Rating: 3/5 Stars
Release Date: 4/27/2010
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About the Book: Max Murphy is upset when his parents change vacation plans at the last minute to visit Central America-and leave him home. But when a plane ticket arrives and Max is told he needs to join his parents in San Xavier, he sets off on an adventure. When he arrives, Max discovers his parents are missing. With the help of a Maya girl named Lola, Max discovers that many people-his parents included-are after The Jaguar Stones-ancient stones that hold power. Max and Lola set off to find Max's parents and stop the Jaguar Stones from falling into the wrong hands.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: This is a rare book that is action/adventure without being too heavy on the fantasy. There are some fantasy elements, but they're worked into the story to be more realistic than fantasy. I think this one will have great tween appeal. It doesn't take too long for the adventure to start and once it does, it doesn't slow down. There's a lot of Maya history packed into the book which I think readers who enjoy facts will appreciate. This might even be a fiction book that your usual non-fiction readers will pick up.
The book is somewhat long (almost 400 pages) and while I thought some of that could have been cut down, my tween readers don't seem to mind long books. The ending wraps some things up, but leaves it open for more and I believe this is set to be a trilogy.
As an adult, I found it somewhat annoying that there were pronunciation's thrown into the text for every Maya word-I would have preferred a glossary, but I can see where this would be helpful to younger readers. Also, I thought some of the adventure was too coincidental, but again, I'm sure younger readers will overlook this and instead be caught up in the adventure of the story.
I liked how the book mixed history with adventure. The blurb on the back calls Middleworld "Percy Jackson meets Indiana Jones" and I have to agree (although I could see this having appeal to the readers who enjoyed The Red Pyramid because of the archeology aspects). It also reminded me a bit of the Journey to the Center of the Earth movie. A fun start to a new series, give this to tweens looking for a new adventure series.
Middleworld was featured as the Al's Book Club for Kids pick in June on the Today Show.
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC sent by publisher