Review: The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes

Books Fantasy Fiction

The latest book in the Rick Riordan Presents family is one that you won’t want to miss. The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes will knock your socks off. However, I’m hesitant to recommend it.

Zane has always enjoyed exploring the dormant volcano near his home inThe Storm Runner Cover New Mexico, even though hiking it is challenging. He’d much rather hang out there with his dog, Rosie, than go to middle school, where kids call him Sir Limps a Lot, McGimpster, or Uno—for his one good leg.

What Zane doesn’t know is that the volcano is a gateway to another world and he is at the center of a powerful prophecy. A new girl at school, Brooks, informs him that he’s destined to release an evil god from the ancient Mayan relic he is imprisoned in—unless she can find and remove it first. Together they return to the volcano, where all kinds of crazy happens. Brooks turns into a hawk, a demon attacks them in a cave, and Rosie gives her all while trying to protect Zane.

When Zane decides to save his dog no matter the cost, he is thrust into an adventure full of surprising discoveries, dangerous secrets, and an all-out war between the gods, one of whom happens to be his father. To survive, Zane will have to become the Storm Runner. But how can he run when he can’t even walk well without a cane?

Feisty heroes, tricky gods, murderous demons, and spirited giants are just some of the pleasures that await in this fresh and funny take on Mayan mythology, as rich and delicious as a mug of authentic hot chocolate.

Goodreads

 

I received an arc of The Storm Runner courtesy of publisher Rick Riordan Presents in exchange for an honest review.

The Storm Runner is the first book I’ve read by J.C. Cervantes, but her second book. I enjoyed a lot of things about The Storm Runner. I loved how important family, both blood and found, was to Zane, and how desperate he was to protect them. Hondo, Zane’s uncle, was a delightful addition to the adventuring party. I loved how honestly sweet Zane was as a human being. Rosie was a delightful addition.

The Storm Runner does need some content warnings for internalized ableism, use of ableist language by MC and bullies, and pet death.

Cervantes’ writing is beautiful from start to finish. I loved the casual disability rep in this, with the diabetic giant and the Sparkstriker asking if Zane has any allergies before he dips his hand into a pool of lightning. These small things were really a nice touch.

However, I didn’t love the way that Cervantes handled Zane’s disability. If you didn’t know, one of Zane’s legs is shorter than the other. Early on in the book, one of his mother’s elderly clients passes away, and they give Zane his cane. He loves the cane. However, he’s too embarrassed to let Brooks see him use it. He also doesn’t want her to see that he walks with a limp. He winds up using the cane as a weapon, and being okay with her seeing him as he is.

Here there be spoilers. Read this part at your own discretion.

Later in the story, they all dress up in enchanted clothes that hide the flaws they hate the most. Hondo’s suit makes him a little bit taller. Brooks’s dress hides her freckles. Zane’s suit lengthens his leg and makes him able to walk without a limp for a short amount of time.

Like most of the protagonists in books of this style, Zane is given a magical weapon to to defend himself with. Unlike Percy Jackson’s magical pen-sword, or Magnus Chase’s magical necklace-sword, Zane’s weapon takes a very visible form as a magical cane-spear. It also fixes his limp, which feels very magical-cure-esque  to me. I’m not physically disabled, so I’m not an expert on that, but it made me very uncomfortable.

Spoilers are over now, if you tuned out.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, but I think I would be careful who I recommended it to. If this sounds like a book that you or children you know will enjoy, check it out on Amazon or Indiebound!

ABOUT *BOOK TITLE*

Title: The Storm Runner

Series: The Storm Runner

Author:  J.C. Cervantes

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents

Length: 448 Pages

Release Date: September 18 2018

Rating: ★★★ / Three stars

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy

Representation: Disabled main character, Mayan mythology

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