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broodings from the burrow

February 28, 2011

into the stacks: the magnificent 12: the call
posted by soe 7:10 pm

What's in a Name 4The Magnificent 12: The Call by Michael Grant

From the jacket: “Twelve-year-old Mack MacAvoy suffers from a serious case of mediumness. Medium looks. Medium grades. Medium parents who barely notice him. With a list of phobias that could make anyone crazy, Mack never would have guessed that he is destined for a more-than-medium life.

“And then, one day, something incredibly strange happens to Mack. A three-thousand-year-old man named Grimluk appears in the boys’ bathroom to deliver some startling news: Mack is one of the Magnificent Twelve, called the Magnifica in ancient times, whatever that means.”

My take: An action series in a similar vein to Rick Riordan’s The Red Pyramid or Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, this book crosses time and space, ranging from ancient days to modern times, and from Arizona to Australia. Our protagonist, Mack, comes into our story by standing up to some bullies picking on another kid. While this act nearly gets him beaten up, events quickly transpire that have him saving the life of the main bully of Richard Gere Middle School, Stefan, who announces he will protect him from all threats.

This is good, because he also comes to the attention of two mysterious and somewhat supernatural ancient beings: Grimluk, who announces that Mack is the heir to the Magnifica, the Magnificent 12, and must battle the Pale Queen (who is about to be freed after her eternal imprisonment of 3,000 years) to save the world from evil, and Paddy “Nine Iron” Trout, a wheezing leprechaun who heads up the Nafia, those malevolent creatures in the service of said queen and her equally dangerous daughter, Princess Ereskigal.

With an uneducated golem standing in for him at home and at school, Mack and Stefan board a plane that will take them to Australia where he has to convince another 12-year old to join the Magnifica. But with supernatural bad guys hot on their trail and Mack’s fear of flying, it’s not going to be as simple as just stumbling across her. Or will it?

The novel is cute and will definitely appeal to modern kids with its grasp of current technology and its irreverent tone. I’d be willing to read the second book when it comes out in the fall, but I won’t be rushing out to buy them, as I do with some series aimed at a slightly older audience.

My favorite quote of the book? “Of course [your golem] can text. He’s a golem … not an adult.”

This book, which I read way back in January, counts as my fourth and final book in the National Just Read More Novels Month Challenge, as well as my number category in the What’s in a Name 4 Challenge.

Pages: 243

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