Thursday, May 10, 2012
Jaguar Sun by Martha Bourke review
December 21, 2012 Will that fateful day destroy our world, or did the Mayans have something else in mind? Maya Delaney knows. Unfortunately. Maya Delaney is just an average sixteen-year-old. She's busy dealing with exams, her soon to be ex-boyfriend and fitting in. But Maya's got bigger problems. She's hiding a major secret from her dad and having strange visions she can't control. In her struggle to figure out who she is, she learns that she is meant to fulfill an ancient Mayan Prophesy and bring forth a New Age on earth. Will the spirit magic Maya wields be enough to defeat Toltec, an evil society bent on keeping her from her destiny? Or will that destiny itself destroy her?
The story of Jaguar Sun follows a young woman named Maya. She is a bit socially awkward and very self conscious of the fact, it doesn't help that she has a Hispanic background in New Mexico and speaks no Spanish at all. Luckily for her she still has a few very strong friends. Alyssa and Damian are twins who have been around Maya for a long time and are wonderfully supportive, Matt is her boyfriend and dream guy. When Maya begins to be haunted by a shadowy figure that has been figuring in her dreams lately she thinks she is losing her mind. She goes to see her grandmother who is a Mayan elder for advice. Her grandmother tells her she may be becoming a shifter, and as the story progresses Maya discovers that there is a lot riding on her ability to master her new found abilities.
I really enjoyed the role that shifters had in this book. It is a fairly rare occurrence, but not at all unheard of. They face some negative societal stigmas and some live normal lives without revealing their abilities. Maya's manifestation brings about some internal strife that would be expected in any teenager whose life gets turned upside down. The only aspect of the characters that I didn't really enjoy is the relationship between Matt and Maya. It was a bit too teen romance novely for me. The seemed to be inseparable and distance actually caused them discomfort. There is an explanation for this provided in the book, but it was still a bit overdone for me.
There are many good aspects to appeal to readers highschool and up. The story is well done, the characters are easy to relate to, and there are multiple cultures that are highlighted. The Mayan culture is at the forefront, but there is also a lot of other South American cultures mentioned and Damian is gay and totally comfortable with it. There is a scene where he gets bullied and someone stands up for him and I really liked to see that acceptance displayed in a highschool setting. The variety of shifter is also very cool and the spiritual magic that Maya learns about as the story progresses seems to have very cool applications. This is a story that I plan to follow to the conclusion and I am really looking forward to the second volume.