Fourteen-year-old Max Murphy is looking forward to summer vacation in
. But at the last minute his parents, the famous archaeologists Frank and Carla Murphy, cancel the trip in favor of a Mayan dig in Italy Central America. Max, furious at being left behind, resigns himself to a summer of video games and boredom. Then he gets a message from his parents and a plane ticket to come join them. He thinks things are looking up, until he actually lands in San Xavier and realizes that his parents are missing. Through Lola, a modern Mayan girl, Max learns that his parents have been sucked into the Mayan underworld. And to make matters even worse, a crazed madman is collecting the Jaguar Stones, extremely powerful Mayan relics, in an attempt to take over the world. Now max and Lola have less than a week to trek through the jungle, rescue Max’s parents, and save the world.
I really wish this series had been around when I was in middle school. It is fast-paced and fun. The black and white illustrations throughout the book are a nice touch, and the Mayan culture glossary in the back of the book was helpful. There are a few spots I felt were over-written and too moralizing, but as a younger reader I doubt I’d notice. The fictional country of San Xavier is realistically described and Max is a believable, if overly dramatic, adolescent boy. I loved Lola. The mystery surrounding her character is a great set-up for future books. I also liked the fact that the “bad guys” have a few redeeming qualities and, in one case, a change of heart. The plot is full of unexpected twists, including an ancient warrior-king returning as a howler monkey, that keep readers guessing. In a series, a cliff-hanger ending is a must, and this one did not disappoint. Middle-schoolers everywhere will be waiting for the next installment.
Book provided by BookDivas