Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Magnificent 12: The Call

By Michael Grant
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Copyright © 2010

Mack is afraid of all the wrong things. He has phobias of things that he would rarely, if ever, be forced to encounter, but the things he deals with everyday, like bullies, don’t seem to faze him. But thanks to having some “enlightened puissance,” which he is unaware he possesses, he is going to meet scarier bullies than he has ever met in his young life.

In “The Call,” the first book in this series, Mack finds out that he is a new member of an old order called the 12 Magnifica. The old order of 12 Magnifica have been dead for a long time, save for Grimluk the lone survivor.  Some died in the Battle with the Pale Queen whom they imprisoned in the earth for 3,000 years,  others died in search of the Pale Queen’s Daughter, and still others just died of old age. Grimluk alone has been preserved alive so as to be able to summon 12 more Magnifica when the Queen’s imprisonment is over.

Unfortunately for Mack he is the new leader of the 12 Magnifica, and the task before him is to find the other 11. Stefan, his former bully and current body guard, will help him get to Australia’s Outback where he will meet the second Magnifica and have his first real show down with Princess Eriskigal.

While it seems he is trying too hard at times, the author achieves a moderate level of humor. I found some of the texts of his Golem doppelganger (who happens to made of clay if you didn’t know) to by quite funny – especially this one:

“Dear Mack,
It seems a stomach alone is not enough. You can’t just put food in, all the time. Anyway, mine became too full and I needed a way to get the food out of my body. Dad’s power drill was very useful, much better than a spoon.
Your friend,

I also found the back story of Grimluk and the original 12 Magnifica to be necessary, but the continuous back and forth between the present and the past every other chapter is not my favorite way to get it, at least not in this story.

However, I love that this series will seemingly navigate the globe in search of Mack’s 11 companions, providing children with just a tiny geography and culture lesson as he did in this first book writing about Uluru, or Ayer’s Rock, in Australia.

Overall Michael Grant’s story is fast paced, funny, and smart. (You have to be smart to write stupid. You’ll see what I mean.) Mack is just the kind of kid we all root for. Much to my chagrin I have been sucked in, and now I must read the second book in this series to find out who and what they will find in China.

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