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Maya and the Rising Dark

(Maya and the Rising Dark #1)

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4.04  ·  Rating details ·  129 ratings  ·  62 reviews
After her father goes missing, 12-year-old Maya uncovers that he is the keeper of the gateway between our world and The Dark. To find her father, she'll need to unlock her own powers and fight a horde of creatures set on starting a war. Stranger Things meets Percy Jackson set on the south side of Chicago.
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Expected publication: September 22nd 2020 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  129 ratings  ·  62 reviews


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Jade Ratley
Jun 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Thank you to Netgalley for the earc of this one!

I had a real fun time on Maya’s journey. Maya is a 12 year old girl, when on the search for her missing father she finds herself in the middle of a war between two sides of the world - the Orishas and the Darkbringers. It was great to read a middle grade with African mythology, as this is definitely not something I’ve read before!

When putting this through CAWPILE (the rating system I use) this came out at an overall score of 6.71, which is a high 3
...more
The Artisan Geek
Sep 10, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: bookcase


10/9/19
BRUH. I got freaky-deaky lucky and found this one at YALC!

You can find me on
Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website
...more
The Nerd Daily
Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Anuska G

Maya and the Rising Dark is a fun, action-packed adventure story based on West African mythology. Twelve-year old Maya has always dismissed her papa’s adventure stories as bizarre and unreal, but when she begins to notice creatures straight out of those stories around her neighbourhood on the south side of Chicago whom apparently nobody else sees, Maya tells her friends Eli and Frankie about them, and the trio starts looking for an expla
...more
Stephanie
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg-fiction
This book is just fantastically fun and full of characters I adored, starting with brave, loyal Maya herself and very much including her two beautifully geeky best friends, Frankie and Eli, her parents, her teachers, her cranky neighbors, and absolutely all of her beloved neighborhood, which feels so warm and vivid and real. (There's also lots of nice casual diversity, like the fact that Frankie happens to have two moms, the school principal uses the "they" and "them" pronouns, etc.) I loved the ...more
Guylou (Two Dogs and a Book)
Maya and the Rising Dark

📚 𝗛𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗼 𝗯𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝗳𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗱𝘀! Whenever I am in a reading slump, I always turn to a middle-grade book to boost it back up. 𝗠𝗮𝘆𝗮 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗥𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗗𝗮𝗿𝗸 by Rena Barron did just that! What an exciting new adventure with strong characters and unlimited action! This is an exhilarating read from the first page to the last. Twelve-year-old Maya and her friends Frankie and Eli discover that there is more than what meets the eyes when it comes to their lives. Together they need to face many dangers and brave darknes
...more
Adri
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a fun and fast-paced read! It fits the same niche as the Rick Riordan Presents books in that it's an #ownvoices middle grade story about cultural mythology coming to life, so if you enjoy those books, you will definitely be a fan of this one as well.

What really stood out to me about this story is that it's a clever twist on The Chosen One trope. I don't want to say too much, but Maya is *not* the only characters with powers, and in fact she's part of an incredible community that knows al
...more
Stefanie
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic fantasy! Maya embarks on a quest to save her missing dad. As she learns about this magical world that was brought upon her, she uncovers that she is half orisha, half human, as are her friends. Together they journey through wormholes, battling darkbringers to rescue her dad and repair the world. I loved the message of friends battling by your side & uncovering your hidden strengths. ...more
Karen McKenna
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed Maya's adventure story as she learns that her father is the guardian of the veil, a veil that separates the world of the humans that she knows from the Dark where the Darkbringers live ruled by the Lord of the Shadows. The mythology was fascinating. What I appreciated most was the idea that mistakes were made when the veil was created, killing many Darkbringers and causing the hatred that now threatened Maya's family and world. There is also a scene where Maya and her friends fi ...more
Katie Mac
Jul 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a compelling middle-grade fantasy novel that incorporates West African cultural elements. I enjoyed the fast-paced ride that Barron creates, and I especially love how she incorporated the orisha mythology into this work; it's one that I'm not familiar with, and it would be great to introduce it to young readers. The diversity piece is also incredibly important; by making Maya and her friends "godlings," Barro
...more
JoyAnn
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it

I will definitely be purchasing a copy of this for the middle school library. Loved the characters. Maya, Frankie, Eli, the parents, the Lord is Shadows, the twins, etc. They’re all interesting and well developed. I appreciate that Elegguá and The Lord of Shadows are neither all good or bad as hero and villain and are complex. Some of the early battle pacing was a bit disjointed for me, and I thought there was going to be a twist with the epicenter or a connection between Lord of Shadows and May
...more
Mia | The Bookish Feminist
I yelped when I saw that my request for this ARC had been approved. I kind of wish I were exaggerating! And MAYA AND THE RISING DARK did not disappoint. This is a nearly perfect book. It features Maya, a 12-year-old girl who lives on the South Side of Chicago and who goes on a search for her missing father. Maya experiences some strange, fantastical things before she's thrust into a world of Orishas and Dark Magic and sets out to save her neighborhood.

The intersections and representation in thi
...more
Mia | The Bookish Feminist
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I yelped when I saw that my request for this ARC had been approved. I kind of wish I were exaggerating! And MAYA AND THE RISING DARK did not disappoint. This is a nearly perfect book. It features Maya, a 12-year-old girl who lives on the South Side of Chicago and who goes on a search for her missing father. Maya experiences some strange, fantastical things before she's thrust into a world of Orishas and Dark Magic and sets out to save her neighborhood.



The intersections and representation in thi
...more
Anna
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Netgalley for the earc of this cute book!

I had a really great time with Maya and her friends. Maya is a 12 year old girl, who is living her normal life in the South Side Chicago, but when she stays face to face with werehyenas pack and her father has been captured by some dark power, she finds herself in the middle of a war between two opposing forces: the Orishas and the Darkbringers.

Maya and her friends are nerds and geeks. I really like dynamic between Maya, Frankie and Eli. The
...more
Nannette Demmler
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
ARC provided by HMH Books for Young Readers via NetGalley for an honest review.

This is a lovely story and a nice addition to the mythology/urban fantasy genre that has been cropping up of late for the middle grades. I enjoyed learning about this African mythology, and meeting Maya and her family and friends.

Maya is a wonderful main character. She is sweet and loyal and has a great relationship with her parents. I really enjoyed learning about the people in her neighborhood, some of whom turn out
...more
Gabby
A mythology based middle grade? Sign me up. And publishing on my birthday?? Just an extra reason to read it . . .

Rena Barron's MAYA AND THE RISING DARK is an excitable and enjoyable read, featuring West African Mythology and a cast of wonderful characters.

The novel follows the titular character Maya, and her best friends Frankie and Eli as they venture in to the Dark to face the villainous Lord of Shadows and to save her Papa. The friendship between Maya, Frankie and Eli was the best part of t
...more
Ms. Yingling
Feb 16, 2020 rated it liked it
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus



Maya is starting to see some weird things in her South Side Chicago neighborhood, but she doesn't say anything to her parents. Her father is gone a lot for his work, since he is an engineer who travels to lots of different countries to fix edifices. The two share a love for comic books, and are planning on going to Comic Con. She does mention the odd things to her friends Eli and Frankie, which is helpful when the group is attacked. Maya learns that her father, as
...more
V
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Maya and the Rising Dark is the story of Maya and her two friends who must battle the Lord of Shadows to save the world and Maya's father. Until Maya's father goes missing, she did not know of her celestial heritage, thinking that monsters and myths were nothing more than stories. She quickly learns that her father has been guardian of the barrier that keeps "darkbringers" out of the world, and that she and her friends possess powers to battle darkbringers. While Maya is the main character, Eli ...more
BreeAnn (She Just Loves Books)
What I Loved:
I loved Maya so much! She is a caring, wonderful main character. Her special abilities make for a fun story and excellent character self-exploration.

How I Felt:
The Characters: I’ve already gushed a bit about Maya, but I also loved her adorable friends. Eli and Franky help move the story along with their lovable, nerdy personalities. All of the characters in Maya and the Rising Dark were created so well. They had depth and backstories, and overall, helped to shape the entire book.

The
...more
Emily
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review is of an ARC I got at YALC 2019.

Maya and the Rising Dark is similar in concept to Rick Riordan's books, in that it's about a young girl who finds out she isn't fully human - Maya is actually half Orisha. Similarly to learning about Greek Gods through Percy Jackson, I loved finding out about the West African beliefs and traditions which are represented in this book, and I think middle grade readers will find the information presented in a fun and enjoyable way.

There's a lot of actio
...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron, 291 pages. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020. $16.99.

Content: Language: G (0 swears, 0“f”); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG-13

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS – ESSENTIAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Maya is a twelve year old girl in the South Side of Chicago who loves the fantasy stories in her comics. She has grown up with her father sharing fantastical stories of legendary creatures and African Spirits who created the universe, the Orishas. She has a strange experience
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Laura
I received an ARC of this title at YallFest 2019.

12 year old Maya lives in a South Side neighborhood in Chicago, full of interesting characters and raised on her father's stories of African folklore. Her father, frequently traveling for work, is Maya's idol; she loves him dearly and wants to be just like him. However, that may come true in ways she never expected.

When time suddenly pauses all over the world, and dark shadow creatures descend on her neighborhood, Maya learns that her father is an
...more
Meghan
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
This book was received as an ARC from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group - HMH Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

I absolutely loved everything about this book. Such an enticing tale of Maya and the dreams she has been having that she first thinks of messages from her family especially her papa. Later on she realizes that these visual dreams might mean more to her than she thinks and might be
...more
Ursula
Apr 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a fantastic new book review to share with you today. Please note: I received a digital ARC of this book (via NetGalley) from its publisher in exchange for an honest and fair review.

This was such an enjoyable read! Maya and the Rising Dark is a fun mythology/urban fantasy full of great characters and action. Let's start with the cover...GORGEOUS! Maya is super cute and I love the bright and dusky color scheme. I wish I had a book like this to read when I was in middle grade, with a prota
...more
Sam
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Reminding me of Rick Riordan's novels and the books under his imprint, this was great middle-grade fantasy adventure.

Maya's story is a great one, an exciting adventure in which she gets to learn and grow as a person and as a guardian. She and her friends learn to adapt to all the magic in their world and to defend it, learning to use their powers, and using their brains when they're outmatched physically. That, in fact, was one of my favorite parts. When faced with tricks and with opponents far
...more
Beth Mendelsohn
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-arc-s
I received this e-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Twelve-year-old Maya lives on the South Side of Chicago with her mom and frequently traveling dad. She has two best friends – Frankie who is super smart and Eli who is totally into the paranormal. Maya starts seeing strange things happening around her and somehow her dad is connected to it. Frankie and Maya sneak out one night and are attacked by werehyenas! The trio learn that they are godlings, descended from orishas, gods f
...more
Hannah White
So I have a lot of thoughts.

I wanted to like this a lot more than I did. It reminded me a lot of the Percy Jackson books, but the writing could have used some improvement. This is a newer author though, and I’m excited to see more from her! She has an interesting and diverse background that she talks about in the author’s note, and those notes were the parts of the book I enjoyed most—the mythology (the staff was so cool!), the diversity of the cast, and the Chicago setting were all really neat.
...more
Pam
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an electronic ARC from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group through NetGalley.
Another series in the current humans and gods interactive genre. Maya discovers her father is actually the Guardian of the Veil to protect the world from the Dark. Even more surprising, she is a godling (half god, half human) who finds her magic during the dangerous adventure to rescue her dad from the Dark.
Barron has created a fantasy world that fits in the Chicago neighborhood and opens up to a
...more
Trisha Perry
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Maya is a remarkable twelve year old girl with even more remarkable friends who will stand by her even in the dark. Into the dark is where they must go to find and rescue Maya's dad, the keeper of the veil. Maya finds out the hard way that her dads business is not quite what it seems, and her neighborhood as well, almost like her dads stories set in her favorite comic book world. Her dad is a god and is tasked with keeping the veil between our world and the dark intact so the darklings don't cro ...more
Douglas
I was fortunate enough to get an early copy of Maya and the Rising Dark and it's been a joy. As a Black man with a daughter (grown and soon to be married) I wish this book had been around when she was in middle school. Maya is a fully developed character, surrounded by a strong family -- which is central to this story.

... the Rising Dark is a fantasy that is fully formed with history and culture imbued into the story telling.

The characters Miss Lucille and Ida are wonderful, just like the wome
...more
r.
This book is ADORABLE. The writing drew me in right away—light and easy to read. I could feel the love Maya had for her family and them for her, and her friends as well. All of the characters felt real and complicated. I loved Maya's voice, and I loved her coming into her strength. I loved the Comic-Con references and I love the idea of parallel universes and secrets in our world right under our noses. In this case, the Dark, which is like a flip turned upside down version of our world.

I love w
...more
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Rena Barron grew up in small-town Alabama where stories of magic and adventure sparked her imagination. After penning her first awful poem in middle school, she graduated to writing short stories and novels by high school. Rena loves all things science fiction, ghosts, and superheroes. She’s a self-proclaimed space nerd. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading or brushing up on her French ...more

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Maya and the Rising Dark (2 books)
  • Maya and the Return of the Godlings (Maya and the Rising Dark, #2)

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