4 out of 4 stars
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Maya and her brother Jack live in London. It's their thirteenth birthday, and they plan to celebrate the way they always do - by visiting the Museum of Myths and Mysticism. However, as always seems to happen on their birthday, a series of unusual events occur. First, Maya has a very unique and detailed dream. Secondly, she receives a mysterious letter. Finally, after their visit to the museum, Maya and Jack's parents disappear. Maya and Jack must figure out where they've gone and how to save them before it's too late.
David, who also lives in London, has fled from yet another foster family. He's gifted at avoiding capture, but he can't escape the officers this time. Now they are taking him to a new, private facility called Red Gate. David is all ready to run again, but this place is not like any other to which he's been. A monk greets him at the door of what could almost be called a fortress. The halls are filled with ancient armor and weapons along with numerous paintings and sculptures. His room is part of the royal bedchambers and bigger than any he's had before. This time, he thinks he just might stay a bit longer than normal. But, he soon finds out that not everything is as it seems.
Maya Mysun & The World That Does Not Exist is a fantasy adventure for young adults. Though the vocabulary may be a bit challenging, the action is non-stop and will keep the most preoccupied of readers engaged. The beginning is a bit confusing but slowly becomes clearer as the plot progresses.
I enjoyed the many unique characters adorning the pages of this book. From normal human children, to beings that transform from warriors to four-headed snakes, to wraiths, to flame genies, to dragons, this book seems to have a bit of everything. My favorite would have to be Maya's pet tortoise Tommy who isn't quite as benign and innocuous as he sounds. Little surprises like Tommy are what make this book unique and able to stand out from the crowd.
As far as age-appropriateness goes, I did have a few issues. As stated above, the vocabulary is somewhat advanced. Words like vivarium and pedestrianised are used fairly often. In addition, as this is a fantasy, many of the names used are quite hard to pronounce. A younger reader would stumble over them. There was some violence in the book, but it was worth noting that it was not particularly gory. At the beginning of the book, Maya's dream is somewhat confusing. Luckily, the dream does not need to be fully understood to grasp the remainder of the story. There was, also, quite a bit of rule-breaking. In the grand scheme of things, the Harry Potter series was also classified as young adult; however, there was plenty of confusing plot twists and turns, action-related violence, unique creatures and names and even disobedient children. We all know how successful that was with children and adults.
I can honestly say that I was pleasantly surprised with this book. It was fun, adventurous and enlightening. This is why, in the end, I decided to give Maya Maysun & The World That Does Not Exist 4 out of 4 stars. In considering the rating, I was on the fence about taking off a star because it just didn't quite meet the expectations for a young adult novel. Still, there are many other examples of books that don't cleanly fit into that category either that are still best-sellers. I recommend this to anyone, young or old, who enjoys a good fantasy novel featuring young adult protagonists, magic and otherworldly beings. It looks like this will become a series, and I can't wait to see what happens to Maya, Jack and David next!
Maya Mysun & The World That Does Not Exist
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