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Thanks to NetGalley and Disney Book Group/Rick Riordan Presents for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: September 18th, 2018

448 Pages

Synopsis: 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’s 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 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. 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 as a mug of authentic hot chocolate.

The Storm Runner is the second book in the new Rick Riordan Presents imprint of Disney Book Group, and I loved it so much you’ll have to forgive my gushing.  Before I begin though, I have to reveal a spoiler for animal lovers.

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Right at the beginning of the book, Zane’s dog Rosie dies, but she comes back—sort of. You all know how much I love animals so you’re going to have to trust me when I say that her “death” is imperative to the Zane’s journey.

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Okay, spoiler over.

So, first there’s the cover. Isn’t it gorgeous? And it’s an illustration for a scene in the book. More importantly though, EVERYTHING in this book is brilliant! Zane is a Latino character who you can’t help but root for. He’s funny, loyal, determined, courageous, and doesn’t let his disability define him. He makes mistakes along his quest, but this just makes him even more relatable.  The secondary cast are just as interesting, and complex. The Mayan gods and other supernatural beings are fascinating and I can’t wait to learn even more about them in the second book.

The world building is so richly detailed that I felt as though I was there. The plot is fast paced and entertaining with a perfect combination of dark and humorous moments. Zane’s quest has plenty of twists and turns that will keep readers feverishly turning the pages. The author does a phenomenal job at introducing readers to Mayan mythology without slowing the pace down. The exciting ending neatly ties everything up while also setting the stage for the next book The Fire Keeper which is coming out next year.

The Storm Runner is a book that if I were still a children’s librarian, I’d be promoting heavily for upper elementary and middle school kids. It’s a wonderful introduction into a mythology that most probably won’t be familiar with. Heck, I didn’t know anything about Mayan gods and stories. For example, did you know there’s a goddess of chocolate? Yep, her name is Ixcacao, and while she only makes a brief appearance in this book, I’m hoping we see more of her in future books. I highly recommend this for fans Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and his Kane Chronicles series.

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