The Sunlit Ruins

An Old Gods Story

Narrated by Luzma Ortiz & Martin Martinez
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Pub Date 01 Nov 2023 | Archive Date 27 Jan 2024
Bandele Books, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Audiobooks

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Description

Ada and Miry didn’t mean to start a city-wide catastrophe.

Really, they didn’t.

But when a family trip goes awry, the two Mexican-American cousins from opposite sides of the border accidentally unleash an evil spirit from centuries past. The incident unlocks latent magical powers within the girls, who now have to figure out what’s going on.

Easier said than done.

The only things Ada and Miry know are that the spirit is tied to the pyramids of Teotihuacán, an ancient and abandoned civilization, and that there is only one organization that can help them. The Archivists of Teotihuacán.

With only a scant trail of clues to guide them, Ada and Miry must journey across Mexico City, uncover the origin of their powers, and try to reseal the spirit they’ve awoken.

But the hardest challenge of all?

Getting along with family.

Follow Ada and Miry on their adventure through Mexico and a hidden, fantastical world of magic based on the philosophy of the city of Teotihuacán.

Ada and Miry didn’t mean to start a city-wide catastrophe.

Really, they didn’t.

But when a family trip goes awry, the two Mexican-American cousins from opposite sides of the border accidentally unleash...


A Note From the Publisher

ISBN: 9781951905330 (eBook edition)

ISBN: 9781951905347 (Paperback edition)

ISBN: 9781951905354 (Hardback edition)

ISBN: 9781951905330 (eBook edition)

ISBN: 9781951905347 (Paperback edition)

ISBN: 9781951905354 (Hardback edition)


Available Editions

EDITION Audiobook, Unabridged
ISBN 9798868748882
PRICE $14.99 (USD)
DURATION 10 Hours, 23 Minutes, 41 Seconds

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (AUDIO)

Average rating from 107 members


Featured Reviews

I just finished this book, and I cannot recommend it enough. I’m pretty sure it’s a middle reader, so a little young dialogue wise for an adult lady, but I’d say it equal or slightly above early Harry Potter book’s vocabulary. Such a good story with great characters. I loved it!

It a story about embracing who you are, where you come from, and family. Also learning to just be you. It’s kinda sad, but optimistically so. We follow two 15 yo girls and their college age cousin as the three deal with a wild adventure and some twist and turns along the way.

It deals with survivors guilt, family tragedy, and issues of safety for young girls. All of these are done with amazing insight and discretion, letting a kid connect with them but not over explaining if it is something they have not experienced. The emotion of the situations are conveyed so beautifully.

Great book, can’t wait for the next one!

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This audiobook blew me away first and foremost. The attention to detail. The background SOUNDS! It made me feel like I was in that jungle in the ruins with Ada and Miry.
Highly recommend the audiobook.
So the story..
This is a book about adventure, being mixed race and finding yourself in your culture. It is so easy to get lost and it's also so easy to blame yourself. Ada is finding her culture again in Mexico City and the wonderous world of Teotihuacán. And she's not only finding herself but also her family.
This book is so family oriented, I felt apart of her cousins. The teasing and how family always stick together even when you don't like eavh other.

It's only 4 starts because in the beginning it felt like a lot info dump and I struggled to get into the book. But I stuck through and it was worth it.

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Thank you to netgalley and Bandele Books, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Audiobooks for an arc in exchange for my honest opinion. This book was so good. I enjoyed the adventure these characters went on.

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Ada and Miry are so different even though they are related. It shows how even in the Latine community, colorism and hair is a struggle like I’m the Black community.

Funny how all their problems started after taking a picture. Then they have these powers all of a sudden and they come when they needed them the most.

Their relationship transformed a lot over the course of this book, which proves that even in times of immense danger, putting your differences aside can save your life and those of others.

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I enjoyed the story of the book and how it was told by people who had been connected to the culture, the dynamic between the two girls reminded me of myself and my cousin who is the same age as me. We also could not be any more opposite but share a true bond. I also enjoy how the book had extra sounds and special effects to truly bring the listening experience to a new level

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An engaging, funny, emotional story about familial bonds, pursuing the sense of belonging within one's culture, and uncovering long buried histories. The audiobook is dynamic and interactive with sound effects, music, and layered voices throughout. The story tactfully addresses self-acceptance for biracial children as well as trauma and assault recovery. With characters so young, the topic was handled gently while still conveying the lasting impact of trauma like Miri's. This is a great middle grade mythology read, and the audiobook really brings the story to life. Readers will connect with Ada and Miri in whatever format they read, but the audio version creates an immersive experience that lends itself to deeper connection to the story for young readers.

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First let me say as a fan of Antoine Bandele it was great to see the universe of his expand and grow. The audiobook for this was well done with sound effects and great narrators that brought the characters to life as if I were experiencing them in real life. I quickly found myself engrossed in the life of the two girls and often ran back to listen and rejoin their world to watch the story unwind

I especially enjoyed the link to history and culture of the girls as they both remembered their heritage and experienced how hard it can be to both grow up with or without and American foundation. I cannot wait for the next adventure!
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Ada and Miry didn’t mean to start a city-wide catastrophe.

Really, they didn’t.

But when a family trip goes awry, the two Mexican-American cousins from opposite sides of the border accidentally unleash an evil spirit from centuries past. The incident unlocks latent magical powers within the girls, who now have to figure out what’s going on.

Easier said than done.

The only things Ada and Miry know are that the spirit is tied to the pyramids of Teotihuacán, an ancient and abandoned civilization, and that there is only one organization that can help them. The Archivists of Teotihuacán.

With only a scant trail of clues to guide them, Ada and Miry must journey across Mexico City, uncover the origin of their powers, and try to reseal the spirit they’ve awoken.

But the hardest challenge of all?

Getting along with family.

Follow Ada and Miry on their adventure through Mexico and a hidden, fantastical world of magic based on the philosophy of the city of Teotihuacán.

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In writing this book, Andrea Septién did a fabulous job of blending modern-day Mexico City with the ancient stories of this part of the world. The way the story was told, you could tell that Mexico City is a bustling, globalized city just like any other large city readers would have been to. However, the adventure Ada and Miry find themselves on after having unlocked the magical powers from Teotihuacán helps them learn the importance of ancient civilizations.

As the two distant cousins worked explored the city, learned about ancient deities and discovered the origins of the powers that had been bestowed upon them, we see them grow closer than they’ve ever been. With one cousin in the US and the other in Mexico, they’d always felt divided by their cultural differences. I loved that their growing relationship was a storyline that you didn’t realize was happening over the course of the story, but was evident at the end.

I am a high school teacher looking to diversity my classroom library and will definitely be adding this title (and the second book when it’s out!).

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Disclaimer: I received this audiobook from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Miri (Miranda) and Ada (Guadalupe) are 15-year-old cousins. Miri was born in Mexico and Ada was born in the US on the same day. At the same time. They were very close when they were younger but after some time they started to grow apart and now all they do is fight when they're together.
Ada comes to visit over the summer with her family and something mysterious happens. They get transported through a portal to the ancient city of Teotihuacan while visiting the ruins. Thus setting off a series of events that can end the world. Can they get over their differences and make it before the world is destroyed?

Narrated by: Luzma Ortiz and Martin Martinez
Ortiz does a wonderful job at distinguishing between characters. I can always tell when Ada and Miri are talking because Ada's voice is higher and has an accent when she speaks Spanish. I also really like that she was able to switch so easily between the languages. It made it very realistic. (I do this a lot.) The audio was immersive and fast-paced. The added sounds of busses the city people talking and Pum-eagles (Puma with eagle wings [ Puma Alado ] ) roaring really gave a surreal feeling to the story.

This story is very fast-paced and I had trouble putting it down to go to sleep. There are very emotional moments and a few trigger warnings (below). Ortiz did great at expressing emotion and made me cry twice. I like that the characters complain about each other but they can also see each other's strength.

Trigger Warnings:
Sexual Assault (Groping)
Death
Chronic Illness
Bullying

Overall this was a wonderful debut novel and I can't wait for book 2.
There is a prequel that I am going to read next, it is a short novella.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Bandele Books for the opportunity to listen to the Audiobook ARC of The Sunlit Ruins: An Old Gods Story by Andrea Septién. All opinions are my own.

This story was captivating from start to finish. I immediately felt pulled in by the combination of folklore and very real family dynamics. The adventure and plot twists kept me invested even when there were moments that felt slower than I expected. That balance between tense action-packed scenes with funny or emotional interactions between the characters was top notch. I had to know what would happen next and if Ada and Miry would make it out okay.

While this is targeted toward younger readers, so the dialogue and general story is at that reading level, I’m 30 and found it enjoyable. The nature of Ada and Miry’s relationship and the process of healing that bond while handling their own personal troubles felt very authentic. The author masterfully approached tough topics such as colorism, cultural identity, and dangerous adults honestly and in a way that young readers can relate to and understand.

The audiobook’s use of sound effects makes it unique. Sound effects sometimes take me out of the story a bit, but the producers did a great job with timing and frequency so that it was not as disruptive. The dual narrators to represent each POV was a fantastic addition as well.

This book is perfect for readers who want an action-packed magical adventure but also are looking for an extra layer of depth that comes with complex family relationships and true to life experiences for Latine individuals and women alike.

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The Sunlit Ruins is a fun twist on the gods affect the human world trope ah la Percy Jackson. Although this story is square in teen territory, as opposed to middle grade.

The story follows two Mexican-American cousins, Ada and Miry, who have become so different as teenagers they can’t remember how they were so close as kids. Their tension keeps up as they make their way across Mexico City trying to use their newfound godly powers to stop a terrible power from destroying the city. With the help of their older cousin and a group of mysterious magic users, Ada and Miry will have to work together to have any hope of succeeding.

The way the powers manifest in this story are surprisingly unique and discovering them along with the girls is fun. The gods of this story are also presented in an intriguing way and I liked their interpretation. Plus, the use of ancient Mexican cultures as a base is cool.

I also appreciated the way Ada and Miry are both developing into themselves and how their life experiences affect their choices. As a side note, I also think it’s funny that they use their older cousin’s good kid status to basically have their parents ask zero questions. It’s a clever way to have family included without pulling them all into the adventure.

The audiobook has solid narration and includes extra sounds to highlight new scenes. It’s worth a read for anyone looking for a fun summer adventure.

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I was drawn into The Sunlit Ruins by the cover of the two protagonists in front of a Teotihuacán pyramid in Mexico. And I have to say this was an enjoyable adventure to go on as the cousins discover the magical side of the ancient Teotihuacán culture. I was so happy I gave this book a chance.

We follow cousins Ada and Miry (which I thought were spelled different based on how it's pronounced), both born on the same day as an ordinary trip to the Teotihuacán pyramids turn into a fight for their lives, and forced to discover the depths of their newly awakened magic tied into the Teotihuacán culture before disaster strikes.

Along with that, the girls explore their fractured relationship and their place in their culture as both Mexican and Americans, being mixed heritage. The interjection of Mexican culture was done well, and relates to the characters culture clash, as well as how it helped with character growth. I enjoyed getting to know these two as they are forced to work together through the adventure, deal with comparison traps, as well as how they contrast with each other, which is always a fun dynamic to read about. The other characters the two encounter were also fun to learn about and were fleshed out, especially older cousin Fernando. I love the bonds of family that's pervasive throughout. Small heads up, there's mentions of a bad touch moment in one character's past.

The world building was done well, both with current day Mexico City and the Teotihuacán culture. I felt like I was there most of the time and immersed in the magic and lore of the ancient culture, and it's link to the current day. The story was engaging from start to end and it didn't feel like there was a lot of drag to the story. For the most part, the pacing was great, with a few twists to keep things going. There was a bit of an info dump when things are being explained, but it's not super bad.

I listened to the audiobook, which was easy on the ears. Though the two main ladies voices sounded very similar that at times I thought it was the same person, so it was a minor issue, but not too bad, considering they are a sense twin cousins (it makes sense). I do like that the presentation steps it up a notch with sound effects for scene transitions and other events throughout that made it feel like an audio drama.

The ending was quite interesting and I can't wait to see how everything is wrapped up in the second half of the duology. This is a fun read for YA readers looking for something with a Percy Jackson vibe that can't be missed.

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If you loved the Percy Jackson books, you'll love this book.
Our main characters are two 15 year old cousins who race to save the city from an ancient evil, while figuring out their identity as a person and connecting with their roots.
It's premise of Mexican mythology makes it a very interesting read.
Overall I loved this book.
PS: Both of them are BTS army!

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I really liked this little inter connected series, I may have to check out the original !✨

I enjoyed all the action, and the magic system created in this book✨

All the monsters ( Puma-eagle, giant spiders, Mayan gods) were very refreshing side of fantasy creatures ✨

The resolution, and character growth in this book was my favorite part✨

Definitely gonna have to check out the first series that lead to this book ✨

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I got an eArc for the audiobook on Netgalley, and I really need to say as someone who hates audiobooks, THAT WAS AMAZING! OMG, Luzma Ortiz narration was perfect and all the sound design, it was incredible, you could hear the streets, the jungle, steps of people walking, it was so good and it helped alot to get into the story and now I kinda wanna hear more audiobooks like this.
But for the story, I love it and it was perfect, I already read most of Bandele's books from the TJ Young series and was really interested in the shared universe, the choice is kinda interesting, it's not exactly "Aztec/Nahua cosmologies", but cosmologies of Teotihuacan, the people that were living in the region before the Aztecs, althought there was some sincretisms, similar to how the romans adopted greek gods. One of my nitpickings with many "mexican folkore" books is that they always treat indigenous people (specially nahua and mayans) as something of the past when having books talking about their cultures, so at first I was bothered with the deities talking about the aztecs in the past tense, but that's because they come from way before them and this whole thing of they remember what humanity remembers and since humanity forgot her name, she also forgot too or even the whole identity crisis of Quetzalcoatl with him being the most famous deity and having way too many forms, because humanity keeps adding to his mith is kinda interesting, the series do have some Percy Jackson influence even if they aren't demigods.
Also is a small thing but I like that contrary to most "mexican mithology books" they actually discuss and acknowledge that THOSE ARE NOT GODS, they are deities, the book itself says it Quetzalcoatl wasn't the god of the light, he is light itself. This is one thing that I see alot of books get wrong, trying to take indigenous believes and write them using an eurocentric view, making them be similar to greek gods, one of the things that I loved so much about TJ Young from Bandele was that he actually took the effort to understand how being a son of Orixa works, doesn't mean that they are your biological father but it's more like a spiritual connection, I love that he just didn't take the Percy Jackson gods and added a "Yoruba Skin" ignoring how rich it all is and this book also had the same effort, of not comparing them to the eurocentric compect of gods and pantheons but actually presenting them as cosmologies, the only characthers that treat them as gods, are the villains who don't understand how exactly it should work.
About the main characthers, I kinda love them, I'm brazilian (born in Brazil) but I do speak spanish and I'm familiar with some parts of mexican culture, the spanish parts were not hard at all and it's interesting seeing how they identity works, they're both mexican american, with Ada having both mexican parents but growing up in the USA and Mini having an american dad but growing up in Mexico (also, wouldn't that make her American Mexican instead of Mexican American?) also I love the scene of Ada screaming fucking gringa to Mini, it was so petty LOL. Yes, both of you are and that's okay, just accept it. They bickering never get's annoying and is really interesting this thing of they both wanting to be like the other or not feeling "mexican enough" while Fer is just there having to stand both of them fighting, Fer is also such a interesting characther, I hope we get more of him in book two.
There is so much more in this book, I loved this journey and it was right up on my alley, I need to read more stories like this, most of it was pretty funny and lightharted but there were some serious moments, a huge CONTENT WARNING/TRIGGER WARNING for death, grief, bullying SA (Groping) and stalking

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This was a really fun audio adventure and one of my top fav. I loved the sound effects, music, and the narrator did a really good job with the voices for the characters. I will definitely be looking forward to the next book in the series to continue the story of family secrets, adventures through portals, and learning more about the family ties to ruins. I definitely recommend the audiobook version of this book.

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This book was an exciting and action packed ride. I loved the themes of family and finding onesself both as a person and also as part of a family. I also like that this book was able to surprise me several times with character/ plot reveals that I didn't even see coming.

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“Sunlit Ruins" by Andrea Septièn is an outstanding YA book, drawing striking parallels to the beloved Percy Jackson series. The narrative's swift pace, fueled by intense action, at times posed a challenge to keep up with, but this very dynamism contributed to a quicker, exhilarating read.

Tailored for young adults aged 15-20, the audiobook version enhances the experience. The narrator skillfully conveys emotions, immersing listeners in the excitement, worry, and more. The audio quality is exceptional, with clear narration and delightful sound effects that vividly illustrate the unfolding events.

While the rapid world-building at the story's onset may momentarily confuse readers about characters and details, the character development shines, particularly between the two main protagonists—15-year-old Mexican/American girls navigating their newfound powers.

I highly recommend "Sunlit Ruins" to those seeking a fast-paced, accessible read, especially newcomers to YA fantasy. The use of short chapters adds to the book's pace, offering a refreshing brevity for those averse to lengthy chapters. The narrative unfolds with captivating twists and turns, providing an enjoyable exploration of the girls' powers and their origin. This book is a delightful journey for readers of all levels, promising excitement and discovery from start to finish.

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This was an entertaining listen. I liked all of the extra background sounds used to enhance the listening experience, they were spot on. I listened to it with my niece and we had an interesting discussion. Noticing how both girls actually felt the same way about each other. They both felt inferior to the other, both had adverse feelings toward being Mexican-Americans just on different ends. An honest look at how we can be the same but different and how are differences, when combined, can allow us to win over any adversity. My niece REALLY enjoyed it!

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First off, I want to say that whoever did the Audiobook for this book did a wonderful job with the voices, sounds and music that plays bringing this story to life as you listen.

The story itself is a really great story about a couple girls who are Mexican American cousins, one who grew up in America while the other grew up in Mexico. It follows them as they struggle with their insecurities and jealousy of each other.

This is a great story for Teenagers who are trying to figure themselves out especially for thoughts who are mixed and struggle with the way society and they view themselves based on how others treat them. This had a great mix of Magic and teenage struggles. Would definitely suggest this for young and even older teenagers.

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The audiobook is absolutely amazing! There are just the right amount of background noises to really make me feel like I was in Mexico City. Ada and Miry are wonderful. They learn and grow as people, but also with their powers as well. The solution to the problem is not easy and I thought that the solution was very well done. I love the way the author used the mythology of central Mexico! It wasn't trying to teach about the mythology. It was a story using the mythology. I can't wait until book two to see what happens next with Ada and Miry.
If you have ever been to central Mexico, read this book. If you would like to know more about central Mexico, read this book. If you like learning about lesser known mythologies, read this book.

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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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