Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron (304 pages)
Rena Barron Delivers an Action-Packed Adventure About a Twelve-Year-Old Girl Who Must Beat The Odds to Take Down a Sinister Force and Save Her Father.
When dark forces begin infiltrating the world, there’s nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. All Maya wants to do is finish school and enjoy her summer vacation, but when strange, scary things start happening, she knows that’s just wishful thinking. Maya learns that her father is the guardian of the veil between our world and the Dark—a place where the Lord of Shadows control an evil army called the “darkbringers.”
Well, now the veil is failing, and not only are darkbringers getting through to our world and wreaking havoc, but the Lord of Shadows is also invading Maya’s dreams and turning them into nightmares. To make matters worse, Maya’s father has been kidnapped by the sinister lord, and it is up to her to save him. With all of the adults telling her what to do, Maya only listens to one voice—her own. Maya is a godling—half human, half Orisha, and with the help of her friends, they venture into the Dark and battle the Lord of Shadow’s wicked army to find her father and save the world.
A Fun New Fantasy That Shows The Power of Owning Your Bravery and Being Your Own Hero
Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron is a fresh and lively story that perfectly balances the dark elements with some witty humor that had me smiling as I turned the pages. Rooted in West African mythology, I learned about the Orishas—the divine beings that Maya considered superheroes in her story. However, what I loved most about this book was the fact that Maya mustered up her courage and bravery to become the hero her world needed. I watched as Maya fought through her fear of taking each step necessary to find her father, no matter how frightening the outcome might be. Maya is the type of protagonist relatable to people of all ages because of her fierce personality and her motivation to overcome her fears.. Barron wasn’t afraid to highlight how scared Maya was to go on this dangerous escapade, which brought out her human traits in full force. Maya’s dread about the dark unknown in no way made her weak; it made her human, and the strength she showed to overcome it made her the protagonist we all needed.
Maya and the Rising Dark kept me captivated from the first page with Barron’s exhilarating and quirky writing style. Once the color bled from the world in the first chapter, I knew I was in for an exciting adventure. The journey into the Dark as Maya learns more about this other world was as fascinating as it was inspiring. The essential messages scattered throughout this story showed us that even the noblest superheroes can make mistakes and that, with a little bravery, and some help from friends, a young girl is capable of anything.
The Bottom Line: 5/5 Brookie Stars
Rena Barron conveys important messages while keeping the tone fun and lighthearted. The friendship dynamic between Maya and her two friends, Frankie and Eli, drove this story forward while searching for her father, which helped Maya find her strength. Maya’s relationship with her father was not only sweet and wholesome but the whole reason why Maya steps into who she really is.
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Brittany Amalfi is a 20- something- year- old developmental specialist living in Massachusetts where she loves all things New England. Brittany is currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing, and working on her young adult fantasy novel. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading, working with awesome kiddos, and spending time with friends and family.