In this highly anticipated sequel, Maya and the godlings must return to the sinister world of The Dark to retrieve the one thing keeping the veil between the worlds from crumbling: her father's soul. Perfect for fans of Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky and Willia of the Wood.
The threat from The Dark is far from over. Twelve-year-old Maya knows this. After crossing the veil between the two worlds, saving her father, and narrowly escaping the sinister clutches of the Lord of Shadows, tensions between the human world and The Dark are higher than ever. And even worse, Maya’s orisha powers as a godling are out of control.
Now a guardian in training, Maya spends her days patching up veils with her father and cleaning up near-disasters like baby wormholes that her erratic powers create. But when Maya and her friends discover that something went terribly wrong during their journey to bring her father back to the human world, they are forced to return to The Dark and restore what they left behind, the one thing keeping the veil from falling: her father’s soul.
The Lord of Shadows is mobilizing his forces for an all-out war against the human world. And this time, Maya and her friends will need all the help they can get. Even if that means teaming up with their greatest enemies, the darkbringers.
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.
Rena is the author of the YA fantasy series, KINGDOM OF SOULS and the contemporary fantasy middle grade series, MAYA AND THE RISING DARK.
I love this series, this heroine, and her whole community so much! One detail that's particularly fun for me on a personal level is that it's set in Chicago (a city I've spent time in at lots of points across my life), so I love getting to recognize so many great details in the scenes set on Earth. (Even Sue the T-Rex in the Field Museum gets to have a turn in this story!) Even if I'd never visited Chicago myself, though, I would have loved how fantastically vivid the setting is, and the series is chock-full of wonderful characters I care about.
Maya is very much part of a team in this series, and I adored her two best friends, Frankie and Eli, even more in this second adventure - but I also love their whole wider community, full of people who all feel important and real in a fantastically quirky way. There's so much great humor along with fabulous magic, action, heartwrenching stakes and exciting adventure.
The individual story in this book had a really satisfying ending, and I enjoyed every single moment along the way - but it also felt very much (in a good way) like the second book in a trilogy, setting up a REALLY epic showdown in the final book. I can't wait to read it! But I'll enjoy re-reading the first two books in this series just for fun again in the meantime.
I cannot begin to describe how amazing and dare I say cute this middle grade novel is! I would suggest those who are in higher level middle school to read this novel! While I do not want to spoil anything, let me just say! If you love fantasy, adventures and strong heroins then you will be obsessed with this sequel!
I received an eARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, I'd like to say a huge thank you to Rena and her publishing team for selecting me to be one of the early readers.
Maya returns in this action packed sequel with Eli and Frankie by her side to save the day. New characters are introduced that really compliment the dynamics of the group and I cannot wait to see how it will all play out in the next book.
I greatly enjoy Rena's storytelling and the way that she weaves words to paint these rich, varying worlds and their inhabitants. She brings so many different aspects and melds them beautifully together.
For those who love dark, twisting, adventure driven middle grade books that are steeped deep in mythology and magic - this is definitely for you.
The second installment in the Maya trilogy was just as good as the first book. I did enjoy this sequel a little bit more then the first book, but I still felt that it kind of recycled the plot of book one. That is not to say that this one didn't really expand on the world because I actually think it did. We got to learn a little bit more about the gods and their history. I also really appreciate the friendship between Maya, Frankie, and Eli, it just makes the reading experience that much more enjoyable. Let me not forget that this series has been very inclusive so far as well when it comes to race and sexual identity. Here's to continuing on this journey with book three.
Man this was just as great as the 1st book, if not better. I just fell even more in love with these characters with this one. Like I've said, not just Maya & her friends, but the side characters too are all so good! The amazing parents/guardians, teachers, neighbors (love the twins & their tulips lol), & more. Still such an amazing sense of community, neighborhood, & family too. This had even more action, danger, suspense, adventure, atmosphere, & just MORE of everything. The best humor, that edge of your seat high-stakes-race-against-time feel, & some incredible twists in here as well. HIGHLY recommend. STUNNING cover by Geneva Bowers too.💜
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the advanced review copy. All opinions are my own.
I loved Maya and the Rising Dark, so I was very much looking forward to reading this sequel. Maya and the Return of the Godlings is just as fun as the first book and shows us more of Maya and her adventures. Since Maya now knows about the Dark, the celestials, and her own powers, she is ready to grow into her role as guardian in training, and it was fun to see her challenged in these new situations. I loved seeing her interact with her two best friends Frankie and Eli, as well as a couple new characters we meet along the way. I can't wait to see how this friend group dynamic expands in book 3.
Buy, Borrow, or Bypass: This series is definitely one to read if you love strong friendships and a good fantasy story. I reread book 1 before delving into this new adventure, and I can easily see myself doing a reread of both books before book 3 comes out, most likely sometime next year. Since I like to own books I plan to reread, I'll be adding Maya and the Return of the Godlings to my collection, and you should too! I also love Rena Barron as an author, so I want to have all her books on my shelves.
It's beautiful story about friendship and family. I love Maya and her friends. The whole community is really well organized and create a really cozy neighborhood's environment where we have a secrets and secret society, which tries to protect the people without magic.
Maya is growing and I see how she changed from the first book. She tries to be more responsible, even if still she is thinking more by heart not a brain. She wants to protect people who she loves and she is able to do everything to protect her family and friends. Maya's friends: Eli and Frankie grow as well during the summer and it's not only connected with them magic and intense training which they took, but also them way of thinking is more adult. I always have an issue with middle grade books, because main characters are annoying. Here I don't have this issue. Maya sometimes acts like adult, but she is real in this. She doesn't know everything, but she thinks first and after that acts. Even if she doesn't trust Council and makes her own decisions, isn't stupid, but reasonable.
Plot is really interesting. We back into Dark and we can meet more darkbringers. We received more information about Darkbringers society and how life in the Dark looks like. We have a better understanding how people/darkbringers are living on the both sites of the Veil.
Writing style is light and cozy. For me it was a really pleasure, quick read.
Thank you so much Rena Barron and NetGalley for ARC.
This sequel was just as good as the first book! The kiddo and I loved it! The world-building expanded, the characters grew and we got some great new additions as well! This is all building up to have an epic battle and we cannot wait for the next book! 5/5 <3 Thank you so much to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for my honest review! Full review is on blog link above!
Another book that makes me feel like a kid again. MATROTG is a full of adventure, magic, friendship, love, and most important of all, heart.
This a great story for kids who want to go on an adventure with kids they can relate to and admire. Maya is a strong, bold girl whose goal is protecting her family and saving the world. Her quick wit and bravery make her an inspiration, along with her two best friends Eli and Frankie.
I don't read many Middle Grade books so maybe this is part of the category, but I did feel the pace moved very quickly. That said, it made for a nice short read that opens the imagination while still exploring culture and themes of friendship and family.
This was a great breather from my normal fare, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to give their kids (or their inner kid) a new adventure.
+ High stakes! There’s serious tension that things may not end up happily ever after.
+ The kids really ran the spotlight this time. They had full agency and had little assistance from the adults this time.
+ Parents have big enough hearts for all their kids.
+ The Darkbringers get some complexity here. Everything isn’t black and white.
+ The book doesn’t sugarcoat death, violence, or war.
+ New character Zeran
+ Ghost army!
+ Another cover from GDbee!
o This is very plot-driven, so if you like connecting with characters, it may not interest you.
- Unfortunately, my same complaint from book 1 is here. Frankie and Eli are so utterly boring. Eli has his love for the paranormal and unfunny jokes and Frankie is super smart. Okay. You could replace these two with cardboard cutouts and miss nothing.
- Maya was dry here. We, understandably, only feel her terror for her papa. But, at times, it feels she’s just reacting to what’s happening
- Zeran, who I liked, feels very tropey. But again, tropes aren’t bad it’s how you used them.
- the writing style was bit bland and the pacing felt verrry slow
- Too many godlings. It’s been a while since the first book, but it’s like everyone and they mama got powers now.
Of course, I definitely acknowledge I’m not the target audience here.
"Maya and the Return of the Godlings" by Rena Barron Publication Date: September 21, 2021
Thank you to Netgalley and Clarion Books for an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Want a story about family, friendship, squad, nerding out, mythology, adventure, discovery, and #blackgirlmagic energy? Well then, this is definitely for you! I love young sci-fi/fantasy reads because there's just something so empowering and inspiring about characters who discover their literal "power within" in order to save the known world.
Before I can properly respond to the second book, I need to talk about the first book ...first. Because it was so popular at my local library, I had to alternate between the ebook and the audiobook, whichever one was available at any given time -- this actually worked out great because I noticed how well written this story was, because it was so very well read. Each scene draws you in and the chapters are paced in such a way that you cannot help but keep turning the page or keep listening, because you're eager to find out what happens next.
In Book #1 "Maya and the Rising Dark" by Rena Barron we're introduced to Maya as she discovers the magical realm of the Orishas, and the guardians of the veil between our world and the Dark. Maya goes on a quest with her friends to face an ancient enemy called the Lord of Shadows, who is gathering his darkbringer forces to destroy the human world.
Just a few months after their first adventure ends, the trio of friends find themselves on another quest to save our world (again!) and find a way to prevent the veil from collapsing.
My foremost thought as I read through the second book and at its end was: this is definitely next-level!
Where “Maya & the Rising Dark” felt like an intro, "Maya and the Return of the Godlings" feels like a deep-dive. It wasn't just a repeat of the first, but it definitely took everything that was previously laid out and took us to a whole new level. Everything from character storylines & background, to worldbuilding (especially of the Dark!), to villain upgrades, even right down to the magic system. I like that we just got to see MORE of everything!
Both books are full of gems, but my favorites were: anytime Maya used the staff, the children's visit to Azur (riding the star horses and getting ice cream at the market), and the scenes with Miss Ida & Miss Lucille (ain't no messing around with the cranky Johnston twins).
Whether you've got a middle-grader that's up for an adventure OR you're looking for one yourself -- one that's rich in mythology, strong relationship dynamics, an ancient magical world, and (let's be honest) really cool fight scenes too! -- then these two books are perfect reads for you.
The third untitled book is slated to release sometime in 2022. Watch this space for updates when that comes out, because I will definitely be pre-ordering.
This review will be shared on IG @reads.with.joy and on my blog readswithjoy.wordpress.com/
In Maya and the Return of the Godlings, the stakes are higher, but that doesn’t stop Maya and her friends from braving The Dark once more to find her father’s soul and prevent the Lord of Shadows from entering the human world in order to destroy it. There are a lot of problems to deal with all at once.
Maya proves once more how brave she is, but I felt in this sequel she was more reckless in a not so appealing way. I was on board with Maya wanting to go back to The Dark instead of waiting three months for backup to arrive. And I also get her wanting to prove how capable of a guardian she could be so that her father doesn’t have to work alone repairing veils anymore. But I thought she could have made better choices in how she would accomplish that. For example, there was one scene that – while not entirely her fault – resulted in (probably) million of dollars in damages and someone could have gotten seriously injured or killed.
I do like that Frankie and Eli get a chance to really shine and demonstrate how much they’ve improved with using their godling powers. I liked that we’re introduced to a few new characters with the potential to really shake up the story.
And I liked that we get more backstory of what happened before Maya’s dad created the veil and the opinions about human-darkbringer-orisha associations from all sides. Having these POVs, especially with the possibility of another war brewing – increased my investment in the story. All of the revelations throughout really brought home what could be lost if the Lord of Shadows and his army isn’t stopped.
The pacing of the story threw me off at times because something would begin and then stop, seemingly unfinished, in random places and then sometimes never fully addressed again. But I do like the potential these new storylines had/will have. Just wish certain things had a fuller end-for-now, like about Frankie and her biological mom.
The story is heading in a great direction. The author built up the story and got it to a good place for a showdown to happen in book 3, Maya and the Lord of Shadows. I can’t wait for its release!
Lastly, I am loving the cover art for this series. All three are stunning and colorful and pretty! Strength exudes from them that you can’t help but be drawn in by. This book’s jacket illustration was done by Geneva Bowers and the jacket design was done by Andrea Miller.
Maya's father's magic was drained in the last fight against the Shadow Lord, so when an even bigger rift forms over the ocean and together they need to seal it shut, he hasn't had enough time to recuperate.
She knows he'll drain the last of his reserves, but together, they do what must be done, and Maya revels in it. She's finally a Guardian-in-training! But her father, exhausted, goes into a protective chrysalis.
She learns the Shadow Lord stole a piece of her father's soul in the last battle and is holding it captive. Her father won't recover until his soul is made whole. Now it's up to Maya and her friends -- Frankie and Eli -- to protect and mend the Veil while many kids at school discover they're godlings, too -- with powers. Yeah!
A field trip to the Natural History Museum ends in complete chaos after a visit from the Shadow Lord.
A creature captured from the Dark tells Maya her father's responsible for how horrible things are in the Dark, that before her father sealed all the creatures in, things were very different…and Maya wonders if the conditions in the Dark aren't quite what she's been led to believe.
She questions her father's Veil "solution" to keeping the Dark's creatures out of our world. What has it done to the Dark, exactly? And is this why the Shadow Lord is ready and willing to go to war? He's fighting for...his people? The lines separating good and evil blur.
Still, it's up to the three friends to brave an army of darkbringers to rescue her father's soul from the Dark. It's a trap, of course.
I won't spoil what happens, or the plot twists. We loved this sequel and are eagerly awaiting the next one! Enjoy.
Looking for more book suggestions for your 7th/8th grade classroom and students?
I received an eARC of the book from the publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.
MAYA AND THE RETURN OF THE GODLINGS sees Maya and her friends stand off against the council of Orisha's hesitance and the Dark once more to save Maya's father. His captivity in the last book has taken its toll on him, and the cure lies in the Dark. But it's not the same world as she remembers.
Without spoiling anything, it was nice to see a new side to the Dark and its denizens. It's a mishmash of near-future dystopia with fantasy creatures in it, plus some rather unpleasant countryside. Maya's adventure this time broke down the distinctions between good and evil, rather than falling into the typical SFF "CGI villain army" trope, where one side is all evil with no depth. And that promises to be very interesting for the next book.
It's rather a short book, fitting a lot in (the finale is covered in about 20 pages!) and it's quite an easy book to read, so can be devoured in short order. Maya's voice is great, hovering between a kid who just does not want to do homework and one with too much responsibility on her shoulders.
This sequel does a really good job of covering the major points of what's happened in the previous book through the narration. It's been more than a year, so I couldn't really remember what had happened in MAYA AND THE RISING DARK, but the crucial details were revealed so the returning villains had the weight of history behind them.
There is at least one more book to come in this series, which is nice to know. Should be a pretty epic adventure next time.
I read the first book in this series back in the spring, I believe in either March or April, and I thought it was fantastic so I’ve been eagerly awaiting the sequel ever since. The series follows Maya, who has just discovered that she is a Godling (the child of Elegguà, the Guardian of the Veil, in fact!), anc this book sees her venture back into the Dark to try and save her father’s soul before he dies. She is accompanied by her phenomenal friends Frankie and Eli, who are so supportive of Maya but who also have their own issues and worries and stuff to deal with, which makes them very interesting by themself. They also team up with a disillusioned darkbringer this time around, which I found a really interesting addition and I still can’t decide whether or not he can be trusted, but I’m hoping he can be because I really like his personality and I think Maya’s crush on him is utterly adorable!! In addition to the Dark, they also visit a new location in this book, which I had such an amazing time learning about, and as with the first book, I found it fascinating to learn more about the orishas and West African mythology. I’m assuming based on the ending that this is a trilogy, mostly because I honestly don’t know if I’d cope if it wasn’t as there are some very intriguing loose threads left dangling, and I will be picking up a copy as soon as possible if I’m correct. These are very much Percy Jackson kind of vibes, but they’re probably my favourite books of that type I’ve ever read because I feel like they’re totally their own thing and very charming in their own right as well.
Perhaps it is because I didn't read the first book, and get endeared with Maya, but in this second book in the series she is a bit of a pain. I mean, yes, she is saving the world, as young teens are known to do, all the time, but she is just so headstrong, and I suppose that is the thing that makes her special.
In this second book in the series, she has to save her father, who has had his soul stolen frm him by the bad guys.
And let me point out that is actually one thing I do like about this book. When Maya and her friends go into the darkling world, they find that the ordinary people, the ones that aren't trying to kill them, just want to live their life, and are just like them. That people have the same needs weather their leaders are good or evil. They want to live, and love and provide for themselves and their families. Maya thinks of all of them as evil and i shocked by this.
So, if you read the first book, you will probably love this sequel. It looks as though it will at least be a trilogy, as there is more to come.
If you haven't read the first book, this one will e a little hard to get into.
Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
I received an electronic ARC from Clarion Books through NetGalley. Maya, Frankie and Eli continue to develop their magic skills and train as godlings to protect against th Lord of Shadows. Readers see them start the new school year and live normal lives balanced against their other roles. Early in the story, Maya realizes her dad is ill. They journey to meet with Father Sky to seek help. After learning what is wrong and the dire consequences, Maya, Eli and Frankie return to the dark land on a quest to save Maya's dad. A fourth team member, Zeran, joins them after Maya saves him from other darkbringers. Readers see the characters grow and reveal more of themselves as the adventure unfolds. When they finally make it to the secret castle, they discover a surprise no one expected. The team returns plus two and has to face the council and their families. The final chapter brings the story back to school as they start their second week of classes. Love the hints for the next book in the final sentences. Well written story. Middle grade readers will appreciate learning more about these two worlds and the interactions among the various beings. They will feel like an additional person moving through the challenges and adventures on this journey.
I found myself falling more in love with Maya’s character in this second book. The council is basically useless. They have a pattern of sitting and waiting instead of acting. As much as Maya’s dad has done to protect the veil, every time he’s in trouble they do nothing. If it weren’t for Maya and her friends consistently disobeying their wishes who knows where their world would be.
One thing I really loved about this second book was seeing how the parents were finally coming around and even started backing the kids against the council. They have to allow their kids to fulfill their destiny’s and they can’t let their fear of what could potentially happen stand in the way of the greater good. Maya and her friends have went to the Dark twice at this point and kicked ass both times.
I’m loving the introduction of the new characters we got. That was one hell of a plot twist at the end. Although Maya and her friends have saved the day there’s still so much uncertainty and unanswered questions. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series! I’m pretty sure one of our new characters may not be who they say they are.
Thank you, thank you Netgalley for giving me early access to continue this INCREDIBLE series set in Chi-town💛💛💛 I am truly honored to have been given an e-arc of my current favorite Middle grade read featuring my favorite Godlings.
This was truly unputdownable and fully captivated my attention. Nothing and no one could pull me away as I read this book. IT WAS JUST SO GOOD!!! And there were MANY moments that had me completely SHOOKED and (of course) gave me mini heart-attacks. This trio just kept diving head first into a new situation and some that were meant for good...ended up backfiring in their face. Just recountering everything that occured brings to mind this emoji:🤦🏾♀️ (which is how I felt the entire time LOL). I really want to gush about this book but it's SO spoilery.
It was really cool seeing the little Godlings progression with their powers, Maya and her father's👀 strong bond of protecting the veil continue and how much has changed toward the end. I am super excited for the next book and anticipate what's to come!!!
Maya And The Rising Dark series is an adventurous, humorous, captivating, relatable, imaginative, and thrilling read! This series is reccomended for eight to twelve year olds, however, I absolutely loved it as an adult. Growing up my favorite series was the Percy Jackson series and I still consider it my favorite series today. Maya And The Rising Dark series is a something any Percy Jackson lover will be obsessed with. It is witty, charming, and has all of those elements that makes a book series transition from a good childhood series to a life long series. This is definitely a book friends or siblings can read together and obsess over. There is an element of magic and mystery to it that will undoubtedly leave the reader waiting in anticipation for the next book in the series. I simply cannot say enough good things about this series! I love the strong female lead, her lovable friends, and sense of community.
Thank you to HMH Books and NetGalley for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
This sequel begins after the events of the first book. Maya is continuing her training to repair the veil with her father who is growing weaker by the day. It turns out that the Lord of Shadows stole his soul when he was in the Dark. Maya, Eli, and Frankie disobey the orisha council (again!) to go back to the Dark and retrieve her father’s soul. While there, Maya frees Zeran, an imprisoned Darkbringer, who may or may not be of help. Maya and her friends get to see how the people of the Dark live and work and still have to watch out for danger. This book lays the groundwork for the showdown to come in the next book. I would definitely recommend this book!
This was such a delightful read. I received an e-arc and realized almost immediately there must've been something I missed - lo and behold, I had completely not read the first in the series. So zoomed through that one and jumped right into this one. Fans of fantasy, adventure, and mythology will totally love this. It is especially perfect for fans of things like Percy Jackson and the Rick Riordan Presents series, exploring mythologies around the world. Maya is a strong-willed, brave, and powerful main character, and I love her friendship with Eli and Frankie. I personally also feel a very strong anti-war theme - perhaps because I'm anti-war myself - and found that a compelling addition and exploration.
Book 2 in series Maya has rescued her father from the Dark - but the danger is not over. Tears are still appearing and threatening her world daily. Her dad is still pretty weak. In addition, new godlings are starting to appear and they aren't necessarily on her side! Then she realizes that something from her first mission went terribly wrong and she needs to fix it. Lots of action, adventure, and plot twists. This reads like one of the Rick Riordan presents series and is another great addition to the myths from other cultures set! *I was able to pick up book 2 without having read book 1 and had enough info to understand the plot.
I love so many things about this series. The friend group of Maya, Eli and Frankie is fun to read and watch as they go through everything together. I also love the mythology and how it is woven into the community around Maya in everyday life.
This book definitely picked up right after book one and it kept up the pace! I enjoyed how it continued while adding complexity to characters we had already met. It was engaging and fast to read. It was fascinating to learn more about the Dark world and what life is like behind the veil. I am excited to see more with the third book!
I received an arc via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.
I have not read the first book in this series but I am likely to after reading book #2. The characters are brave, loyal, have a sense of humor and a fierce determination to save family and the world. There is no pre-teen angst or melodrama getting in the way of a solid plot, fast-paced action and a well thought out fantasy world. Looking forward to reading more from this author. Pre-teens who like to dip a toe into fantasy but aren’t ready to fully depart from the human world will enjoy this series. 4th & 5th grade readers would most likely be the targeted readers.
Talk about a great sequel!! I loved this book even more than the first. I think the the magic and world building is excellent, and the way this delves into so much more nuance about the people that Maya is fighting against is really wonderful. Her friendships and the way they are all growing in their powers and their understanding of the issues of their community is top-notch. I can't wait to see where this goes in the next book!
Content Warnings: illness, injury, war, death of a family member
This book was just as good as the first book (and that's not common)! My favorite characters are Zeran and Eli.
The League of Godlings helps find Papa's soul before it's too late. With Maya's staff, Eli's ghost army, Frankie's electrical powers, and a darkbringer Zeran's brains, they somehow manage to get Papa's soul. But they didn't just find Papa's soul, they brought back Zeran, who seems to want to help them stop the Lord of the Shadows, and Eleni, Maya's half-sister.
Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy of Maya the the Return of the Godlings. This book did not disappoint! Maya and her friends are once again thrust into the world of the Dark and this time we get to see more of it. I loved being able to see what the everyday darkbringers were like and what their world looked like. This book had wonderful character development, as always!, and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series. Will Maya and her friends defeat the Lord of Shadows once and for all??? I cannot wait to find out!
All of the groundwork that Rena laid down in book one allowed book two to shine! The second book in this series is great. I love how Rena expanded on the characters and shared more of the back story of Maya's dad and where he comes from. I don't want to give anything away, so I will say that I thought it was really interesting why the Godlings return and I cannot wait to read the third book in this series.