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Posted July 3, 2012
Posted June 26, 2011
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Book Puts Flesh on Bone of Maya Society
Chris Bloch's "Well of Sacrifice" is a fictional anthropological tour of Maya life set during the tenth century just as the Maya civilization has peaked and the mighty Mesoamerican civilzation starts to crumble. This wonderful book, targeted at 6th grade and up, is strong in historical and cultural content and makes a terrific complement to an educational program, or in preparation for travel to the Yucatan or anywhere in Central America where the Maya had significant presence. Imbued with cultural context, Bloch's narrative makes the educational content fully engaging.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
While Maya nobility and royalty play a key role in the story, the focus of Bloch's book is on the common people, specifically one young girl named Eveningstar Macaw, and how, through the will of her personality, changes this one Maya city. The Story is not action-filled until the last 40 pages or so, but it moves quickly and Evengstar is well-developed.
She's very respectful and religious, but not blindly so. She's free-thinking and logical, while also proscribing to her deep religious foundational beliefs (sacrifices and all).
Through Eveningstar, author Bloch takes the reader on a tour of Mayan society, and this what makes the book truly standout. We read about the Maya culture, religion, as well as their calendaring system. As Eveningstar finds her way through the difficulties of Mayan life, the reader learns about the society's professions, food, hobbies, trade, death rituals, medicinal and construction capabilities, and military. Bloch even builds a scene at a ball court, found at many Maya sites throughout Mesoamerica. The story concludes with a view into some of the climatological, military, religious and societal reasons as to why the Classic Maya age came to an end.
Bloch takes the archaeological-based realities of Maya life, and communicates it through a strong and simple narrative.
I enjoyed this book as an adult. It puts flesh on the bone of a people I know relatively little about. I'll ask my 11 and14 year olds to read it before we travel to the Yucatan and visit Chchen Itza and Tulum.