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The Red Maze: 5 Worlds, Book 3

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
The Red Maze: 5 Worlds, Book 3 Book Poster Image
Galactic adventure keeps up the excitement and suspense.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Combines science and spirituality in three characters' quest for galactic harmony. It presents a diverse cast of characters working together on a quest.

Positive Messages

No one is ever truly alone. Kids from different backgrounds can work together to achieve meaningful change. People must work together to stop planetary heating.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Oona, An, and Jax have very different personalities and talents, but they stick together when times are tough.

Violence & Scariness

Jax is captured in a net by his enemies. Oona, An Tzu, and their allies are pursued by stormtroopers. Someone explodes a bomb at Nanotex Headquarters.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Red Maze is the third installment in the 5 Worlds sci-fi graphic novel series by brothers Mark and Alexis Siegel. The stunningly illustrated story follows three talented children from diverse backgrounds as they continue their quest to light five ancient beacons and save various planets from overheating. There are some mildly violent scenes is which the kids are chased by military/security personnel, but there's no graphic bloodshed.

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What's the story?

As THE RED MAZE opens, Oona Lee, Jax Amboy, and An Tzu are reunited in their quest to light Moon Yatta's beacon. No longer just an android, Jax has been transformed into a "real boy," but he's forced to return to playing starball for a ruthless businessman. Meanwhile, Oona and An Tzu search for a rebel leader who can guide them through a mysterious maze that will let them reach the red beacon.

Is it any good?

Middle volumes of long-running series often sag a little, but this installment of the galaxy-spanning graphic novel maintains a high level of action and suspense. With The Red Maze, the Siegel brothers step the narrative's intensity down a notch to focus on political crimes and corporate misdemeanors. Interesting new allies and enemies join the mix, and the story ends on a high note. Readers already invested in the 5 Worlds series will be clamoring for more. Newcomers should definitely start with the first volume and not try to jump into the story without preparation. Spirited, clever, and engrossing, The Red Maze is a real winner.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how The Red Maze addresses the issue of planetary warming. How are modern-day politicians dealing with climate change here on Earth?

  • The Red Maze uses the conventions of comics to tell its story. What kinds of stories are best suited for the graphic novel format?

  • How does The Red Maze address the notion of a "chosen one"? Why does the concept of a "chosen one" appear in so many myths and legends?

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For kids who love graphic novels and science fiction

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