The world seems to be on the brink of destruction, as the Maya people might have predicted, and its fate might just rest on the shoulders of a single teenage boy in Simone’s debut young-adult thriller.
As far as Cory McClintock knows, he’s a normal kid. The only thing distinguishing him is that, when he was a baby, his father adopted him from a Maya woman who had begged him to take care of her son. One day, when Cory arrives home from school, he discovers his dad unconscious and bleeding; Cory is immediately kidnapped at gunpoint by Culebra, a man claiming to be his uncle, who takes him to Guatemala. According to Culebra, Cory is the latest in a line of Maya kings who have the ability to reshape the world in the last days of the Maya calendar, a time of planetary upheaval and rebirth. Culebra plans on sacrificing him on an altar, thus taking Cory’s power for himself. Simone has crafted a taut novel that’s impressive for its razor-edge suspense as well as its verisimilitude. Written in first-person present tense, the prose is incredibly tight, sharp and intelligent. Cory never comes across as anything less than a fully believable young man, despite the bizarre circumstances in which he finds himself. His attempts to escape his uncle’s clutches provide nail-biting suspense. Given the novel’s title, one might expect an exploitation of ancient culture, but Simone’s tale has the utmost respect for Maya civilization as the narrative spins a sensationalist tale out of a modern interpretation. The story ultimately illuminates Maya beliefs, while managing to pay homage to pop culture’s apocalyptic interpretation.
The relatable, refreshingly non-Caucasian protagonist will take readers on an action-packed cultural adventure.