by Platte F. Clark
Recommended Ages: 12+
Could Max's quest be tougher? Yes, it could. He also has to face a dwarf king who believes it is his sacred duty to lock the Codex away in a virtually uncrackable vault. Max is also being pursued by the undead necromancers of a dark lord from the shadow realm. He gets betrayed by a friend. One of the fire kittens (don't ask) who has joined the quest is a spy for the enemy. The spirit of a dead wizard keeps appearing to offer mentoring notes, but always just too late to do any good. Before his second magical quest is through, Max will have to gain the trust of one of his deadliest enemies.
This is an adorably funny, magic- and action-filled adventure that stands a lot of sci-fi and fantasy clichés on end. It features an online role-play character brought magically to life, a middle-school bully who has taken being a monster to the next level, a zombie duck, a claustrophobic dwarf, and a dragon who has been rendered harmless in a most embarrassing way. More magic from the codex revealed. More world-building details of the Magrus are filled in. And Max achieves a new level of maturity in his journey from chubby loser to powerful wizard. In spite of some grammatical goofs the editor missed, I loved it. I think kids will like it, too.