Tuesday, April 19, 2022

ARC Review: Shinji Takahashi and the Mark of the Coatl by Julie Kagawa

Shinji Takahashi and the Mark of the Coatl

Julie Kagawa
Series: The Society of Explorers and Adventurers (Book 1)
Publication: Disney-Hyperion (April 5, 2022)

Description: Shinji Takahashi and the Mark of the Coatl combines high-tech wizardry, old-world legends and a little bit of magic from the internationally renowned best-selling author, Julie Kagawa.

Shinji Takahashi is just an ordinary kid. An ordinary homeschooled smart-alecky orphan kid being raised by his globe-trotting aunt Yui. But when a magical guardian decides to use him as a conduit to awaken its power, Shinji’s life takes a turn for the anything-but-ordinary. Captured by the menacing Hightower Corporation, which is bent on using the guardian’s magic for its own nefarious purposes, Shinji must team up with a brilliant young tech whiz named Lucy and her robot mouse, Tinker, in order to escape.

Together the two turn to the venerable Society of Explorers and Adventurers and its ragtag cast of spelunkers, hackers, mapmakers, pilots, and mythology experts (among other things) to return the guardian to its rightful home and release Shinji from its magic―which seems to be draining his life force. Time is ticking, the Hightower Corporation is hot on their tail, and success or failure might depend on one small thing―Shinji finally coming around to the belief that he is anything but ordinary.

Based on the Society of Explorers and Adventurers lore that exist across the Walt Disney Parks, Shinji Takahashi and the Mark of the Coatl is the first book in an all-new action-adventure series that brings S.E.A. into the twenty-first century through a blend of science and magic, and a focus on two young characters on an epic journey through time and place.

My Thoughts: This was a great middle grade adventure! Shinji Takahashi has been traveling with his aunt since the death of his parents in a fire. She travels to find native arts and crafts for her shop in Miami. Thirteen-year-old Shinji would rather spend his time playing adventure video games.

One day he is given some money and told to find a treasure at a market in Abenge, near the Zambezi River, in Africa. He wanders into a shop he's never seen before and discovers a statuette of the Coatl which seems to be calling to him. He doesn't know that purchase will lead to great adventure.

Pursued by employees of the Hightower Corporation who want the figure, Shinji is kidnapped and threatened when he won't give the statue up. In fact, the statue has become a tattoo on his arm and he doesn't know how to give it up even if he wanted to. Aided by a girl named Lucy who is able to combine magic and technology, the two go off to find the Society of Explorers and Adventurers to help them find a way to get the Hightower Corporation off his back and get the statue back to its correct location.

There are lots of adventures as the explore jungles, almost fall through a swinging bridge over a bottomless canyon, and battle snake warriors and Hightower minions. The story has a strong environmental message about the need to save the Earth and preserve its wonders.

Fans of action and adventure will enjoy this fast-paced story.

I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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