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The Jaguar Stones, Book One: Middleworld [Kindle Edition]

Jon Voelkel , Pamela Voelkel , J&P Voelkel
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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!

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

More Praise for MIDDLEWORLD:

"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!"
--Flamingnet Book Reviews - Top Choice Award

"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."
--Upper Valley Life Magazine

"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."
--Teens Read Too - Five Star Review

From the Author

Here are some more things you should know before you read on . . . The Ancient Maya called our world Middleworld, because it was sandwiched between the upper world of the heavens and the underworld, which they called Xibalba.
The Jaguar Stones are fictional, as are all the main characters except for Friar Diego DeLanda. He was the true-life Spanish priest who, in 1562, reduced the sum of Ancient Maya knowledge to ashes by making one huge bonfire of all their hundreds of folding bark books. (As far as we know, only three books and a fragment of a fourth survived.)
San Xavier is a fictional country based on present-day Belize. Maya or Mayan? We have followed the scholarly precedent of using Maya as both noun and adjective to describe the people and their culture, reserving the word Mayan for the family of thirty languages still spoken by the six million Maya living in Central America today.

Product Details

  • File Size: 5502 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B009LJTZXO
  • Publisher: EgmontUSA; Revised edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003IS76B2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #442,020 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling, exciting book! November 6, 2007
A Kid's Review
The thrilling scenes of this book will keep you on the edge of your seat. It's like the book is pulling you into the ancient Maya world. When the book was over, I was pining for a sequel.J&P Voelkel are two extremely talented writers. I recommend this book for all ages! It is Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter rolled into one book that will have your eyes popping out. It includes action, mystery, romance and fantasy: the recipe for a good book. This is one of the best books I've ever read.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too October 1, 2007
Husband and wife team Jon and Pamela Voelkel have created a tale set in the Central American rain forest. The story focuses on the Maya culture and traditions as the characters battle to prevent the evil forces of an ancient empire from destroying today's world.

In MIDDLEWORLD readers meet Max Murphy. His parents are archaeologists. He is sick of the old pottery and ancient artifacts that are forever causing his parents to head off to foreign countries. Max is always left in Boston to fend for himself with the help of Zia, their housekeeper. Max would like a little adventure -- as long as it involves pizza and video games. Adventure begins for Max when Zia informs him that plans have changed this time. Instead of heading off to a wilderness camp in Maine, Max is being sent to San Xavier to join his parents.

Max arrives in San Xavier only to find that Mr. and Mrs. Murphy have disappeared. Uncle Ted becomes Max's instant guardian, and the search for his parents begins. At the time of their disappearance, they were exploring an ancient Maya pyramid deep in the rain forest. All that's left is Mr. Murphy's jacket and Mrs. Murphy's earring. Max soon finds himself lost in the rain forest that may be responsible for his parents' death.

As the story unfolds, readers will learn quite a bit of Maya history. Hidden pyramids and ruins are scattered throughout the rain forest, and each holds mysterious treasures and secrets of the ancients and how they may still have powers in the modern world. The adventure is filled with crazy characters, secret passageways and hidden chambers, Maya traditions and superstitions, talking monkeys, and blood-thirsty warriors. The mysterious Jaguar Stones hold the power to change the world.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars GreenBeanTeenQueen Reviews July 16, 2010
This is a rare book that is action/adventure without being too heavy on the fantasy. There are some fantasy elements, but they're worked into the story to be more realistic than fantasy. I think this one will have great tween appeal. It doesn't take too long for the adventure to start and once it does, it doesn't slow down. There's a lot of Maya history packed into the book which I think readers who enjoy facts will appreciate. This might even be a fiction book that your usual non-fiction readers will pick up.

The book is somewhat long (almost 400 pages) and while I thought some of that could have been cut down, my tween readers don't seem to mind long books. The ending wraps some things up, but leaves it open for more and I believe this is set to be a trilogy.

As an adult, I found it somewhat annoying that there were pronunciation's thrown into the text for every Maya word-I would have preferred a glossary, but I can see where this would be helpful to younger readers. Also, I thought some of the adventure was too coincidental, but again, I'm sure younger readers will overlook this and instead be caught up in the adventure of the story.

I liked how the book mixed history with adventure. The blurb on the back calls Middleworld "Percy Jackson meets Indiana Jones" and I have to agree (although I could see this having appeal to the readers who enjoyed The Red Pyramid because of the archeology aspects). It also reminded me a bit of the Journey to the Center of the Earth movie. A fun start to a new series, give this to tweens looking for a new adventure series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading Teen Review December 5, 2010
This was the best book I've read in a long time. I was so immersed in it, I read it in one day. The characters, the story, the writing, everything was absolutely great. It is kinda like Rick Riordan's books, in the way it brings ancient mythology into modern life. I loved all of Riordan's books, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Kane Chronicles and The Heroes of Olympus. You can see my review for Lost Hero here. I love all of this mythology stuff, Greek being my favorite, but Mayan mythology definitely gives it a run for it's money. The way J&P Voekel incorporated it, dropping subtle hints here and there, and making you feel like it's all real, is masterful.

My only problem with this book was that the main character, Max, was a complete wimp throughout the first part of the book. He just wouldn't stop complaining about anything. It got a little annoying but, he started to tough things out and he turned out to be a pretty good character. And, let me just say the Hermanjilio is awesome. This book is full of great humor much like Riordan's and it really just makes for a great book. It is pretty much non-stop action and any parts that aren't action (there are few) are still very interesting because you are 99% of the time learning about the ancient Mayans even more. I picked this book up at the library and am very glad that I did. It is truly a great read that will fascinate and enthrall all fantasy lovers.

If you didn't catch my drift in reading my previous statements, if you like any of Rick Riordan's books, you will love Middleworld. It is one of my favorites of the last few months, hands down. Thank you, Jon and Pamala Voekel. You wrote an excellent book.

~Austin ([...])
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid read
For kids i think this is a great book exploring meso american mythology in a fun read. I enjoyed it
Published 1 month ago by Doublerey
5.0 out of 5 stars True literature for youngsters.
This is a novel that truly captivates the audience in the world of the Maya and allows for everyone, young readers even, to learn more about the Maya in a non-school-like manner. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Abraham Foulkes
Although intended for a younger reading audience, the book most certainly was a fun read & very most educational for all ages.
Published 9 months ago by J. Wagerer
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
My son read this book and he just completely loved it this book is filled with action and adventure it also has some suspense I would recommend this to everyone else. Read more
Published 9 months ago by SARAH SHUMATE
5.0 out of 5 stars Grew On Me
At first I was skeptic about trudging into this type of mythology but now I'm glad I did. Middleworld's protagonist goes through a change from a spoiled brat to a selfless hero. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Olympic_Writer
3.0 out of 5 stars Way Too Long for 10 Year Olds!
The book starts off slow for me but it does warm up to my attention about fourteen year old Max Murphy who takes an unforgettable vacation with his parents and uncle. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Sylviastel
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
This book is very good and tells you a lot about the Mayan culture. Keep reading to keep up the excitement.
Published 12 months ago by Evan Reff
5.0 out of 5 stars READ THIS
This book was soooooooooooooooo great it is almost exactly like Percy Jackson except it is Maya gods instead of Greek gods
Published 12 months ago by person
5.0 out of 5 stars Kids Really Enjoy
I teach the uppermost reading group in fourth grade. The students love this series and read it quickly. I highly recommend the series. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Sharene Voelkel
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stooges and To Kill a Mockingbird
Please understand that all my reviews focus on the interests of my middle school students. I never do a full plot synopsis in a review. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Teacherrates
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More About the Author

J&P Voelkel co-write and illustrate The Jaguar Stones books, an adventure series for 10-14 year-olds, set in the rainforests of the Maya. Jon grew up in South and Central America, while Pamela grew up in a seaside town in England. They met at an advertising agency in London, and now live in rural Vermont with their three children.

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