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on August 13, 2011
I read most of the books my son reads before handing them to him. This is the first book he's ever seen me read where I was giggling by every 6th or 7th page. He couldn't wait to get his hands on it, and he giggled throughout as well. Unfortunately the last 3rd of the book became a little too rushed for my taste, and lost the humorous writing.
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VINE VOICEon September 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Mack MacAvoy is an average 12-year-old except for his long list of phobias. But one day an old man named Grimluk tells Mack that he is one of the Magnificent Twelve. Mack is destined to be a hero and stop an ancient evil. But first, he has to gather the rest of the Twelve. The only problem is that he has no idea who or where to find them. And Mack isn't even sure if he wants to be a hero.

This is the first in a new heroic fantasy series for middle readers. This first installment is a very quick and easy read. As a fan of Grant's Hunger series, I had high hopes. Perhaps too high, as the humor and pacing of the story fell flat for me. The relationship between Mack and his bully-turned-friend is fun to read. And the flashbacks to Grimluk's story 3,000 years in the past is cute, but could have been tied up in one flashback in one chapter, instead of throughout the entire book. I thought the flashbacks would somehow tie-in to the current happenings with Mack, but never did. Maybe I was turned-off to the humor right away, and it ruined the book for me. But there are too many other fantastic series out right now for me to be able to recommend this one highly.
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on August 20, 2011
This book is hilarious. It's the story of a 12 year old who is riddled with dozens of phobias (everything from the fear of blue cheese to the fear of fear), along with his bully turned bodyguard, who has to find 11 other 12 year olds to band together and destroy The Pale Queen--a being who has been imprisoned for the past 3000 years.

This book is wonderful for young adults, but also for adults! The writing is fantastic, I didn't find any typos, only a couple of editing issues.

I highly recommend this book. Be warned though, it's the beginning of a series, so don't expect closure!
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VINE VOICEon October 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When the world is threatened by the Dread Foe, only twelve kids can save us. And only Mack MacAvoy can lead them to victory. Hopefully. If he doesn't get beat up by the school bullies first. But Mack will face many more dangers than a fist pummeling his jaw: The evil Pale Queen is trying to rise once again, and Mack is only one of twelve who can speak a magical language and defeat her. Mack will have to find the other eleven kids, and figure out how to destroy her forever. Otherwise... he'll end up being dinner to one of the Pale Queen's evil creations.

Michael Grant drops down an age group to the magical world of middle-grade novels, and begins a new series: THE MAGNIFICENT 12. Book one, THE CALL, starts things off on an interesting foot. Grant definitely is playing a humor card here -- trying to make things fun along the way with some quirky middle school-type humor. Some of the laughs come off well, but some don't quite make it. This was the main reason I didn't end up loving THE CALL. It was still a fun read and Grant pulls off the action scenes very well. Even the main character, Mack, is fairly likable. But even putting all that aside, the quirky humor style just didn't seem to work for me.

The plot is interesting enough: Mack ends up being one of twelve kids who can speak a magic language. And he's contacted by a three-thousand year old guy who pushes him onto his quest to defeat the Pale Queen, who is pretty evil. The story switches back and forth between present day and "a really, really long time ago" following the story of the old man when he was twelve years old. The switches are often, and a little bit jarring at first, but after a few chapters, the alternating storyline becomes easier to follow.

One thing that Grant has done right and very well is the action. Whenever an action scene begins, Grant really shines through -- keeping things moving and very slick. Strange monsters abound and are constantly attacking Mack and his friends. And some of the creatures Grant has come up with are truly terrifying. The nice thing is Grant doesn't get Mack into trouble and get him out very easily. There's a good level of danger the whole way through that keeps the reader pretty engaged. From fights in the school bathroom to dangling twenty thousand feet in the air to the rugged Outback, Mack faces more than any typical pre-teen could handle.

THE CALL doesn't always take itself seriously. When it does, it shines. When the humor begins to take over and Grant delivers joke after joke, things go a little sideways. Middle grade readers will probably love the puns and funny moments, while getting a pretty solid story that promises to be a fairly decent middle-grade fantasy series.
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on August 13, 2011

David "Mack" McAvoy is a bright, but average twelve-year-old with caring, but somewhat neglectful parents. When he saves the school bully - Stephan's life by helping stem the flow of blood after the boy puts his arm through a window he is taken under the big brute's wing. Though at first he isn't sure this is a good thing, he's grateful for the protection when an old man shows up informing Mack is fated to be the leader of The Magnificent 12, a group of twelve-year-old's, who through magic must save the world from the evil mother of all monsters, The Pale Queen. He might have ignored the man, but for the aged assassin and monsters who show up at his middle school to kill him. And so Mack and Stephan embark on a journey around the world to locate the rest of the magnificent twelve. But can a group of twelve-year-old's really save the world?

In a way I'm glad that I read the second book in this series before reading the first. Don't get me wrong, it's a good book filled with adventure and some funny scenes, however it pales in comparison to the hilarity of its sequel - The Trap (review to be posted on release date). While this book might have received a higher rating from me than it did, I probably wouldn't have bothered to pick up another book in the series which is very obviously geared to children, not really the type of book meant to expand to include adult interest. The difference between this and The Trap is even though they're both clearly geared toward children The Trap keeps you laughing from beginning to end so you don't really mind the immaturity of the book as an adult reader. This book has funny moments which make you smile, but it doesn't reach the same level of funny as The Trap does.

What makes this adventure novel so appropriate for children is that Grant takes the adventure and makes it out right silly. And though his topics are somewhat violent in nature, he manages to skip the really violent parts by giving the reader two intertwining story lines at the same time. In some chapters you are in the modern world with Mack seeing his world turn upside down. In others you are three thousand years in the past with Grimluk, engaged in a war against the Pale Queen. None of the chapters are really gruesome or gory and parts that you would expect to be scary are so silly in nature that they're laughable. Grant engages in a wonderful method of bringing adventure to children with a distinctive voice and original style. To be honest the book probably deserves a higher rating but it's hard to give it that with the comparison to its sequel so fresh in my mind.

I don't know if I'd so much call the characters well developed, however I would call them memorable. I don't think the characters are meant to be well developed in this story because the more realistic you make them, the less laughable they seem. As the goal of this adventure novel is laughter for once I think this is a positive thing. There's Mack with his numerous phobias freaking out about everything. Stephan, the dumb but brave bully ready to protect him. With a bunch of other characters along the way. My favorite character in this novel is the Golem whose mostly portrayed though journal entries and text messages. Because he has a brain made from mud, clay and magic he takes everything literally. So for example when a teacher asks if Mack is still devouring books, he says yes and promptly eats a book for her then can't understand why he gets in trouble. If everything else in the book was deadly serious, the Golem's passages would still be enough to keep the mood light and children laughing.

Overall this is an excellent tale of adventure and laughter that I believe children, especially boys will love.
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on May 9, 2013
Too short for the nearly $10 price, come on folks...this is SO short it's more like an installment than a book! The story is good, but it ends abruptly and to go further you have to get the next book. So far there are four of them and I'd guess there will be six in all. Must be nice to charge $10 for a Kindle SHORT "book" installment....WHAT A RIP OFF!
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on November 23, 2012
I love Grant's Gone series, but I couldn't even finish this one. There may have been nothing wrong and I'm just too old for the content, but it did seem a little over the top childish. But again that's just me; I know many people who love this book.
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on February 12, 2013
This read is a bit strange, but somewhat captivating, nonetheless. There are two stories going on at the same time. At some point, I believe they will join together, but not at all sure. If it get much stranger, I will stop reading it. Please be aware, I have yet to finish the book, so my current opinion could change. I am only 30-40% through the read.
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on September 30, 2013
(Note: the following review was written by my 9-year-old reader, who apparently also channeled one of her favorite characters from the book ;) ) I love dis book! Huh...... I love each character and the powers I would like to learn vargran however :)
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on November 11, 2014
Awesome book. My kids love it and if it gets them energized about reading, I'm all for it. I hope the other books in the series are as good. Not too short, which is great since other book series seems to be pushing you just to keep buying the next book by keeping the number of pages to 200 or less. Cool accompanying web site. Good characters. Good quality far.
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