Reviewed by Caleb S.

Middleworld, book one of the Jaguar Stones, is a new novel for children starring Massimo Francis Sylvanus “Max” Murphy, the son of two famous archaeologists, specializing in ancient Maya culture.

One day after school his parents arrive home early with a surprise. The family is not going to spend this summer’s vacation in Italy visiting Grandma. Max’s parents are going to San Xavier (a little country on the Yucatan peninsula) for a dig that has just opened. Needless to say, Max is unhappy with the situation. Shortly after his parents depart, Zia, the housekeeper/baby sitter, tells Max that she was told to send him to San Xavier as well.

Once there, Max has to stay with an uncle whom he’s never met and discovers that his parents have disappeared after the last big storm. He also learns that his uncle isn’t what he pretends to be.

A mysterious stone Max finds in his uncle’s secret vault causes all kinds of problems, the first of which is Max getting lost in the jungle. Max is saved by Lola, a Mayan girl his own age. We go on an adventure with Max and Lola as they run from Count Antonio de Landa and his goons, battle the Lords of Death, try to prevent the Apocalypse, and save Max’s parents from the underworld.

Middleworld is a great children’s book. It is an exciting and well written story full of interesting facts about the Mayan culture, many of which I was completely unaware of. The authors did their homework and integrated Mayan myths, legends and facts to create Max’s fascinating adventure.

Rating: 5/5

Caleb is a software engineer and amature woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Goodman Media International. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.