Cover Image: The Sunlit Ruins

The Sunlit Ruins

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Member Reviews

What a fun audiobook this was! I loved all the sound effects it had in the beginning of the chapters. If you are a fan of the Kane Chronicles this book is right up your alley. Mexican American cousins Ada and Miry are the complete opposites of each other. During a family trip they accidentally resurrect a family curse and their lives get turned upside down. On top of that they pretty much don't get along at all and are always jealous of each other. They travel though Mexico City this their other cousin who seems like he is the mediator between them, but who is also hiding something. To discover their power's origins they meet with different old gods, but can they help them save the world? I can't wait to continue the adventure with these two cousins!

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This was a really neat topic, similar to other mythology stories in the YA/middle grade fantasy genre but still unique! It did fall into some cliche tropes at time with dialogue choices and character personalities. But I found the family dynamic and learning about the ancient gods of Mexico City interesting enough to keep me listening. A well put together audiobook production as well.

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This story follows Ada and Miry who are two Mexican American cousins, one was raised in America, the other in Mexico. One day the family trip to the pyramids of Teotihuacán in Mexico city goes wrong and they accidentally end up releasing an evil spirit from centuries ago, gaining powers of their own along the way. Their only clue is guiding them to the organization called Archivists that supposedly could help them. Now they are stuck together with each other to figure out the mess they’ve made and try to get along.

I read this as an audiobook: the narration was good and easy to follow, and it was accompanied by a lot of sound effects and background noises, which I think were kind of cool because it helped to fall into this Mexico environment better.

This middle-grade fantasy was pretty rich in ancient prophecies, Hispanic mythology, girl power, empowerment and family drama. These themes were subtly intertwined with the main plot, which made it a very positive and uplifting read. The book had a great exploration of family dynamics, particularly between two cousins and added a great depth to their characters. Their journey revolved around not only beating the evil spirit, but also understanding and appreciating each other. The story was also fun to read because of all the action scenes and battles with the gods and some pretty remarkable animals and monsters, like Pum-eagles and huge spiders.

This was the third book that had remarks on BTS that I read, and my heart is happy that they get the recognition they deserve. Both Miry and Ada were real ARMYs and there were a lot of references about Suga and Jimin.

The thing that I didn’t enjoy as much as I wanted was the constant switching between English and Spanish languages. At first, I kind of liked it but as the story went on it started to irritate me, because I think it was a bit too heavy on that. There were rarely any translations, so I didn’t understand a lot of it, even though I know a bit of Spanish.

This book is a YA fantasy, but this was the first time while reading this genre when the book felt really teeny-like. Usually, I totally forget about the MC’s age and just delve into it. In this case, I couldn’t shake the knowledge that they are fifteen years old, because they acted like teens (as they probably should). There is also no romance involved, so the main conflict is among the family members.

I didn’t love this book, but I also didn’t hate it. While it wasn’t for my age gap, the book was really fun to listen to, so definitely recommend, but maybe for a bit younger audience.

I am really thankful to NetGalley and the Bandele Books publisher for providing me with this book to read in exchange for an honest review.

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I want to thank NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book.

I got the audiobook version of this book and I have to say OMG it was amazing the narrator really brought the book and characters to life. The story was full of many different aspects to keep a young reader interested . Humor, adventure, culture. family family ties just all around very unique. I feel that there are not a lot of stories about Hispanic mythology.

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I took so long to finally listen to this audiobook and I loved it.
The story the plot the vibe of the book are epic. I love these kinds of stories that are set in ancient ruins and treasures.
5 stars from me.

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The story was very fast paced and I found that the narration switches were not always apparent in the audiobook. I think readers of Percy Jackson and other myth-adjacent action adventure stories will enjoy this one!

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I was given the opportunity to read this book via Net Galley. I really enjoyed this story. The narrator did a good job and was energetic and engaging. The plot was interesting and relatable. I wasn't sure how I would like the story. I found myself pulled into the story and the plot. There were times I wanted to take the two girls who are preteenagers/teenagers and shake them. the surrounding cast of characters were strong and interesting. I liked the portrayal of the Gods and I think preteens/teenagers will enjoy the book. I have found myself telling people about this book who normally wouldn't read this type of book.

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Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC! First off….The audiobook narrator is AMAZING! She literally brings the magic in Andrea’s story off the pages and into your imagination. The half rivalry half love relationship between cousins Ada & Miry is so common and I loved being able to relate to it. Andrea easily put our feelings into words. I’m gonna be honest, I thought their powers were a bit odd lol but the storyline was still smooth and kept me interested. Can’t wait for a sequel!

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Really interesting dynamic; two young cousins tapping into an ancient power source in order to protect the world.

I liked a lot of this book, unfortunately I thought the characters were too similar to be distinct. I found their drama a bit forced to read. The narration was good, well paced and tone matched the text well.

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I loved the story and the relationship building between the cousins are they discover their heritance and powers.

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Unfortunately I was not able to finish this book before the Archival date however, I did listen to the first portion of the book and absolutely loved the premise of two young cousins united by their bloodline but having been separated by their birth place coming together in the ancient land of their ancestors. The story had a great premise and as an audiobook the production quality of this book was truly a masterpiece!

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Well performed audiobook! The story line was interesting with well written characters. I enjoyed the cultural representation and the struggles with balancing the various aspects discerning who one is against sociocultural norms,

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Actual Rating 2.5

TW: Stalking, Bullying

Ada and Miry go on a family trip to an ancient ruin and accidentally end up starting what promises to become a city-wide catastrophe. This triggers hidden powers in the cousins, ones they struggle to understand as they struggle to get along. The only thing they know for sure is that everything is tied to the ancient ruins of Teotihuacán, and that they must race against time to find answers before Mexico City comes under threat.

This story is told from the dual POV of two cousins, one who identified as American and the other who identified as Mexican. While it is part of a larger collection of books (The Old Gods world), you can read this book without having read any of the others.

My favorite part of this book was the history and lore surrounding Teotihuacán and the magical realism aspects. The magic was a lovely addition, and I liked how well it was tied into the history and lore of the country. The balance of the magic, the consequences of using it, and the girls trying to figure out the limits and source of their powers added fascinating aspects to the story.

There were a few aspects I didn’t care for. This book was all about keeping secrets from parents and those older/wiser than the protagonists. It’s not a good message to reinforce in fiction, and I dislike how often it shows up in YA books. The other thing was that the jealousy and rivalry between the cousins became frustrating. It was painfully repetitive, with both cousins saying almost exactly the same thing in the chapters from their POV. Their arguing was just as painfully annoying, and all of this lasted until over halfway through the book – it detracted from the plot and my enjoyment significantly. Thankfully it likely won’t be an issue in the future books since it was resolved in this one.

This one almost read a bit more like a MG read based on the writing aside from the amount of swearing and the TW themes (there’s a significant of swearing, which I found unnecessary and odd). This made it feel a bit awkward overall and like it might not quite satisfy any audience. I love the concept of this book, but it just didn’t deliver the way I hoped it would. My thanks to NetGalley and Bandele Books for allowing me to read this work. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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The sunlit ruins, written by Andrea Septién is a wonderful story, playing in modern day Mexico city, entwined with century old magic, Teotihuacán, and deities.
The story focuses on two cousins Ada and Miry who cannot stand each other, trying to save the city, whilst trying to figure out their powers.
I loved the story, the relationship between the cousins and how they evolved, faced with identity problems, magic and danger.
I enjoyed not having the greek pantheon, wich so many books feature nowadays, but diving into the world of Teotihuacán. I have to admit I learned a lot, as I hadn’t really stumbled upon these deities before.
The magic system is super interesting and I enjoyed learning more about the magic together with our Main Characters.
And the ending of the book was so good, but it still leaves me wanting more, I want to explore the world further. It felt as if the book had only scratched the surface, intriguing me.
However I wasn’t to fond of the use of spanish, I don’t understand spanish that well, but that made me relate to Ada, who also doesn’t know spanish.
I read this book as an audiobook. The narrator has a captivating voice and manages to show each character differently, especially with the use of accents.
But I did have some issues with the audiobook, there were a lot of sound effects in between. I understand that many people enjoy that, however I did not. Rather I was constantly sucked out of the book into reality and it was difficult to stay in the flow in the story.
Considering all the points i mentioned I would give the audiobook 3,25 stars, personally I would have probably rated it higher if I had read it as I absolutely love the story, I just had a big issue with the sound effects.

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I love stories combining culture and mythology and magic, so this was a super fun and interesting YA fantasy read. The audiobook narration was phenomenal with music and sound effects. Sometimes the writing felt a little too juvenile for me, but not enough to put me off. I look forward to reading more about this universe in future books of this series.


Thank you Netgalley for providing a digital ARC.

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I didn't get a chance to download this, but recently bought it on Amazon!

The Sunlit Ruins is a fun twist on the gods, a fast-paced book about a girl and her cousin who accidentally cause a disaster. They were constantly arguing but it was seriously so funny. I love how they randomly gain powers and have no idea how or why they have them.

I found this book so entertaining and I can't wait for more!!!

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4.5 Stars

What Ada and Miry, two Mexican-American cousins, thought would be just another summer in Mexico with their families, turns out to be the start of an adventure they could never have imagined.

Ada and Miry must overcome their differences to work together to uncover the mysteries behind Teotihucán and the learn who the Archivists are.

Narrators Luzma Ortiz and Martin Martinez did a really wonderful job at bringing this story to life. The audio is full of music and effects that help provide depth and make this story very enjoyable to listen to. This makes the Sunlit Ruins a very quick fast paced read.

I really enjoyed how well put together both the book and audio were.

That being said I do have a few minor elements I had did not enjoy. Parts of the story where Ada or Miry was upset or complaining came off as very winey and somewhat annoying. This did not take way from the story but was something I noticed.

Due to the narrator being the same for both Ada and Miry it was sometimes hard for me to tell who’s POV we were in. This wasn’t a major problem but I do feel like two different narrators might have helped bring out more of the differences in their tones.

Overall the narration and the writing was very well done and extremely enjoyable. The further you get in the story, the more everything picks up due to how well the pace of the writing and the narration are matched.

I really enjoyed the mythology and am glad to have had a chance to read this story about the deities of Teotihucán, which I had not read about until now.

I personally enjoyed the Sunlit Ruins a great amount for I am a huge fan of stories involving mythology. I think that if you, like I, enjoy books like Percy Jackson, then the humor, mythos, and energy of this book will really speak to you.

I cannot wait to read more from this world and the author.

Thank you to Bandele Books, NetGalley, and the author for an ALC for my honest review.

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To start, the narrator for this audiobook has a wonderful voice for story telling. I really appreciated the enthusiasm and emotion she brought to the story, but the sound effects were so loud and distracting it detracts from the story. In theory, sound effects seem fun and I've read some books that have done an excellent job at putting it in subtly. But this is definitely a case of being too heavy handed.
Overall the story was entertaining. I can definitely see this as a story I would have loved to read in middle school but it's a bit juvenile for me now. I was very excited to give this book a go as I am also someone of mixed heritage and I love reading modern adaptations of mythology such as The Sunbearer Trials, Percy Jackson, etc.
However, I wish the book would take its audience more seriously. I feel like the best kind of YA book is one that can be enjoyed regardless of age. And I say this as one who still re reads favorites from my childhood on a regular basis. I feel like if a plot has to be spoon fed to the reader with certain tropes being rehashed over and over again it starts to be something too noticable to an older audience.
The bickering of the two main characters got a bit excessive at times but the world building and core messages were still good enough that I would recommend this book to younger readers.

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Thank you NetGalley and publishers for an advanced audiobook of this title in return for an honest and unbiased review.

Middle-grade fantasy, family first, Mexican ancient ruins, and mythical beasts - oh my!

I had fun with this book and enjoyed the sound effects that were included. I can see how someone of this age group would LOVE this audiobook and would recommend!

Content Warning: death/murder of animal/creature

4 stars

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What a delightful book. This was probably one of the best book narrations I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. Luzma Ortiz absolutely NAILED it with her amazing and talented voice. Ortiz did a phenomenal job expressing emotion throughout the story. There were also sound effects, which I LOVE in audiobooks.

This story was fast-paced and full of action. It was a true journey. There were moments that were funny, moments that were emotional, and moments that made my breath catch. While geared towards a young adult audience, I truly enjoyed this novel as a grown woman. It was such a relatable story that had me captivated from the beginning to the end. Well done!

Thank you NetGalley and Bandele Books for an ALC in exchange for my honest and voluntary review.

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