Publication Date/Version: April 2010/Paperback and Hardcover
Age Group: Middle Grade with Young Adult appeal
Received From: Publisher
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?
Max, a spoiled boy from Boston, is thrown into a whirlwind of ancient Mayan culture. When his archaeologist parents disappear, it's up to him to find them and bring them back. There are more than a few obstacles in his way, however. He comes across thieving monkeys, a Mayan girl, stones with the power to destroy the world, and a few bad guys who are out to get them.
The Jaguar Stones is an action-packed novel that will appeal to Middle Grade readers, as well as those in the Young Adult category who love adventure or history. I also recommend this to boys who can't seem to find a good book.
Max, who is initially and continually a very whiny character who luckily deals with that problem later on, is the unsuspecting victim of a huge quest to find the Jaguar Stones and save the world from the Lords of Death. While far-fetched, the story is made interesting by lots of Mayan history. I've always had a fascination with ancient cultures, and this book really fed my appetite. I'm so glad to have picked it up, as I learned a ton and enjoyed one of the most action-filled stories I've read in a long time. The culture of the Mayans resonated on such a large scale in The Jaguar Stones; the basic facts and rituals were incredibly neat, and I know that anyone who enjoys history will love this book.
As I said, Max is initially annoying but he gradually develops into a selfless character. Lola, a Mayan girl, is feisty, independent, and courageous. I'm adding her to my list of good role models. She fights for what she believes in and will do anything to protect her people. The plot was complicated and the book lengthy at 400 pages, a bit so for MG readers. For these reasons, I recommend this book to upper MG readers or Young Adult readers. The plot never slowed down, and I felt as though I were in an awesome Indiana Jones film.
I could really tell that J&P Voelkel did a large amount of research, and I really appreciate that. This book could have been average, based on Mayan facts that everyone knows, but I learned a lot and was introduced to a fascinating culture. I am immensely excited for book two!
Overall: Tons of action. Exciting plot. Fascinating culture. Great for MG and YA readers.
My Advice: Buy a copy if my review has interested you at all
The Cover: Very literal covers can be hit-and-miss, but I'm really fond of this one. The text is interesting, and the image accurately portrays an intense scene in the story.
*This was read as a part of the 100+ Reading Challenge