kind of book you can sit down and read to your kids each night and be as enthralled as they are.   This is book number one and leaves this reader wanting more.  Roll on the next book!!" – Reviewed by Kathy, Mum2Go.

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REVIEWS (Book 1)

Books, Babies, and Bows
Mattie Spyglass and the 8 Magic Stones- A Review

In Shoba Sreenivasan's "Mattie Spyglass and the 8 Magic Stones," the story of an 11-year-old girl with frizzy hair unfolds into a race across and through time in an exhilarating adventure filled with magic, mystery, and more history lessons than you would ever expect from a children's literature novel.

I happened to read about this novel on Twitter, and I was instantly drawn in by the beautiful cover illustration Dan Ungureanu. After reading an Amazon review that said it was an American Harry Potter, but better- I figured I couldn't go wrong. And that was the extent of the research that I did for the book. I logged onto my Kindle and downloaded it. I am always looking for books to read aloud to my daughter that are adventurous and keep her wanting to come back to them night after night, so I figured this would be a sure thing since she LOVED Harry Potter. However, once I started reading it, I quickly decided that this book is meant for a much older audience (probably 11 and older) because of the complexity of the historical references. I actually started to read it to Miss M., but when I read ahead to see what to expect, I realized that the locations and settings in this book would be far too complicated to explain to my little learner. That all said, I loved the book. How can you tell? Because even after I realized that it wasn't quite appropriate to read to my daughter yet, I kept reading. Yes, I am an adult reading children's literature. ...  READ MORE...

Publishers Weekly: Children's Review
Mattie Spyglass and the 8 Magic Stones
Shoba Sreenivasan. Holy Moly Press (, $14.95 paper (366p) ISBN 978-0-9853604-0-5

Although this complex, fanciful adventure opens in 1968 Hackensack, N.J., it soon launches its protagonists across time and space in a battle between good and evil. When 11-year-old Mattie O'Reilly discovers an antique spyglass among her late archaeologist father's possessions, she thinks it might be good for show and tell. Then the malevolent Uri Gneezy arrives to claim the magical artifact, and Mattie and her friends are catapulted through the years in an attempt to destroy the spyglass before it can be used for evil. As they work through the challenges presented by the Buddhist Path of the Virtuous, they gain glimpses of a much larger conflict at work. From Hitler's Germany and Rasputin's Russia to ancient Babylonia and then-current Vietnam, the children fight mundane and mythological opponents, leading to a cliffhanger ending. Debut author Sreenivasan's work is multilayered, drawing from a wide variety of sources and inspirations, and may be a little too ambitious and overcrowded. The rapidly expanding cast and clash of cultures may make readers' heads spin, even as they marvel at this tale's depths. Ages 11–up.
Reviewed on: 02/18/2013

The Midwest Book Review: Children's Bookwatch
Curiosity is dangerous — it might charge you with saving a world. "Mattie Spyglass and the 8 Magic Stones" follows a young fifth grader who finds a mystical spyglass that throws her through time with her friends, and she finds herself pitted against an evil warlock who races against her to find the stones before she does. "Mattie Spyglass" is a strong pick for lovers of young adventure fantasy, not to be missed.

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A mythical travel through time in a new children’s adventure book

Mattie, her friends and a wizard are hurled backwards in time to escape an evil serpentine creature of the underworld who they must ultimately defeat in Shoba Sreenivasan’s “Mattie Spyglass and the 8 Magic Stones”

LOS ANGELES – A fantasy adventure with a moral center in the tradition of “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis, “Mattie Spyglass and the 8 Magic Stones” (ISBN 0985360402) is a dramatic and mythical work that will entrance children and adults alike. Shoba Sreenivasan creates an evocative story about an 11-year old girl whose world is forever changed when she comes across a mysterious spyglass.

Mattie’s adventure begins in the year 1968 in the most ordinary of places: the basement of Sears in Hackensack, New Jersey. There the spyglass chooses Mattie as her owner catapulting her friends Eddie, Geeta and an old wizard named Mr. Herman Biddle into the dangerous River of Time.

On the run from the serpentine Uri Gneezy, who would use the Spyglass’ magic to control the world, the wizard hurls Mattie and her friends through the past, from the time of the rule of the last Russian Czar to the evil winter of the Nazis.

Uri Gneezy is aided in his pursuit by all the sinister creatures contained in the Black Book of Magic.  In opposition, Mr. Biddle holds the White Book of Magic which reveals the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian Book of Creation, and the daunting task before this intrepid crew:  they must cross the treacherous Path of the Virtuous, otherwise known as “The 8 Magic Stones.”

As the benevolent and malevolent forces battle each other, the good wizard tells his young charges, “You know that there is in this world of ours, good and evil. That they are twin natures in the human soul. Who wins is our choice. A Divine decision, called Free Will.”

Mattie is far from home and just a young girl, yet the challenges she face will summon a courage and maturity inside her she barely knew she possessed. To get out alive she needs to fight back against the forces of darkness.

“Mattie Spyglass and the 8 Magic Stones” is available for sale online at and other channels.

About the Author: 

Shoba Sreenivasan is a forensic psychologist. She earned a doctorate in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and is a clinical professor at USC. She has published several papers and co-authored a motivational book. This is her first work of fiction.

Shoba Sreenivasan
Phone:    (310) 456-3173