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Lost Souls: Burning Sky Hardcover – April 27, 2010
From School Library Journal
Gr 4-7–This first book in a trilogy, which takes the Maya 2012 apocalypse prophecy as a central plot point, is surely intended to appeal to fans of Rick Riordan's “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” books (Hyperion), but that series is funnier and far less murky. Nathan has been picked by the Maya god Kukulkan to play a mysterious live-action game (board game included with the book). He isn't supplied with any rules or instructions–all he knows is that the Game is dangerous and the stakes are high. Funny, smart-alecky dialogue and neatly drawn characters are not enough to make up for the book's uneven pace and choppy plot. The disjointed action takes place in dreams, in waking dreams, and finally in the real world, but the transitions between these settings are awkward. Nathan's indecision about whether to even play the Game is particularly drawn out and talky, as he is guided and advised by a talking monkey, a dead police officer, the god Kukulkan, and his deceased mother. Screamingly up-to-date, with references to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, this book may attract readers who are gluttons for adventure, but most of them will be put off by the long periods of inaction.Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, MD
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
There has been a great deal of interest in the Mayan prediction of a 2012 apocalypse, and this trilogy kick-off ties the fate of all humankind to—surprise!—a wisecracking, unpopular seventh-grader. Nathan’s daily grind of slugging through boring tests and avoiding sneak-attack swirlies upshifts when he finds an ancient board game in the closet of his archaeologist father. (Lost Souls comes packaged with a replica of this game.) Soon Nathan finds himself locked in a competition that opens new alternate worlds (called frequencies) traversed by a fantastical figure named Kukulkan, Nathan’s dead mother, and hordes of the frequency-challenged (aka ghosts), who plead for Nathan’s help in putting their souls to rest. What begins as supernatural fantasy settles into Nathan’s investigation of the killing of an unjustly demonized cop. So far, the game element is little more than a lackluster metaphor in an overlong book. But there remains hope: both Nathan and Kukulkan are interesting adversaries, and the 2012 connection has only begun to be mined. Grades 6-9. --Daniel Kraus
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The first in a new trilogy, the novel for middle readers come packaged with a copy of the actual game from the story. And the game's instructions are detailed at the end of the book. Whereas, Nathan must learn the rules and game instructions throughout the course of his adventures. Nathan is a likeable kid, with a tragic family. His mother died when he was born. And his father is so focused on his work, that he neglects his only child. And though Nathan is reluctant about the Game, he is focused on doing the right thing, even if it means putting himself in jeopardy.
With the popularity of Mayan culture in children's books lately, this new trilogy has a fun niche literally incorporating a game - and helps to pull the reader even more into the story. This first in the trilogy is fast-paced, full of mystery and wonder. The adventure and suspense will attract readers of all ages. It's fun, engaging, and exciting. Ending with a mild cliffhanger counting down to the supposed end of the world, I eagerly await the next installment.
The book even comes with a board game. It is the same game that Nathan plays in the story.