Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron
Format: ARC provided by Raincoast Books
Top 3 Genres: Middle Grade, Urban Fantasy, Magic
My rating: Set it on fire/ If you have nothing else to read/ you need to read it/Run and buy it.
To buy the book: CA • US • FR• Bookdep
Add to: Goodreads
It’s almost the weekend!! Not that it makes a huge difference to me lol, as I work on weekends. But anyway, today I wanted to talk with you about a new middle grade that was supposed to come out this Tuesday but got pushed back a bit: Maya and the Rising Dark!
After her father goes missing, 12-year-old Maya uncovers that he is the keeper of the gateway between our world and The Dark. To find her father, she’ll need to unlock her own powers and fight a horde of creatures set on starting a war. Stranger Things meets Percy Jackson set on the south side of Chicago.
The world is in danger!
Talking about the Earth here, because the Veil separating our world from the world of the darkbringers, monstrous-looking entities, is failing. And the Lord of Shadows, who wants to destroy humankind, is ready to cross it. That is what Maya, 12 years old, has to deal with. Not a little something right? But Maya is no ordinary girl, even if she doesn’t know it yet. And the fight of the world might rest on her young shoulders!
While she starts to see that the world is not as it seems, with colors disappearing, and werehyenas invading her neighborhood, she realizes that the legends told by her dad might be true, and the people she loves are in danger. She might be 12, but she won’t stand there doing nothing against the Dark! Nope, with her two best friends, who seem to share with her supernatural origins, she will go on a quest to find her missing dad and understand who she truly is. To do that, she will brave many dangers, cross to another world, and fight creatures of the lore she knows so well.
For most of the book, I really liked Maya and her sidekicks, how they are smart and brave, as young as they are, but I also missed something to truly believe in them and their story… I can’t tell you exactly why except maybe that the justification for their actions felt a bit lacking.
Some parts of the story were also happening very fast, and resolved in a quicker way than I would have wished. I know it’s a middle-grade book we talk about, and that for a newer reader, it will probably be fine. But I do love middle grade and read a lot of it, and I don’t think it excuses it all. It was not bad, but it was not amazing either if you see what I mean?
What was really good though about this story, was all the lore I discovered, related to the orishas and beliefs I am estranged to. It was super interesting to discover Maya’s culture and have more diverse characters! Great job on that!
In a few words
A good middle grade, that, without being exceptional, can provide a nice reading moment to young readers, while also offering a good representation of another culture and diverse characters!
See you for a cup,