Max battles a kraken, rides a fire-breathing dragon and must defeat the evil djinn whose powers are growing every day.
For transparency, I was contacted by the author and sent a complimentary eBook copy of Max and the Isle of Sanctus by John Peragine in exchange for an honest review following my prior review of the first book in this series. Thank you for the opportunity, John! As always, my thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
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About the Book
Max and the Isle of Sanctus
Secrets of the Twilight Djinn Book Two
by John Peragine
Publishing September 2021
Genre: MG Fantasy
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In this second book of Secrets of the Twilight Djinn, Max Daybreaker faces new adventures like never before. Max battles a kraken, rides a fire-breathing dragon and must defeat the evil djinn whose powers are growing every day. The stakes are high for Max as he tries to protect his friends from angry sea gods and a vengeful sultan while also saving his mom from a terrible curse! With magic up in the air and foes on all sides, Max must reach the Isle of Sanctus before time runs out.
My Rating: 5 Stars
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Max and the Isle of Sanctus picks up where Max and the Spice Thieves left off with Max full of newfound magic, surrounded by newfound friends, and on a mission to save his mother. Guided by hints left for him by his father, Max’s adventure leads him to cross paths with a pair of twins claiming to be his sisters, but can they be trusted? It’s a hung jury, honestly. You’ll have to read the book to find out!
This series has definitely hit its stride! We already know so many of the important faces, we’ve already established what this world looks like, and we already have an idea of how the magic system works. The world-building steps aside in this book and lets the plot and inter-character dynamics really shine. In my review of the previous book, I called it a 4 with the potential to be a 5 because it was too short for the size of the cast and the amount of information packed in. Since that book did all of that leg work already, this book is easily a full 5 out of 5! This book is everything I loved about the previous and more and doesn’t need to struggle to insert a lot of world-building anymore.
Previously I compared the Twilight Djinn to classics like The Odyssey and The Iliad, noting that my age makes me a little too old for contemporary MG fantasies of this flavour like Rioden’s Percy Jackson nostalgic. I do still see that, the Greek Mythology epic vibe is still here, but there are other mythologies from other parts of the world making appearances now and that’s even better! Mythology nerds will pick up on clues as to what’s going on with certain questionable characters early if they’re familiar with lore from the right parts of the world, but it’s also not vital prior knowledge for a reader to have; all will be revealed and explained in due course. Readers don’t need to be experts in mythology already, but those who know a little more will have the reward of being a few steps ahead of Max on the mystery elements.
I must say I did struggle with deciding whether or not Max’s naivite when it comes to believing and being loyal to people without testing those beliefs rang true or not. If he were an adult character I think I would have torn it all apart with criticism, and if he were an older teen I would have questioned what sort of sheltered life he’d lived up until now, but Max is actually quite young. He’s only on the verge of becoming a teenager. I do think a certain amount of rosy tint to his worldview is the right choice, and I think the target age group of readers, Max’s peers, will likely be just as surprised as Max is when more cautious characters are proven right. So I guess what I’m saying is well done! I hope other fellow adult reviewers will stop and give this the same level of thought if this is also something that felt like a snag at first in their read-throughs.
So, do I recommend Max and the Isle of Sanctus? Yes! Emphatically. But do read Max and the Spice Thieves first and meet everybody properly. I can’t imagine jumping in at this point in the plot without knowing the characters and the way of this world already.
About the Author
John Peragine is an author of over fourteen books. The Secrets of the Twilight Djinn series was written as a bedtime story for his son Max to cope with medical issues he was facing as a little boy. John is a full-time ghostwriter who lives with his son, wife, and a menagerie of animals on his vineyard overlooking the Mississippi River.