Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron – A Middle Grade Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I loved Maya so much! She is a caring, wonderful main character. Her special abilities make for a fun story and excellent character self-exploration.

How I Felt:

The Characters: I’ve already gushed a bit about Maya, but I also loved her adorable friends. Eli and Franky help move the story along with their lovable, nerdy personalities. All of the characters in Maya and the Rising Dark were created so well. They had depth and backstories, and overall, helped to shape the entire book.

The Plot: Maya lives on the south side of Chicago with her family and learns that her father is orisha with special powers. This makes Maya a godling, which is a half-human and half-god child. The orishas have worked to keep the darkbringers from overtaking their world, but when Maya’s father goes missing, she and her friends must work together to save him, and their world from the darkbringers.

I found Maya and the Rising Dark to have a well-built world with detailed explanations so that I could immerse myself in the story and enjoy it. It is so important to build the fantasy world so that the readers can understand the events and who the players in the story are. Rena Barron did an excellent job of building her world and the story that centered around it!

Overall, Maya and the Rising Dark is an exciting adventure for young readers. With fantasy, special powers, missions to save family, and friendship, it is a great read!

To Read or Not To Read:

I would recommend Maya and the Rising Dark for any young reader that is reading chapter books well and enjoys adventure and fantasy!

Where to Find This Book:

Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron publishes on May 5, 2020 and is available at these sites.

Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Goodreads

In this highly anticipated contemporary fantasy, twelve-year-old Maya’s search for her missing father puts her at the center of a battle between our world, the Orishas, and the mysterious and sinister Dark world. Perfect for fans of Aru Shah and the End of Time and The Serpent’s Secret.

Twelve-year-old Maya is the only one in her South Side Chicago neighborhood who witnesses weird occurrences like werehyenas stalking the streets at night and a scary man made of shadows plaguing her dreams. Her friends try to find an explanation—perhaps a ghost uprising or a lunchroom experiment gone awry. But to Maya, it sounds like something from one of Papa’s stories or her favorite comics.

When Papa goes missing, Maya is thrust into a world both strange and familiar as she uncovers the truth. Her father is the guardian of the veil between our world and the Dark—where an army led by the Lord of Shadows, the man from Maya’s nightmares, awaits. Maya herself is a godling, half orisha and half human, and her neighborhood is a safe haven. But now that the veil is failing, the Lord of Shadows is determined to destroy the human world and it’s up to Maya to stop him. She just hopes she can do it in time to attend Comic-Con before summer’s over.

Just the Facts:

  • Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron
  • Series: Maya and the Rising Dark, Book 1
  • Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
  • Pub Date: May 5, 2020
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I was provided a copy of this book for free. I am leaving my honest, unbiased review voluntarily.

All Amazon links are affiliate links.

#shejustlovesbooks #bookreview #bookblog #kidslit #shejustlovesbooksforkids #mayaandtherisingdark #renabarron #hmhbooks #fantasy

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