J.C. Cervantes brings an action-packed end to ‘The Storm Runner’ trilogy, with an explosive conclusion to the Maya gods saga that will push its protagonist Zane to the limits of survival. The Rick Riordan Presents novel follows up the recent publications with another surefire hit that manages to succinctly wrap up a complicated tale of deceit and double-crossing, while pushing the characters beyond personal limits.
The main character Zane Obispo is the son of Maya god Hurakan. Zane has learned to accept the reality of being a godborn, a child of the gods and part human, and uses his abilities to recruit other godborns to fight off the evil gods Camazotz and Ixkik who are bent on ruling the world.
To make matters worse for Zane and his friends Brooks, Quinn, and his uncle Hondo, the other Maya gods have disappeared, thanks to a duplicitous scheme by Camazotz and Ixkik. Alone and outnumbered Zane and his friends must outsmart powerful enemies while trying to rescue the lost gods and save the world.
‘The Storm Runner’ series has been a thrill-ride read from the first page to the last, and as I dove into The Shadow Crosser, I wondered how Cervantes was going to bring her series to a close. Would a hero need to die? Would I be disappointed with the ending? No, of course not! This is the Rick Riordan Presents book and every single title since the first publication to now has consistently brought forth stories that may be geared to the Middle-grade readers but are actually fantastic tales of myth, folklore, and faith that make every reader appreciate how incredible the many faiths are that inhabit this planet. J.C Cervantes has blended action, supreme character development, teenage angst, and a magical tale of Maya gods into three books that once a reader starts, they will not want to stop.
In The Shadow Crosser we see the final chapter of the story as well as closure for many lovable characters. Zane gets his rewards and his challenges as the story begins and he is pushed to his limits. Zane was born with one leg that is shorter than the other. This ‘disability’ was the key to his godly powers, and by the time readers dive into The Shadow Crosser one will not see the handicap, but rather how a teenager has used his birth defect to his advantage. We see the typical teenage issues with hormones and relationships, but Cervantes doesn’t bog Zane’s development down in the minefield of teen love. Of course, Zane and Brooks would have a strong relationship, that could be predicted from the first book, but the way Cervantes develops this relationship is not only sweet but has a genuine feel of reality in a supernatural world.
My favorite character of the series is Uncle Hondo. Hondo started off as the weird uncle who would wrestle a demon and then eat flaming hot Cheetos. His evolution over the series to The Shadow Crosser has the perfect growth. Hondo has no godly abilities, but he will not run from a fight, and often seeks to be right beside his nephew when the demons come to battle. As Zane and his friends attempt a complicated journey across time, they need someone to be their anchor in the present world, and there is no one better for that job then Hondo. He may act macho, but Hondo is not a gun-toting madman. Rather, we get a character who would do anything for his family, and even put himself in danger to ensure the safety of others. Hondo is the person you want to be friends with. He brings comfort to the story, and helps the reader find their place in this truly magical story.
Most mythological novels deal with how the gods of the story are remembered and usually focus on how the fables and myths often don’t tell the real story. J.C. Cervantes makes an incredible statement about history and memory during Zane’s final battle. When the god Ixkik talks to Zane about how she burned the history books, she mentions that she not only burned the books, but that she burned truth itself. This declaration by the villain is phenomenal and is a perfect talking point to the interpretation of how often history and legends are chronicled. This statement also reminds readers how easy it is to lose the truth about an event when there is no documentation.
Lastly, Cervantes has always presented the Maya gods in a unique way. Besides the villains Camazotz and Ixkik, she writes the rest of the gods, the parents of the godborns, in a fresh way. Yes, they are filled with arrogance and contempt for humans, but the gods are likeable. The Maya gods have the capability to learn and grow. Supreme and all powerful as the Maya gods are, even supreme beings can and should be willing to learn.
By the end of The Shadow Crosser readers will be deeply satisfied and content with what happens to our hero characters. Cervantes has wrapped up the story well, but she does leave enough wiggle room for more journeys in Zane Obispo’s world. I would be glad to go on another adventure with the godborns any day.
The Shadow Crosser is a four-star conclusion that will leave readers smiling that the journey is over but hoping for another adventure to come.