Following on the heels of Invisible City (2010), Harris returns with the second entry in the Joshua Files.
Fourteen-year-old British-Mexican Joshua Garcia, still determined to discover how his father died, is back to a somewhat normal existence in Oxford, England. The arrival of a series of cryptic postcards from Veracruz, Mexico, and alarming new suspicions surrounding his father’s murder soon have Josh seeking out further clues about his nemesis, Simon Madison. Josh, beginning to doubt the motives of even his closest friends, ends up back in the hidden city of Ek Naab. Ixchel, a minor character in Invisible City, becomes a major player, and she proves to be a valuable ally, especially when Josh unearths evidence of a secret death cult. Incredibly, between fulfilling his destiny as the last of a powerful Mayan bloodline and tracking down civilization-saving artifacts all over Mexico, Josh finds the time and the technology to update his secret blog. These blog entries chop up the narrative and distract from an already-complicated story. Nevertheless, with tighter writing and character development than the first, this book is one of the rare sequels that improve upon the original. Touches of science fiction and fantasy add flavor to the adventure and action, as do Borgesian allusions and a charming tale of two long-dead lovers.
A good bet for the thrill-seeking middle-school crowd. (Adventure. 12-15)