Think back to when you were 12. What were you doing? Meeting mysterious old (and I mean really, really, REALLY old) men who can stop time? Getting home to find an exact copy (or at least a close approximation) of yourself in your bedroom who is completely made from mud and who says he is a Golem and has been sent to take your place? How about battling a beautiful princess (at least when she’s not turning into a monster) whose mother is the Mother of Monsters and has been banished for eternity, or 3000 years, whichever comes first? My guess is probably not, but that is exactly what 12 year old David McAvoy, known as Mack, is doing in The Call, the first book in The Magnificent 12 series by Michael Grant.
It’s just another average day at Richard Gere Middle School with Mack about to get pounded by the Bully of Bullies, Stefan Marr, when time is suddenly stopped by Grimluk, the original Twelve of the Magnifica, a group of twelve who possess the enlightened puissance. The Magnifica were brought together “A REALLY, REALLY LONG TIME AGO…” (if you don’t believe me, just check out the chapter heading for the chapters about the time of the Magnifica) to try to defeat the Pale Queen. The Magnifica captured the queen and imprisoned her forever, “Or so we thought. It turns out three thousand years is still not forever.” (Just in case you hadn’t figured it out, people in Grimluk’s time were’t very good with numbers.) Now those three thousand years are almost up, all the original Magnifica except Grimluk are dead, and Grimluk is trying to convince Mack who is the epitome of “mediumness” that he has to find eleven other twelve-year-olds and convince them to help him save the world from the Pale Queen and her daughter Ereskigal, also known as Risky, who can be beautiful and sensuous one minute and a real monster the next (no, really… I mean an actual monster who would love to bite your head off, literally). Can Grimluk convince Mack to save the world, or better yet, can Mack convince himself that he can save the world?
I actually downloaded this book on my Nook app quite a while ago when I came across it as a Free Friday selection, but I never got around to reading it. Then a couple of months ago I added the series to my library collection without making the connection between the series and the title that was wasting away unread on my Nook. Then I happened to rediscover it on my Nook, realized that it was the series I had just processed for the library, and decided to give it a try, and I’m glad I did. It is a fun adventure story written with lots of humor and word play, but also some “big words” that will have you accidentally improving your vocabulary. The story shifts back and forth between the present with Mack and his conundrum and the past with Grimluk and his becoming one of the Magnifica. As is the case with many children’s and young adult series, there is a companion website that allows users to learn more about the books, see illustrations of the creatures involved in the story and maps of locations in the story, and create a personal avatar to play games related to the book’s adventures. You can learn more about the series by visiting http://www.themag12.com/.