The stunning adventure continues in the second book of the Shadow Bruja series. I fell in love with Renata in the first book and my love for her grew even more in this. Highly recommend this to all fantasy readers.
"Dawn of the Jaguar" by JC Cervantes is a captivating and action-packed adventure that will surely engage young readers. As a teacher, I appreciate the author's ability to seamlessly weave elements of Mayan mythology into a modern-day setting, making it both entertaining and informative.
Readers encounter Ren, the story's primary protagonist, shortly after her death at the end of "The Lords of Night." This sequel takes readers on a fast-paced journey where Ren tries not only to win back her life, but save the lives of her friends (and the world as we know it).
Cervantes skillfully incorporates themes of friendship, courage, and self-discovery, providing valuable life lessons for young readers. Overall, "Dawn of the Jaguar" is a fantastic addition to any classroom library, offering an exciting and culturally rich reading experience.
This was a good ending for the duology, although the overall situation is left in such a way that the author could do another offshoot if she wanted to. But this story was resolved in a very satisfying way. You absolutely should read the first book before you read this one as the first ends in a cliffhanger. I'm going to try keeping this spoiler free in case someone reads this review before reading the first book.
It's been a year since I read the first book, so at first, I didn't remember how the first book ended and I had to try remembering who all the characters were. But the author does a good job of jogging your memory and it wasn't long before I was drawn back into Ren's world. Ren begins the story without her shadow bruja powers (Aztec powers), nor her time rope (Mayan powers). I love how the author draws from both mythologies/cultures and incorporates them into Ren's story. In order to get out of her situation at the beginning, she needs to agree to a quest, which means she needs to find her friends and convince them to help her. She also needs to tap into her true self, something we don't learn until this book. But I absolutely love what she discovers about herself. As in the first book, besides Ren, my favorite characters in this story are Edison and Ah-Puch. There were some fun discoveries revealed at the end, which was very satisfying.
I also like how Ren's relationship with her mom (we learn about her in the first book) is pretty complicated, and it always makes me laugh when Ren gets mad at her for being oh so helpful (not!) because it's such a normal reaction between a mother and daughter. But despite her frustration, you can feel a real connection between them and the ending seems to imply that that relationship can continue growing. I am hoping that perhaps the author will do another offshoot in this universe but Ren will continue to be a part, so that we can get more glimpses into her life and relationships.
Overall, this was a very satisfying ending and a worthy finale to the Shadow Bruja duology.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and the publishers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Dawn of the Jaguar is book two in the Shadow Bruja set, following the first book, The Lords of Night, which is itself an offshoot of The Storm Runner series. Dawn of the Jaguar picks up where the first volume leaves off, with Renata (Ren) Santiago, a godborn, the child of the Mayan goddess Pacific, as well as a shadow bruja, a mage with power over shadows. Ren is trying to escape the land of the dead (not a spoiler; this is where the story starts) and save her friends, an endeavor which requires her to negotiate with a variety of deities from both pantheons - beginning with Ixtab, the Maya goddess of those who die a violent death, who offers to release Ren from the land of the dead if she retrieves the broken and lost crown of jade and shadow, and return it to the gods. Oh, and marry the Prince Lord (another god) as part of the bargain.
Reading The Storm Runner series is not necessary to enjoy this novel, but readers who haven't read The Lords of Night may be confused, as this sequel assumes familiarity with the characters and events of the first book. As in the first volume, Ren is fiercely loyal to her friends, and will do anything she can to save them - even risk being married forever to the Prince Lord, who would not mind at all if she died, before or after the ceremony, as gods are often not particular about such things. The many gods of both pantheons in this volume scheme with and against each other, and only Ren and her friends have a chance to weave through their plots, if only they can do so in time. Recommended for middle school to adult readers.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
J.C. Cervantes took Ren to new heights in Dawn of the Jaguar. Her writing has blossomed; the pacing was excellent and the supporting characters much more compelling. Getting lost in new to me myths and folklore is great, but it's even better knowing a fantastic book can get into the hands of children and see themselves represented is priceless. Thanks to NetGalley and Rick Riordan Presents for an early read in exchange for an honest review.
Ren is killed by Monty's magical arrow and ends up in the Mayan underworld where she makes a deal with Ixtab so she can have a chance at gaining her life back. Along the way, she discovers the true source of her powers, betrays a friend, and tries to avoid marrying the Prince Lord. Can Ren and her godborn friends prevent the Lords from taking over the world?
Thank you to NetGalley and Disney Publishing for this DRC.
Ren Santiago must make he way back from the dead, complete a quest involving several promises to gods and magical entities and find a way to understand and use all the different magical forces held within herself. With the help of friends and enemies, Ren will do her best to succeed!
With great pacing, humor and so many different gods to learn about, this is an enthralling book.
The weakest of the Cervantes books in my opinion. Much of it felt rushed and there were multiple instances where I found myself wondering if the author was no longer interested in the story but contractually obliged to complete it. It was also hampered by the MC who never seemed to really develop or take command of her own story. Previously encumbered by shadow magic she is largely unable to control, in this volume Ren discovers two new forms of (arguably stronger) magic….which she seems to also be unable to entirely control. This combined with her constant need to appease the turbulent emotions of a death god permanently stuck in angst-ridden teen mode makes for a tiring and not particularly compelling heroine. Familiarity with the other novel in the Shadow Bruja duology is required, but the other novels from the same meso-American story lines are not needed to follow the plot
Dawn of the Jaguar is the excellent conclusion to the Shadow Bruja Duology. After the heartbreaking ending to the first book, the sequel doesn't waste time throwing you into the plot. J. C. Cervantes has created such a wonderful world and writes stories in a way that you're rewarded if you have read every book in the series. The characters are so much fun, Renata is a blast to read and her dynamic and interactions with the people around her make for some of the best moments in the book
NetGalley ARC Educator 550974
A MesoAmerican mythology story which features a Bruja and her wild array of friends and foes. It is the second book of the series. You can read this feature as a stand alone but why do that. An amazing story with loads of action.
My students loved the first book in the Shadow Bruja Duology and are eagerly awaiting this second book and JC Cervantes doesn't disappoint. Dawn of the Jaguar is filled with action, adventure, and lots of twists and turns that keep you guessing right to the last page.
Thank you NetGalley and Disney for the ARC.
I loved JC Cervantes middle grade Storm Runner trilogy so much, so I was very excited when I found out she was doing Shadow Bruja duology. I love Mesoamerican mythology. After quickly listening to the 1st book Lords of Night, I had to get my hands on Dawn of the Jaguar. Luckily, I received the ARC from Netgalley and picked up a physical ARC at ALA. I will no doubt be adding both books to my classroom library.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for letting me review this book. I’ve enjoyed the previous books by the author and this one didn’t disappoint! This was an action packed read! Even though Ren knows she may lose,she still goes and tries to rescue her friends. I like that she still believes in the other godborns,even the ones that betrayed her.