Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron is the first book in a new juvenile fantasy series about Orisha’s and their battle against the Dark.
Maya thinks she is just a normal twelve-year-old girl, until the day time freezes. No one seems to notice and she chalks it up to a bout of madness, that is until she sees werehyenas and is attacked by a shadow man, twice! As her friend try to come up with explanations for these weird occurrences, Maya keeps thinking about how similar these events are to her papa’s stories.
When papa goes missing, Maya is thrust into a word of gods and goddesses and learns that she is actually a godling–half orisha/half human–and that her papa is the guardian of the veil. The veil is fading and now that papa is gone, it is only a matter of time before the Lord of Shadows breaks through and wages war against the human world.
Can Maya save her father and stop the Lord of Shadows before it is too late?
I enjoyed this book a lot. It has just the right amount of fantasy mixed with African mythology for me. Maya’s journey from everyday girl to future guardian of the veil, was fun to follow and the characters were interesting and diverse. I especially want to see more of the orisha’s and see what Maya’s future “training” will entail. I don’t know why, but I see some sort of school for orisha coming.
One thing that bothered me a little bit was the loose ends. There are a lot of questions that still need answering, but I can’t be too harsh being that it is the first book in a series. Maya is learning all of this as she goes and we, the reader, are learning it right alongside her.
Overall, this was a fun read. Probably good for that 4-7 grade range. I’m going to give it the low end of 4 stars.
That’s all for now!