Parents' Guide to

Shinji Takahashi and the Mark of the Coatl: The Society of Explorers and Adventurers, Book 1

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Thrilling jungle adventure with curses and booby traps.

Book Julie Kagawa Fantasy 2022
Shinji Takahashi and the Mark of the Coatl

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This fantasy adventure packs all the right elements for a thrilling jungle quest: Aztec gods, hidden temples, curses, booby traps, intrepid explorers from a secret society, and goons in pursuit. There's even a rickety bridge over a chasm to cross, and that never turns out well, especially after someone shouts, "Don't look down!" Right. Kids will want to join up with the Society of Explorers and Adventurers, SEA, immediately, even if it means flying in that ancient airplane with only one parachute. They may not want Shinji's cursed tattoo to go with it, but it's almost worth the price, especially if all of humanity is at stake. And it is, thanks to a vengeful god.

Shinji makes for a great hero, unsure at first about taking on the responsibility the Coatl tattoo represents, but then rising to every challenge. Shinji's friend Lucy is a solid sidekick, even if she's got quite a bit to hide from Shinji at first. And it's great to see Lucy and Zoe represent girls in tech in this book -- and for Zoe, girls/women in wheelchairs in tech. She sees all with drones that she designed herself. SEA is definitely open to anyone ready for adventure and even boasts a refreshing "preserve and protect and leave it how you found it" attitude -- certainly not the Indiana Jones motto. The only thing missing from this series opener is a clearer understanding of who the adult adventurers are. Only Oliver stands out because Shinji and Lucy meet him first. Here's hoping we spend more quality time with Zoe, Priya, Professor Carrero, and Maya on future quests.

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