Book reviews: Mister Max: The Book of Kings, by Cynthia Voigt, illustrated by Iacopo Bruno

Voigt, Cynthia. Mister Max: The Book of Kings. Illus. Iacopo Bruno. Knopf. 2015. $16.99. 338p. 978-0-307-97687-1. Ages 10-14. P8Q9

Voigt Book of KingsVoigt finishes her trilogy that began with The Book of Lost Things when protagonist, 12-year-old Max Starling, on a trip to the fictional South American country of Andesia to rescue his parents who have been held captive as the king and queen of the country. Those who read the first two books know that Max survived being alone after the capture of Mary and William Starling by living next to his grandmother and taking jobs as “The Solutioneer,” solving small mysteries. Cleverly persuading his king to send a diplomatic embassy to Andesia, Max takes his grandmother, tutor, friend businessman, and two young men acting as servants on the journey that takes them on both and land sea, in an increasingly arduous expedition. His plans don’t always work the way he wishes as his father has different ideas of how all of the troupe can escape impoverished, corrupt Andesia, but the dangerous adventures are always satisfying. Full-page black-and-white illustrations expand the understanding of the characters and setting. The threads winding throughout the plots of the three books are all nicely wound up, but the ending leaves room for more stories about Max. Newbery Medal and Margaret Edwards Award winner Voigt has been delighting young readers for 25 years, beginning with Homecoming, the first in the Tillerman cycle.

October/November 2015 review by Nel Ward.


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