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Middleworld (The Jaguar Stones Trilogy Series #1)

Middleworld (The Jaguar Stones Trilogy Series #1)

4.5 60
by Jon Voelkel, Pamela Voelkel

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Fourteen-year-old Max Murphy is looking forward to a family vacation. But his parents, both archaeologists and Maya experts, announce a change in plan. They must leave immediately for a dig in the tiny Central American country of San Xavier. Max will go to summer camp. Max is furious. When he's mysteriously summoned to San Xavier, he thinks they've had a change of


Fourteen-year-old Max Murphy is looking forward to a family vacation. But his parents, both archaeologists and Maya experts, announce a change in plan. They must leave immediately for a dig in the tiny Central American country of San Xavier. Max will go to summer camp. Max is furious. When he's mysteriously summoned to San Xavier, he thinks they've had a change of heart.

Upon his arrival, Max's wild adventure in the tropical rainforests of San Xavier begins. During his journey, he will unlock ancient secrets and meet strangers who are connected to him in ways he could never have imagined. For fate has delivered a challenge of epic proportions to this pampered teenager. Can Max rescue his parents from the Maya Underworld and save the world from the Lords of Death, who now control the power of the Jaguar Stones in their villainous hands? The scene is set for a roller-coaster ride of suspense and terror, as the good guys and the bad guys face off against a background of haunted temples, zombie armies, and even human sacrifice!

Editorial Reviews

Newly arrived in "the snake-infested dump" of San Xavier, a fictional Central American country, 14–year–old Max Murphy discovers that his archaeologist parents have disappeared. Aided in his search by resourceful Lola, a descendent of the Maya, Max learns that the gods of her people have chosen him for a mission involving powerful artifacts. The husband and wife coauthors, whose knowledge of the ancient Maya is evident from detailed appendixes and a bibliography, deliver too much information here, giving short shrift to Max's characterization and certain plot elements-such as why the ancient spirits speak English, and why Max, an often-whiny Bostonian with no ancestral ties to the Maya, finds favor with them. In addition, the pains the authors take to avoid making the culture seem exotic or strange are undercut by the wild mysticism surrounding the artifacts. Still, the book's unusual Mesoamerican backdrop is worth marking, and the Indiana Jones-influenced adventure, as well as the book's polished line drawings, will keep readers interested and looking forward to future entries in the Jaguar Stones trilogy.
—Jennifer Mattson
Flamingnet Book Reviews
A simply awesome read. Different to any book I've read because of all the Maya information. I definitely look forward to the next two books in the series! Top Choice Award
Teens Read Too
I predict this trilogy will be popular with fans of Anthony Horowitz, Roland Smith, and even Harry Potter fans... Plenty of action and humour will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Five Star Review
Kingdom Books
Jon and Pamela Voelkel left a powerful advertising career in England to settle in Norwich, Vermont, where they built a home, welcomed the (surprise) arrival of their third child, and made the ultimate career switch: They started writing for "young adults."

Their adventure novel "Middleworld" became available at the start of October, through a publishing house called Smith & Sons, a mostly theater-related publisher. Its owners were persuaded by their son Peter Kraus, who discovered the manuscript - and insisted that his parents take it seriously. Now, with a New York City launch and an active book tour underway, it looks like Peter's discovery is a hot new success.

Every middle-grade book these days gets compared to the Harry Potter series, and "Middleworld" has already been called "Harry Potter meets the Maya." And the plots have in common magic, a teenage boy, and plenty of battle scenes. But there are more differences than similarities, and the differences make this an exciting fresh book.

Upper Valley Life Magazine
Kids will love the twists and turns of the story, and cheer along with Max as he rescues his parents, gets the girl (well, gets the girl as his best friend) and saves the K'in (the Mayan word for day). Parents will love what the book provides to their teens: a glimpse into the world of archeology, an educational look at another culture and several valuable life lessons.

New England Children's Bookselling Advisory Council
Funny, fast-paced and entirely original.

Young Adults Books Central
An amazing job of weaving the stories of the Maya into a modern day thriller. The perfect bait to get a videogamer to turn off the TV and read! Five Star Review
Publishers Weekly

A Boston teenager whose idea of adventure comes from computer gaming finds himself at the center of cosmic struggles between ancient Maya gods within the jungles of Central America, in this husband-and-wife team's first installment of the Jaguar Stones trilogy. Max Murphy's archeologist parents leave him behind, as usual, when they rush off to excavate an ancient Maya temple, and so he is surprised to be summoned to join them a week later. By the time he arrives, however, they have gone missing, and Max can tell that people are holding back the details. Despite his lifelong lack of interest, Max finally has to learn about Maya culture, especially when his parents' disappearance seems to have to do with the five "jaguar stones" used by the ancient ruler-gods and said to confer ultimate powers. This elaborate genre-bender involves ruthless smugglers; family estrangements; a helper in the form of a teenage Maya girl named Lola; two ancient Maya rulers brought to life (and given the bodies of baboons); Maya culture, past and present; zombies; and the Maya gods' eternal conflicts. That Max has somehow been chosen (presumably by the gods) to play the hero goes unresolved here, but between the exotic settings and themes and the breakneck pace, readers may not even notice the thin characterizations and motivations. A detailed appendix surveys the Maya world. Ages 11-up. (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Max Murphy is the 14-year-old spoiled and self-centered son of archaeologists who are Ancient Maya experts. Although his parents believe he is headed for summer camp, his enigmatic Central American housekeeper instead sends him to visit his uncle in San Xavier (based on present-day Belize), where his mother and father have recently departed for a new project. Once there, Max discovers that they have disappeared under mysterious circumstances. He joins forces with Lola, a native girl whose ability to navigate the jungle and the rainforest prove invaluable. Max is drawn into a life-or-death battle to rescue his parents from the Ancient Maya underworld and save the country from coming under the rule of the 12 Lords of Death. Suspense and intrigue, human sacrifice, smuggling, and secret doors and escape routes through pyramids ensure that the novel, the first in a projected trilogy, is likely to win legions of fans, who will gravitate toward the nonstop action that echoes Max’s beloved video games. Seven full-page illustrations and numerous line drawings help break up the text. The authors include illustrated information on the Maya’s calendar, pronunciation, math, writing, and cosmology.-Ellen Fader, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Jaguar Stones Trilogy Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.70(w) x 5.34(h) x 0.95(d)
750L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Jon Voelkel grew up in Peru, Costa Rica, and Colombia. He was not a natural-born adventurer and found life in the jungle difficult, to say the least. After college and business school in Barcelona, he worked in advertising agencies in Spain, Holland, and England, ultimately starting his own agency with four other partners - one of whom would be his future wife. In 2001, The Financial Times named him one of the top fifty creative minds in Britain.

Pamela Craik Voelkel graduated from Leeds University in English Language and Literature. After stints reviewing books, writing catalogs, and penning speech bubbles for photo-romances, she become an advertising copywriter. As Creative Director of Craik Jones Watson Mitchell Voelkel, she helped the agency win hundreds of creative awards.

The Voelkels' collaboration continues in Vermont, where they live with their three children.

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Middleworld 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 61 reviews.
GStans More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book as a gift to the kids I babysit for - a 6-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy. Both are great readers and love being read to. They both are really quite smart and love to learn so I thought they would like learning about the ancient Maya. I especially thought the boy would like it because he loves Artemis Fowl and Percy Jackson and that type of thing. I read it first, and I loved it! Max Murphy is such a believable, spoiled 14-year-old who isn't prepared in the least for the the Central American adventure he is plunged into. It is such a fun read and had me laughing all the way through (until the end, when I was on the edge of my seat!). When I started reading it to the kids, the funny thing was that the boy thought it was pretty good but the little girl really latched on to it. She loves it and asks me every day if we can read it. I read it to them on the long subway ride home from school, and when I stop at the stations because of the noise, the girl begs for me to start reading again! True, the vocabulary in the book might be too advanced for a 6-year-old, but she loves the story, asks questions, and flips ahead to look at the great illustrations. Don't pass up this book because you don't think it is the right age group or it is only a boy book; I highly recommend it for kids of all ages and both genders. Overall an excellent read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did not read this book on my nook but it waas awesome!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Middleworld is a great book i reccomend it
acornucopiaoflove More than 1 year ago
I'm a big fan of anything involving ancient history, so when I was given the chance to read Middleworld, I couldn't say no. One of the most interesting things about this book was the plot. This wasn't your typical adventure story. The story is full of mystery and action, but it ties in a lot of interesting information about an amazing ancient culture. That was something that really set this story apart. It seemed to aim for an accurate depiction of an ancient culture, and the Maya still living in South America. I can't think of any other books that involve the Maya, which is one of the reasons that I enjoyed this book so much. Another appealing aspect was the expertise of the authors, who spent years researching the story. Their website shows pictures of their travels, and their blog also talks about their trips. I really thought that their experiences made the book that much more interesting. There was information about the Maya throughout the story (including some pronunciation help), and some fun information, and a recipe, in the back of the book. Knowing that the authors spent time learning about the culture made me appreciate the way the facts were seamlessly woven into the fictional aspects of the book. I also appreciated was the way the story addressed the 2012 Maya calendar myth. You know the one, right? Supposedly, the calendar ends in December of 2012, and that predicts the end of the world. Well, not so according to Middleworld. I thought that the authors did a great job of tying that into the story as well. I personally was unaware that there was no archeological evidence that that calendar stopped in 2012. The only issue that I had was with the character Max. For the first half of the story he was extremely whiny, and I found it hard to sympathize because of this. Over the course of the book, Max realized that he had been behaving pretty horribly, and began to change. I personally wish that these changes has started sooner, and that they had been a bit more gradual. I did enjoy his character in the second half of the story, however. Middleworld ended with a great setup for the sequel, and I'll definitely be picking it up. For those of you who hate cliffhangers, don't worry. The authors did a great job of tying up the loose ends, and the story feels complete. It did, however, leave me wondering what would happen next. I can't give away too much, but I will say that there is definitely more to Max's story. If you're interested in learning a bit more about the Maya culture, and want an exciting read, I'd definitely suggest picking this one up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you tried to discribe it, you couldn't. You'd hit somewhere along the lines of an epic adventure of huge porpotions and give up for lack of a better word. Rividing!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its a great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nobody wants u to tell them wat happens so stop anywho u should be under editorial rewiews fffghtgbufhyv
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Middleworld is the best book ever
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is there a second book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a grate book it has about 400 pg. I love the book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! + THE BOOK IS GRATE
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever,it is amazing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is good nd if anyone doesnt like this they shall DIE!!!!!!!!!!!""
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The plot was interesting enough, and I liked the facts about the Maya culture and the rainforest. However, the characters were somewhat cliche. This bothered me, but it was tolerable. Another point that bothered me was the fact that somehow the Maya gods found favor with a random kid from Boston who has no Maya heritage. I hope this is resolved in the next book. Overall, a great read despite the two-dimensional characters and plot holes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recommend this book for 9+ but still really good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book ever i love it!!! Cant wait to read #2
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think jk rowling is out smarted
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Max is a self-centered jerk and Lola, a mayan orphan, is awsome. Of course, being a girl, how can you be surprised. A fantastic must-read! Lots of action and an exiting end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I have EVER read. Definitely a must read!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is an awesome book full of mystery,suspense,humor,& adventure!!! It is very educational yet imaginative. Also realistic in its description but fantasy-like in action.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago