Hey all, Dani here.
It is bonus post time. I think I actually did a pretty good job this month of keeping up with reviews for books that I read during Middle Grade March. I’m pretty happy with that.
Also, we did manage to finish cleaning up the apartment yesterday, so I’ve been relaxing and fully enjoying my time reading for #readathonbyzoe.
Anyway, let’s jump into the review.
Zane has always enjoyed exploring the dormant volcano near his home in New Mexico, even though hiking it is challenging. He’d much rather hang out there with his dog, Rosie, than go to middle school, where kids call him Sir Limps a Lot, McGimpster, or Uno — for his one good leg. What Zane doesn’t know is that the volcano is a gateway to another world and he is at the center of a powerful prophecy.
A new girl at school, Brooks, informs him that he’s destined to release an evil god from the ancient Maya relic he is imprisoned in — unless she can find and remove it first. Together they return to the volcano, where all kinds of crazy happens. Brooks turns into a hawk, a demon attacks them in a cave, and Rosie gives her all while trying to protect Zane. When Zane decides to save his dog no matter the cost, he is thrust into an adventure full of surprising discoveries, dangerous secrets, and an all-out war between the gods, one of whom happens to be his father. To survive, Zane will have to become the Storm Runner. But how can he run when he can’t even walk well without a cane?
Feisty heroes, tricky gods, murderous demons, and spirited giants are just some of the pleasures that await in this fresh and funny take on Maya mythology, as rich and delicious as a mug of authentic hot chocolate.
Rating: 4.5 stars
This was a really strong start to a series, particularly for fans of Percy Jackson. Zane and his tale felt very similar, while also vastly different. There is a whole new pantheon of gods to learn about here, and it absolutely fascinated me.
Let’s talk about Zane’s limp. I love how he has adapted his life to deal with the fact that he is just a bit different than others. It’s unfortunate that other kids pick on or bully him because he has a cane though. At least he has his mom, his uncle, and his trusty dog Rosie to help him.
I also enjoyed the descriptions and the infusion of Spanish into regular conversation.
What bothered me slightly was that in some aspects it felt a little too like Percy Jackson. Zane’s relationship with his mom was similar, his uncle felt a bit like Smelly Gabe in the beginning (this aspect changed significantly be the end, thank goodness), and even Zane being part of a big prophecy, as well as being the son of one of the major gods.
But the book was entertaining. I’m glad we had a glossary/pronunciation guide because I would have messed up a few names of deities.
Oh, and I haven’t even talked about the book design. I loved the colors on the cover and then the naked hardcover was a bright and vibrant orange. It is just a beautiful and colorful contrast.
I am very excited about the release of the sequel later this year. I bet it is going to be just as interesting.