Think that having “god friends” would be supercool? Think that the key to success is skill with hairdos or marrying a cute sun god?
Ixchel, a self-described “gorgeous Mayan goddess,” lives with her grandfather in the Upperworld but yearns to marry the jealous K’inich Ajaw. The two run off in secret, but Ixchel is killed by a lightning bolt and spends time in the Mayan underworld, Xibalba, before being rescued by her husband. The book concludes with several pages of nonfiction material about the ancient Mayans, a chart that parses myth from fact from fiction, and a bibliography. Despite these and the disclaimer that mythology is meant to be reinvented, this comes across as a transparent attempt to appeal to girls who can only relate to superficial, silly stories and who might not otherwise take their learning seriously. The thin, first-person story is silly and reads like cartoon dialogue. It’s hard to know who the intended audience might be for this peculiar mixture of ancient and contemporary culture, as in contrast to such new standards as the Percy Jackson books, this comes across as disrespectful of both the actual mythology and modern girls. Ixchel’s nonfiction-ish wrap-up of modern Central America sums it up: “If there was a magazine of ‘pop’ goddesses in Mesoamerica, I’m sure I would be on the cover.”
A miss. (cast of characters, glossary, photographs) (Fantasy. 8-12)