The Storm Runner
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents, Disney Hyperion
Zane enjoys spending time exploring his backyard, the New Mexican desert, but when a plane crashes into a local volcano, a series of unbelievable events unfurl. Mayan prophecy states Zane is destined to release Ah-Puch, the god of death, from a 1,000-year entrapment. As Zane learns about his father and his noble Mayan heritage, he is filled with pride and fear.
Zane travels to ephemeral lands to defeat Ah-Puch, along with Brooks, who morphs between girl and hawk. When Zane’s dog Rosie is attacked by demons, however, he makes a sacrifice to protect those he loves, giving Ah-Puch the upper hand.
Persevering, Zane and Brooks survive perils including an enchanted basketball duel, helped by an energy-drink-guzzling giant. To battle Ah-Puch, though, Zane turns to the Great Mayan gods for guidance and his cane becomes his lethal weapon, not an impediment.
A story with a self-doubting, limping hero and with a single parent will be a welcome read for young people who also feel different and face their own challenges. The Storm Runner is a great introduction to Mayan mythology, but the adventure story is the main draw to this book, with a self-deprecating hero, modern humour, and excitement to the bitter end.