Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication date: September 2010
Source: Library (for Cybils)
Mack is not the kind of guy you would pick as a hero. He has phobias for nearly everything and he gets picked on at school. But when a visitor from the past identifies him as one of twelve Magnifica - a kind of super hero - he must find in himself a power and magic beyond what he expected. And then he must find the other eleven Magnifica to help him defeat an ancient evil.
Things I Liked:
This book's greatest strength is its humor. I literally laughed at every page. At times, it seemed like a spoof of fantasy and comic book-like heroes, which just made it all the funnier. The golem was my favorite source of laughs as well - his notes made some of the less interesting parts bearable. Mack was an interesting character, definitely not your typical hero, but more like a typical wimp who gets picked on. This is the start of an action-packed and humor-infused series that tween boys should devour. Just a hint of the fun:
Some were rich, as evidenced by their numerous teeth, their excellent clothing - two of the Magnifica had actual buttons - and their superior education. The others were poor and wore coarse grain sacks with holes for arms and neck. Some were really poor and wore nothing but strategically placed tufts of grass attached with mud - uncomfortable at the best of times and rather disastrous in a heavy rain. p 127
Shut your vile, filthy, fruit-chewing mouth, you low, slow, soggy bag of water; you sweat-oozing, cheese-scented wad of pulp mounted on toothpicks; you barely animated mistake of nature. p 186Things I Didn't Like:
Aside from the humor and action, not much really happens in the book. It felt very much like an introduction to a story without getting past the introduction; only giving us get a glimpse of what is to come. Also, as several folks on the Cybils panel with me noted, it felt very commercialized with all the website tie ins. The plot just didn't hold together well and all the characters other than Mack were not developed enough. The flashbacks to ancient times kind of distracted from the story, rather than pulling it along. Still, it will provide entertainment, if nothing else.
The 39 Clues series by various authors
A bit like The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
BOOK CONTENT RATINGS:
some bullying and a few scary creatures
Overall rating: ***
If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage