Debbie's Reviews > Middleworld

Middleworld by Jon Voelkel
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's review
Jun 26, 10

bookshelves: ya, suspense
Read in June, 2010

"MiddleWorld" is a fast-paced adventure (with some fantasy elements) for boys and girls ages 10 and up. Both kids and adults will find it very entertaining; however, the authors used enough "big words" that I wondered if tweens and teens really were their target audience. Sometimes even I didn't know what the words meant. In a few cases, I think it was actually a typo (there were a noticeable, though not huge, number of misspelled words in the book).

The characters were engaging and realistic, and I cared about what happened to them. Though the main plot points were rather fantastic, the main characters also struggled with problems that every teenager deals with and they acted like teenagers do. (The adults were all a little wacky.) The teenager characters learned how to appreciate each others' strengths and work together to achieve their objective.

The suspense built nicely throughout the story. There was also a humorous tone to the novel that kept the very real danger to the kids from seeming too scary.

The world-building was excellent, with details about the setting and the ancient Maya woven into the story. Black and white illustrations were scattered throughout the novel. There's also a glossary and some bonus information about the Maya at the back of the novel.

Usually, I don't like the frequent use of figurative language because it rarely clarifies a point or mental image. Often, it doesn't even make sense to me though it might sound nice. This novel had a good amount of figurative language, but it made the descriptions clearer and more vivid. It really, really worked for me.

The only religion mentioned was the ancient Mayan religion. Though the main characters were initially skeptical, by the end of the novel, they'd met several Mayan gods and believed they were real. The Maya gods weren't portrayed as nice or worthy of worship, but they were treated as real. The magic in the book consisted of the Jaguar Stones and the powers of the Mayan gods.

There was a very minor amount of bad language. There was no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this fun novel as engaging, mostly clean fun.

This book was a review copy received through Goodman Media International, Inc.

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