Thursday, December 08, 2011

Book Review: The Magnificent 12: The Call, by Michael Grant (Katherine Tegen Books, 2010)

Recommended for ages 9-12

Mack MacAvoy is a medium kid - medium in height and build, medium in looks, medium in grades - he's so ordinary that his own parents don't really notice him most of the time. That all changes when Grimluk, an ancient man dressed in an old black robe, appears in his school hallway and announces that he is one of the Magnifica, a group of 12 children who will have to save the world from the ancient evil of the Pale Queen. In no time at all, Mack and his bully protector Stefan are swept off to locate the other 11 Magnifica, but it won't be easy - the Pale Queen's daughter, Eriskigal, and the monsters at her command, will stop at nothing to destroy them before they even begin.

The Magnificent 12 is a fun adventure series with good character development and interaction; the story moves at a pace that will keep readers' interest. The chapters alternate between Grimluk's story, providing an establishing backstory, and Mack's story, laying the groundwork for the future books in the series. There are villains, monsters, and prophecies galore and with both male and female characters, boys and girls alike should find this a good read. International locales lend a James Bond-type feel to the adventure.

The series website offers the chance for visitors to create their own avatars, play games, and enter a sweepstakes to win a copy of the latest book in the series, The Trap. An online map also acts as Mack's travel journal where readers can learn facts about the different countries where Mack's adventures take place. Educators can find essay questions, discussion questions, and lesson starters on the "Educators" section of the site. The author's website offers a biography, FAQ, information about his books, and contact information. 

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