Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Review: Ameca J and the Revenge of Rex Ultar (Paul Xavier Jones)

Ameca J and her sister Fraya barely survived their initial journey through the magical world of Mythrania after being abruptly transported there by The Spirit. A journey faced with danger, strange powers, and evil changes the girls forever. Ameca J and Fraya become much closer than they ever expected, and that bond is tested by the death of their father...a loss that leaves them with only the smallest lingering hope that they can bring him back.

In the first Ameca J book, readers are introduced to the world of Mythrania. Even though a large part of the story takes place back in the real world, readers are still able to delve deeper into Mythrania and its people as thye follow Kian as he battles against a strange new illness that is decimating his kingdom. I really enjoyed getting to know Kian and Skarr better. The strong bond they share as friends builds up the intensity of each fight as I found myself worrying about each of them.

The majority of the story follows the girls and their three companions, Delar, Atrayor, and Gravellux, as they travel back to the real world to find the artifact they need to bring their father back to life as well as to rescue their mother. Watching the Mythranians experience modern society made me chuckle on more than one occasion. It was fun to see their reactions and it added lighter elements to the story when it was needed.

The overall arc of the story following the girls was very well planned. I enjoyed the twists and turns. Jones did a good job of bringing actual myths and legends from stories of Merlin and King Arthur into his unique fantasy world. The girls reactions to each situation felt realistic, even though at times I thought they should have realized something was a little off, I would remember that real girls their age wouldn't have known what to expect in a dangerous situation either.

One of the aspects of this book that I really enjoyed was the way the relationship between Fraya and Ameca J developed. In the first book I had a bit of a hard time with Ameca J because she was often very hard on her sister, bordering on mean. Both girls grow throughout this story with Fraya becoming less flighty and more mature while Ameca J realizes how much she loves her sister and that they truly do need each other. I was glad to see how they came together to survive.

The storyline fits somewhere between middle grade and young adult. There are some darker aspects that may be a bit scary for middle grade readers, but the girl's personalities and dialog will appeal to younger readers. Overall, this is an exciting adventure for young readers. While there may be a few scary parts, it has clean language with only a few small curse words, and the realistic characters will draw in readers and their parents. This is a great book for young readers looking for an adventure!


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