The day starts off ordinary enough for Ameca J. Her sister is driving her crazy. Her dad is too busy to pay attention to her. No big surprises there...until Ameca's little sister Fraya makes a startling discovery. The glowing being in the woods sends a "RUN" message through Ameca's mind, but of course, Fraya reaches out an touches the being. The next thing they know they've been dumped in a completely different forest, on a completely different world. Getting back home is a problem. Staying alive in this new world is an even bigger one.
Ameca and Fraya end up being transported to Mythrania, a world where the girls' blond and auburn locks set them apart as Magi - magic users. Which may sound like fun, but only until the girls realize their hair color has set an evil demon after them. The world of Mythrania that Jones created is very rich and interesting. The descriptions draw you in and the history helps readers become invested in the characters. I really enjoyed the backstories of the characters the girls meet. The fact that they all have their own problems in addition to stumbling upon the girls and their father rounded out the story. It isn't just the girls you worry about, it's all the characters you meet.
The idea for this book is very interesting as well. The choice of using hair color as the factor that set the girls apart was very unique, and something young readers can enjoy. They idea of a prophecy is nothing new in YA fiction, but Jones puts a twist on the idea by making the prophecy something sprung from a world the girls don't even live on. There are tried and true story elements in this book, but Jones does a good job of giving each one new life in this story.
For young readers, this book has good pacing. The girls' journey moves along nicely, skipping over long drawn out parts of the journey where young readers would lose interest. Jones kept the story focused on events and action. The characters aren't overly emotional about the changes that happen, which doesn't work well for adults and older teens in many cases, but for younger readers who want to read about adventure more than emotional turmoil, it was a good fit.
One of my few issues with the book was that I did not immediately care for Ameca very much. I thought she was overly mean to her sister. Perhaps if Fraya had actually been more annoying and troublesome I would have sympathized with Ameca more, but I actually thought Fraya was sweet, so Ameca's treatment of her made it difficult for me to like her in the beginning. As the story progresses and Ameca begins to see that her sister does have worth and that she does love, her attitude begins to change and I felt myself enjoying her character a more.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read. The world was well developed, the side characters were full, the overall story was very interesting, and for the most part the main characters were characters you could care about. The adventure these girls and their father go on is sure to capture young readers attention.
Would I recommend this book? Yes. It's a fun, imaginative fantasy. It was a good start to the series.
Who would I recommend this book too? I feel it's going to interest readers on the younger side of the YA spectrum. I would recommend this boys and girls ages 9-14. I think older teens will be harder to target because of the age of Ameca and Fraya, and the focus on the adventure over the thoughts and emotions involved. I think this is a fun book for parents and children to read together, but I don't think it's one that will crossover to the adult readership alone.
Ameca J and the Legacy of Menindus is available now from Amazon and B&N.