Series: The Storm Runner #1
Also in this series: The Fire Keeper
Published by Rick Riordan Presents on September 18, 2018
Genres: Middle Grade, Contemporary Fantasy
Source: The Publisher
My content rating: MG (Some violence, hints of possible romance)
Zane has always enjoyed exploring the dormant volcano near his home in New Mexico, even though hiking it is challenging. He'd much rather hang out there with his dog, Rosie, than go to middle school, where kids call him Sir Limps a Lot, McGimpster, or Uno—for his one good leg. What Zane doesn't know is that the volcano is a gateway to another world and he is at the center of a powerful prophecy. A new girl at school, Brooks, informs him that he's destined to release an evil god from the ancient Maya relic he is imprisoned in—unless she can find and remove it first. Together they return to the volcano, where all kinds of crazy happens. Brooks turns into a hawk, a demon attacks them in a cave, and Rosie gives her all while trying to protect Zane. When Zane decides to save his dog no matter the cost, he is thrust into an adventure full of surprising discoveries, dangerous secrets, and an all-out war between the gods, one of whom happens to be his father. To survive, Zane will have to become the Storm Runner. But how can he run when he can't even walk well without a cane?
Feisty heroes, tricky gods, murderous demons, and spirited giants are just some of the pleasures that await in this fresh and funny take on Maya mythology, as rich and delicious as a mug of authentic hot chocolate.
There’s a whole lot to love about this little gem of a book. It’s an action-packed introduction to a little-known mythological system that features a hispanic, disabled MC. This sounds like a lot of rep and you might be wondering if the inclusion of the disability might seem like too much, but it’s all woven together seamlessly and given its due weight.
What Fed My Addiction:
- Maya mythology. I knew absolutely nothing about Maya mythology going into this, and the book made me want to delve into it and learn more. I hope it encourages many kids to do the same! Of course, we only get a taste of the mythology in this book, but we’re introduced to some of the major gods and we learn about several of the myths associated with them. And, of course, it’s all done in a really fun and engaging way as we’re led on Zane’s quest to save humanity.
- Disability rep. Zane’s disability is eventually proven to be his greatest strength! I won’t tell you all the details because I don’t want to spoil things, but his too-short leg is actually his tie to his mythological father, and it is the source of his true power. I loved that Zane didn’t end up “overcoming” his disability—it didn’t go away—he just learned that it was an essential part of him.
- Fabulous pacing and engaging characters. This is the type of book that keeps you turning the pages. I was fully invested in Zane’s journey, and I loved the ragtag group of crazy people who joined him along the way! (I think Hondo, his wrestling-loving uncle, was my favorite—and I loved that Hondo sort of found himself on this quest as well).
- The ending. The final page of the book actually sent shivers down my spine (not kidding) because it was so perfect. What a fantastic way to get kids invested in the series!!!!
What Left Me Hungry for More:
- You’ve probably read similar books. It’s been a very long time since I’ve read Riordan’s Lightning Thief Series, but I feel like this has a lot of similarities—just using Maya mythology instead of Greek. And honestly, some of the plot points were predictable. But the whole story was told in such an engaging way that I didn’t mind having a good idea how a lot of it was going to play out.
So far, the Rick Riordan Presents imprint has been a total win for me. I can’t wait to read more!
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About the Author
Jen (J.C) is an award-winning children’s author; her most recent book, THE STORM RUNNER is scheduled for release in September 2018 with its sequel THE FIRE KEEPER, coming in 2019. As an author, she has earned multiple awards and recognitions, including the New Mexico Book Award, Zia Book Award, and was named a New Voices Pick by the American Booksellers Association for her first book Tortilla Sun.
Jen’s a champion of the underdog, can read, write and talk backwards, is an advocate for more POC in children’s fiction. Mostly she’s a believer in magic. But only if you’re willing to listen to the whispers of the universe.