“Middleworld (The Jaguar Stones #1)” by J&P Voelkel
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Adventure, Fantasy
Summary from Goodreads:
Fourteen-year-old Max Murphy, video-gamer extraordinaire, is furious when his archaeologist parents cancel the family vacation to go on a dig in Central America. But things go from bad to worse when Max is summoned to join them, only to discover that his parents have vanished. With the help of Lola, a fast-talking, quick-thinking Maya girl, Max embarks on a quest to find out just what’s going on. Soon Max and Lola are running for their lives in the perilous rainforest, as they unlock ancient secrets, meet mysterious strangers, and begin to understand that, in San Xavier, nothing is ever as it seems.
Fate has delivered a challenge of epic proportions to Max Murphy. But can a teen whose biggest talent is for video games rescue his parents from the Maya Underworld and save himself from the villainous Lords of Death?
Percy Jackson meets Indiana Jones in this heart-stopping–and funny–adventure set in the Mayan jungle.
The summary was enough to sell me on the book. The above blurb on the back of the book made me a bit nervous though. I’m a huge fan of Percy Jackson and Indiana Jones so in theory I should love the book but I was worried that it was more of a marketing ploy than anything. Well, I gotta say they were pretty close to the mark with the blurb.
This book was a good mix of Percy Jackson and Indiana Jones. Don’t go into this thinking it’s going to be exactly like PJ though. It simply takes the idea that the old myths are actually true and aren’t simply stories. The Indiana Jones bit was all the archeology through out the story. The story did feel a bit like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Both had the different cultures, stones that were very important, human sacrifices… probably more but I can’t think of them right now.
Back to the book….Man it was an adventure. The story got exciting pretty fast. The story never really slows down. There were times where I felt wiped out after reading for a bit! Does that show my age or my laziness?
The book is a middle grade book (or a younger Young Adult book) so it is a bit on the juvenile side. I found the voice of the narrator to be a bit similar to Percy Jackson. There are quite a few fart jokes and other things that are meant for younger readers. Even though the book is written for younger readers, I was still able to fully enjoy the book. It’s juvenile enough to make the story fun but not juvenile enough to turn off readers older than 12.
Max and Lola were good characters. They were strong and well developed. I really loved Lola. Can’t go wrong with a strong female heroine.
The Mayan mythology was a bit heavy. I have absolutely no background of Mayan myths so I went into the book not knowing what to expect. The authors do a good job of making it fairly easy to understand. The book is really long for a middle grade book (416 pgs) so it’s a LOT of information to take in especially with no background. There is a glossary and other tools at the back of the book for reference.
Overall, it was a really fun book to read. I can’t wait to read the second installment. Thankfully, I already have it! Now all I have to do is wait for the 3rd installment…
Side note: The authors’ website has quite a bit of information about the Mayan culture for those who are interested. They also have tools for teachers and free bookmarks for those who want them.
Highly recommended for fans of Percy Jackson and the Kane Chronicles and anyone who enjoys a good adventure.