Wade Watts meets Percy Jackson in this debut middle grade novel. I was thrilled to receive this as an ARC as I knew it was a must-read for the fantasy genre after reading the synopsis and I was not disappointed!
Zach is a realistic and relatable young main character as he navigates the challenges of youth which he sometimes feels are made more complicated by his Chinese heritage. Raised in the US, Zach gets a crash course in Chinese mythology after an attempted possession by an ancient emperor goes awry and the result is a refreshing take on a myth inspired story. Zach’s unique perspective makes it easy to follow his adventures as the author weaves the explanations of the Chinese history into the tale without slowing down the the overall story.
Along with the mythological elements, I also enjoyed Zach’s character development as he goes from insecure to embracing who he is and wanting to find genuine friends who accept him for who he is. Zach’s squad also experiences character growth when they finally begin to respect one another by the book’s end.
Well written with non-stop action that educates the reader while giving us a diverse main character that is much needed in not only middle grade fiction but in fantasy fiction in general, I can’t wait to follow Zach’s quest in the next book in this oh-so-fun series!