Pandora's Key

Rated 3.93/5 based on 28 reviews
On her sixteenth birthday Evangeline is given a necklace with a key charm. Everything changes. Her looks morph from geeky to stunning. Her mom is hospitalized. Her godmother attempts murder. An ancient Order tries to kill her, and a lethal Sect to kidnap her. Evangeline must use the key to unlock an unbelievable mystery. But can she accept who she really is and save the world? More
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About Nancy Richardson Fischer

I was born on the east coast and went to Cornell University. After college I worked as a writer for Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. It was a fun first job and I learned how to write quickly, and also that when elephants sneeze on you it's very (VERY) messy. After a year in the circus, I moved out west. I lived in Aspen, Colorado where I skied as much as possible and worked as a waitress in a Mexican restaurant. Great experience but I learned that waitressing is hard (HARD) and I'm not very good at it.

After Aspen, I moved to San Francisco, California where I worked as a writer for University of California, San Francisco and wrote freelance for LucasFilm. At UCSF I learned that sitting in a cubicle under fluorescent lights dulls my soul. LucasFilm taught me that writing freelance, especially fiction, is fun (FUN). So I headed to graduate school in Boulder, Colorado to further hone my skills.

For the first part of my freelance writing career I wrote sport autobiographies. I'd visit and travel with an athlete like Monica Seles, Bela Karolyi, Nadia Comaneci or Apolo Ohno and then write their book. It was a terrific job, but after ten years and tons of incredible experiences I got tired of writing other peoples' stories and not my own.

I've always loved books with adventure, magic, and dark forces. I'm a huge fan of Stephen King, Peter Straub, Neil Gaiman, Suzanne Collins and George R.R. Martin. Those writers allow a reader to lose themselves in stories that are intense, sometimes other-worldly, yet strangely believable. I feel incredibly lucky that now I have the chance to create books for readers that will hopefully captivate and transport them into a world where the supernatural is possible with characters that they can relate to who are flawed yet totally compelling.

Today I live in the Pacific Northwest with my amazing husband, Henry, and our mostly loveable (but sometimes vorpal) Vizsla, Boone. When I'm not conjuring a story, I love to kite-board, bike, ski or plan adventures with Boone and Henry, who both make me laugh for different reasons and who are the best partners in fun a gal could ever imagine.

Learn more about Nancy Richardson Fischer

Reviews of Pandora's Key by Nancy Richardson Fischer

Nenia Campbell reviewed on July 19, 2014

I've always found Greek mythology fascinating; it definitely consists of one of the most interesting pantheons in the world rivaled only by my interest in ancient Egypt. As a child, I grew up with D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, and it says something that those "dead gods" are still worshiped even today, in the twenty-first century, in our fiction.

Pandora's Box is one of those stories that I demanded be read most. Mostly because it's just so like a fairytale: to punish the humans, the gods release a very roundabout means of delivering their revenge--a beautiful woman with a deadly deus ex machina. The first femme fatale. Naturally, I was super excited when I found out that somebody had written a story about one of my favorite myths.

Pandora's Key is about a Dan Brownesque group of followers who protect the descendent of Pandora, and the box. However, there's an additional bonus to this curse--the descendents are doomed to die early, and painfully. Oh boy! There is also an evil group of people dedicated to collecting and selling the artifacts of the gods for money and power, and they are called the Archivists. They're pretty much like a society of evil Indiana Joneses. Except they walk around in robes, not Stetsons.

Some readers complained that there was too much mythology. I kind of liked that; it was a great way to brush up on the myths this story was building off of, and since the author added some things it was nice to have an idea of where the story was going.

Pandora's Key wasn't perfect though, and aside from the problems that frequently plague us indie writers (typos, info dumping, haphazard pacing), there were some issues about this book that bothered me.

First, let me say that I liked Malledy's character. He's a young member of the Archivists with early-onset Huntington's, a disease that will gradually wreak havoc with his muscle control, eventually even keeping him from swallowing--and, ultimately, breathing. (For another interesting book about early-onset Huntington's, check out the translated magic-realism novel, April Witch.) He thinks that if he can find Pandora's box and descendent, he can force her to heal him. The passages with him were pretty well done and I liked the twist with him at the end--I totally did not see that coming. Well done!

Evangeline's character, by contrast, was not so great. She's very passive and socially inept. A lot of the things other characters said about her didn't jibe with what she said and did. She doesn't think she's pretty, she envies her best friend's good-looks, she's clumsy; I would have liked to see her fleshed out, with interests, hopes, desires. Interests stemming beyond her looks and her love life.

I thought the way that she brought up her absent father when Melia's BF asked about her birthday was super-awkward. Who does that? "How was your day?" "Oh, my days have been pretty bad ever since my parents abandoned me on brothel's front porch when I was only six months old." I understand the need for exposition, of course, but it should come in a natural way that matches the flow of the story as it unfolds.

I didn't like Tristin and Melia, either. Tristin's behavior was sort of accounted for at the end but Melia was a total witch. Also, (view spoiler). I do like the fact that Evangeline didn't believe she was Pandora right away, but it actually went on for too long. That never happens! So I'm actually bizarrely pleased by this.

Let me close by saying that I really liked the idea. PK could use some polish, but the idea is very similar to the Artemis Fowl/Percy Jackson sort of deal, with a precocious kid fulfilling destiny and coming into age, blah blah blah. I'm not quite sure who the target audience is. I think the characters were sixteen, but they acted younger--and yet the medical information, while well-researched--is complicated enough that most readers probably wouldn't understand it without college biology.

So, to quote Simba, from the Lion King, I'll finish by saying that this book was "slimy, yet satisfying."

Thank you, Nancy Richardson Fischer, for providing me with a copy for review. I hope both that my review is useful, and that I didn't offend you by not liking it quite as much as some of your other readers. :)

2 stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. This in no way biased or shaped my reading or opinion of the book.
(reviewed 2 years after purchase)
Mackenzie Mensching reviewed on Sep. 30, 2012

This book was awesome. Nancy did such a good job. I would recommend this book to anyone. I cannot wait for the second book.
(reviewed 30 days after purchase)
Lili Lost in a Book reviewed on Sep. 21, 2012

I don't need to mention (again) that I love Greek mythology, right? Of course I do! I LOVE it! And I really liked Pandora's Key! I though it was a very interesting take on Pandora's myth, which I liked!

So, Evangeline holds the key to the one and only Pandora's box. She is its protectress, and she comes from a long line of protectors. But there are people out there who really want the key to open the box...for better or for worse. Evangeline's job? protect the box from being opened and unleashing the things that lurk inside. It's not an easy job, I tell you. There are people after her and the key.

The line between confidants and enemies blurs, and Evangeline doesn't know who she can and cant trust in this world she was suddenly thrust into.

Pandora's Key was an enjoyable read with a great story line and Greek myth intertwined awesomely! There were some shocking moments...One surprise in particular (*cough* Malledy *cough*) left me speechless! I sat there blinking, thinking: "He...this whole time? OMG! Whoa." It was pretty crazy stuff.

Overall, I really liked the story and found that it was very interesting. I am looking forward for more of the series!
(reviewed 7 months after purchase)
Renetta reviewed on July 24, 2012

My actual rating of this book is 3.5 stars.

It was fun to read a story about how Greek mythology plays a role in current time.

I enjoyed the prologue which told the mythology version of Pandora's Box. Not exactly how I remember the story but it was an interesting version.

The story is set in Portland, Oregon. I lived there for a few years so I liked the familiarity. The story is about an average teenage girl, Evangeline, who finds out she's anything but average. Her mother isn't well and she fears losing her and being on her own. While her mother is hospitalized she learns that almost everyone she knows has secrets they've been keeping from her. The secrets of Pandora's Box and how she's involved with the "cult" as she refers to it.

There's another story going on that later entwines together in the story. A teenage boy, Malledy, is part of a secret group, known only to the rich and powerful, that searches out powerful talisman for their wealthy clients. The search becomes personal when he figures out that it can save him from the incurable disease he has, Huntington's disease.

Evangeline has to quickly find the courage within her to learn about her family's history and protect herself and the people she loves.
This being the first book in a trilogy, I will definitely read the next two books and follow this story to it's end.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Gwynneth White reviewed on July 24, 2012

This is a very quick read, but I think the premise of Pandora's Key book was better than its execution.

Things I liked:
It was interesting to see Greek mythology from the perspective of us mortals. And I liked that Nancy Fischer didn't sugarcoat the gods - they were awful and she didn't hide it. The plot line was fascinating and well worth a read.

Although I did not like Mallady, and had very little sympathy with his plight, he was well-sketched. I also enjoyed the complexities of Juliette's character. These two carried the book for me. That said, I also had a soft spot for the doctor.

The book certainly had its twists and turns and I admit there were a few things I just didn't see coming. Well done to Nancy Fischer for that.

Things I didn't like:
Evangeline. No way! I just could not get my head around this girl, and therefore had no sympathy with her. I thought she was self-absorbed, selfish and spineless. Also, I thought the whole 'Raphe betrayed me' act was unbelievable. It was as if the author added it to spice up the drama. It was very transparent. So, Evangeline? Not a favourite heroine.

I also struggled with Samantha. She was supposed to be a kind, caring friend to Olivia and Evangeline, so why was she such a bitch? Can people change so much? I didn't buy it.

Will I read the next book? To be honest, no. I just am not invested enough in the story or the characters. But I have no doubt that my daughter, with her obsession with Greek Mythology, will lap it up.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Angie Lenkevich reviewed on July 21, 2012

Evangeline Theopolis or E to her friends is a teenager who is turning sixteen soon. E with her best friend Melia and Raphe Petersen help E cope with life and other struggles she faces. E has been having strange dreams that are more like nightmares of different women killing themselves in the prime of their lives. E's mother Olivia has been acting strangely lately and E is worried about her. Samatha Harris is Olivia's agent and E's godmother. Malledy is an Archivist and suffering from Huntington's Disease. He is searching for some cure and hope that he can defeat the disease. Malledy is keeping a few secrets of his own from Juliette and the Archivists too. Juliette is Malledy's mentor and follow Archivist that is hiding a secret. She is a member of the Pandora Sect and leading a dual life which is wearing on her these last few years. Malledy has an appointment with Dr. Aali regarding Huntington's Disease. He's hoping for good news but not holding his breathe either. E's world is turned upside down when she finds her mother passed out on her bedroon floor. Dr. Sullivan tells Olivia and E that there isn't much hope. E tries to deny the truth yet it's plain on Dr. Sullivan's face. E is kidnapped and taken hostage by unseen foes in front of Raphe. Raphe asks for Dr. Sullivan's in finding E Dr. Sullivan reluctantly agrees to help. Detective Morrison is searching for Evangeline and Samatha too. Will Olivia get better? Will Juliette be found out? What is Malledy's plan? Will E trust Samatha or Melia? What about Raphe? Will Detective Morrison find E? Your answers await you in Pandora's Key.
(reviewed 52 days after purchase)
Mineliz Medina reviewed on July 20, 2012

I had a bit of a problem getting into the story first. It was kind of slow in building to the interesting parts. But about 1/4 into it, it got my attention.

Something I liked was the different POV's in the story. Many authors have trouble making the POV's unique to the characters.

Also liked the struggle Evangeline has with accepting the truth of her ancestry. 'Cause let's face it it's not everyday a girl is informed she is descendant of someone famous, and it gave the story an edge.

I liked the hint of romance mixed in the story. I would love to read more about Raphe.

Something I didn't like...some of the things where to predictable.

But all in all it was a good story.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
Lilly Jean reviewed on July 19, 2012

I've always been interested in Greek Mythology and I liked this book from beginning to end. There was one part near the end that I didn't like, but that was eventually fixed :) I've definitely found a great author with Nancy Richardson Fischer and can't wait to read more of her books!
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Andrea Heltsley reviewed on July 19, 2012

Pandora's Key was a very intriguing book. I was skeptical after the first couple pages, but it quickly picked up speed and I held on for the duration. The story was gripping and I couldn't put it down.

Evangeline was a character that remained very confused throughout the book and I kind of liked that she wasn't some kick ass hero. The characters each served a part in the story and I liked the way they were weaved into the story.

The only negative about the book was the fact that it wasn't told only through Evangeline. Malledy served as a second narration and I found it to be unnecessary and out of place in spots. I understood the author's intentions, it just didn't flow.

There was a lot of mythology and that kept it interesting. All in all, I enjoyed the mystery and it sucked me in. The story made sense and I was satisfied at the end of the book.

This is the first in a trilogy and I can't wait to see what the next book holds. This is a great paranormal YA and I highly recommend it:)
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Marie Francis reviewed on July 14, 2012

This book is completely enthralling!
It had me fixated page to page.
It was a completely different and very interesting take on pandoras box. And I had no idea what to expect as the story continued.

Its definitely worth reading and I am very glad the author offered her book up for a review for it is a series good enough to ensure I read the next installment.
(reviewed 17 days after purchase)
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