Thursday, July 28, 2016

Max Helsing and the Thirteenth Curse by Curtis Jobling

This sounded really good, but it took me a long time to get into it and I could never get really invested in the story or characters.

Max Helsing, descendant of the famous Van Helsings, is putting his own stamp on the family business of monster hunting while trying to survive middle school and doing most of the work running the old apartment building he and his guardian watch over. He has a helpful sidekick, Syd, who likes to create gadgets and gear for him, and another possible sidekick in boy-genius Wing, his next door neighbor.

Unfortunately, between trying to be fair and give monsters a chance, deal with bullies, and train his new hellhound (he wanted a regular puppy) plus fighting a whole horde of bigger and more dangerous monsters than ever before, Max is up against some real trouble - and that's before he finds out about the curse on his thirteenth birthday!

There's plenty of gore, monsters, and middle school hilarity, but the writing felt stiff and stilted to me. I was disappointed that, once again, girls and diverse characters are relegated to sidekicks and mentors, instead of being the main character.

Verdict: This didn't click for me, but most other reviewers (and Ms. Yingling) loved the mix of action and gore and I agree that it will probably be popular. It just wasn't for me.

ISBN: 9780451474797; Published 2015 by Viking/Penguin; Review copy provided by the publisher; Donated to the library

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