Curse of the Ancients by Matt de la Pena

Gymnastics season has started, which means Miss Adventure and I have meets to drive to. I have the chance to carpool to a couple of the meets, but our first meet was 3.5 hours away and just the two of us in the car. Audiobooks to the rescue to keep me awake on that long drive home! I didn’t bother to get an audiobook myself because Miss Adventure had two on her device that we could listen to. I have listened to the first three books in the Infinity Ring series (although it’s been a while), so the fourth one was appropriate

Published: 2013

Genre: middle grade science fiction

Length: 192 pages

Setting: Mostly in a Mayan City, ~600 A.D.

Summary: Riq, Dak, and Sera have jumped to the latest breach in the timeline they need to fix. They’ve been sent so far back that there aren’t even any Hystorians in the New World. They figure out they need to save the correct Mayan codex, and not the one that says SQ will save the world from the coming apocalypse. In the first jump, they save the codex from being stolen by a rival city. Riq nearly convinces himself to stay behind and live with the Mayans. Instead, his stories convince a girl to become the first Hystorian in the New World. That’s helpful for their second jump a few hundred years later when they have to keep the codex safe from being burned by Jesuit priests trying to forcibly convert the Mayans.

Final thoughts: A fine enough story full of action, just don’t think too hard about the plot. It definitely falls into my personal category of “where are the adults?” Otherwise entitled “there’s no way kids would be able to do all that.” I enjoyed the setting, although de la Pena did not write a flattering account of how the Catholic church treated the Mayans. I do think SQ would have had a few more agents watching the creation of the codex that “predicted” their rule over the world. Destroying their underlying prophetic words would have a huge impact on the present the kids were from, I would think.

Sera’s glimpse of the future apocalypse was suitably terrifying (finding her dead parents floating in a flooded barn) that it makes this book not appropriate for young kids. Sensitive readers would probably have a hard time with the whole series because of the tension associated with “will they figure out the puzzle in time.” The whole series feels like a not-quite-as-good copy of the 39 Clues series, even down to the multiple authors for the series. The audio version of the book we listened to was well done and kept me awake the whole drive home, so overall it was a success.

Title comes from: The Mayan codex predicted the Curse of the Ancients. Too bad that codex was a fake, produced solely to emphasize the importance of the SQ.

Reading challenges fulfilled: #90 in my Maybe 100 This Year Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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