Jaguar Sun Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars
Jaguar Sun Will Win Your Heart, February 16, 2012
By Frederick Lee Brooke, author of the Annie Ogden Mysteries
This beautifully crafted YA book revolves around Maya Delaney, a high school junior in deepest New Mexico. Right from the beginning I was hooked on Maya’s voice, a little snarky and flip, but also more and more overwhelmed at all the things that are happening to her. Why is this jaguar shadowing her at school? Why does she have these nightmares that leave her so exhausted?
The author does a great job of creating a little world around Maya — her single-parent father, her loser-mom who abandoned her years ago, her friends the twins, Lyssa and Damian, and her boyfriend Matt. High school really seems like the high school I knew, complete with embarrassing drool episodes and realizing that an empty school hallway meant you were late to class.
It’s amusing that Maya, despite her ancestry, can’t speak a word of Spanish, even though almost everyone else in this New Mexico town does. When Maya discovers that she has powers that descend from ancient Mayan tradition, it’s her maternal grandmother who shows her the way.
In a perfectly natural sequence of events Maya begins to develop her special gifts and at the same time discovers that she is meant to play a special role on the day the Mayan calendar predicted the end of the world, December 21, 2012. As that day approaches, Maya is drawn into a colossal battle between the forces of good and evil.
This book is lovingly written and full of great turns of phrase. I recently read another much more famous YA book, Mockingjay, part of the Hunger Games series, and you know what? Jaguar Sun was a far better story. I’m looking forward to the sequel, Jaguar Moon.
5.0 out of 5 stars
There’s a new sheriff in town! February 22, 2012
By Claudia Lefeve, author of The Travelers Series
If your reading revolves around YA paranormal, then Martha is it’s new sheriff. Her debut YA novel was in a word, fantastic! It really was a shift (no pun intended) from the normal YA paranormal and I’m thrilled that I had the good judgement in picking this book up.
Maya is your typical high school junior that lives in a world where shape-shifters are known, and for the most part, are excepted in society. But even so, she is not prepared when she finds out she is not only destined to be a shifter, but is THE shifter of all shifters.
We are taken into a brief history of Mayan belief and culture, as Maya and her friends discover that Maya is a part of the prophecy of the Mayan calendar. Ms. Bourke takes us on a journey from Arizona to Mexico, filled with fun, excitement, and definitely romance.
What I loved most about this book was the close relationship I had with Maya and her friends. Set in Arizona, it seems fitting that a majority of the characters are Hispanic. Being Hispanic myself, I felt a kinship with the characters. It’s not often you see Hispanics play main central characters and for that, I applaud Ms. Bourke. Her imagination and writing style makes me almost believe that perhaps, deep down, I am part of that Mayan culture and will someday become a shifter.
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Fast-Paced and Fun Read!, June 6, 2012
By Patricia Paris, author of Letters to Gabriella
Although I don’t typically read YA novels, I was intrigued by the Mayan prophecy and thought this book would be an interesting read. Martha Bourke has written a fast-paced and unique story that seems well targeted to the YA market. I found the characters to be believable and their dialogue and actions seemed very realistic for their age.
Maya Delaney, the heroine, is a 16 year old girl who in addition to dealing with typical teen issues of fitting in, young love, and schoolwork, begins having odd and frightening dreams. Soon, Maya’s visions occur even when she’s awake, and she develops a mark on her neck that brands her as a shape-shifter. Through the guidance of her grandmother, the support of Matt, her boyfriend/mate, the friendship of a couple quirky and fun twins, and a group of shape-shifters who have been following her progress for some time, Maya begins to understand and accept the special yet difficult role she must play in the Mayan legend.
The romance between Maya and Matt is presented on two different levels, a more innocent, awkward one of young teens in the beginning, but evolves into a much deeper, soul-binding one of mates, destined for one another in the end. Both characters grow and mature over the course of the story as they are tested again and again. When they shift into their spirit shapes of cougar and wolf, the reader can almost feel the wild, liberated freedom of their animal forms as they take off running together.
I found Maya’s friends, the twins, to be delightful and hope to see more of them in the future. I would have liked to know more about what happened to Maya’s mother, who deserted Maya when she was a young girl. Maya refers to her mother’s desertion often, but we don’t ever find out anything more about her. Perhaps that’s because in real life we don’t always get these answers, or perhaps Ms. Bourke has plans to develop that part of the story in another book. I’ll be looking for the sequel to find out.
5.0 out of 5 stars
The Sun Rises for a New Author (See what I did there?), January 28, 2012
By Matthew DeBettencourt, author of The Island of time
(Massachusetts) – Jaguar Sun by Martha Bourke is a thrilling science fiction, cultural history lesson all rolled up in a fast-paced coming-of-age young adult adventure. It is a first person narrative in the perspective of a high school student named Maya Delaney who lives in New Mexico. She comes from a family descended from the ancient Mayans (who’d have guessed?), but she’s just your average, everyday awkward teenager with boyfriend trouble, a few close friends and an addiction to Diet Coke.
Also she’s a shape-shifter. She soon learns, at sixteen years of age, that she has the ability to “phase” into an animal form. Along with this ability, however, Maya has to prepare herself for a number of new experiences and responsibilities.
I was captivated immediately by Jaguar Sun. The characters were lovable (and more importantly, believable), and the story kept me hooked. Just when I thought I knew what was about to happen, a twist! The first person view gives the reader a unique insight into Maya’s mind and the struggles she faces with her friends, the Mayan myths, and the dreaded Toltec.
I would recommend this story to anyone! (No, really, ANYone). It’s geared toward the young adult genre, and any teen reader who likes adventure would love it, but it’s a story adults would enjoy too!
(Can I give it SIX stars?)
5.0 out of 5 stars
Well written, stunningly detailed and has an epic plot, July 9, 2012
By J.J. Collins, author of Famine to Freedom: The Irish in the American Civil War
It was ironic, that on a weekend when I was watching some recordings regarding the 2012 Mayan Prophecies. I also found myself finally finding some time to read this thrilling and fast paced book by Martha Bourke.
In this excellent debut novel, “Jaguar Sun” – possesses not only the darkness of “Batman,” it also captures the all action hero and archaeological brilliance of a Lara Croft type character in Tomb Raider. This book has it all, and it leaves the reader wanting and waiting for more. Bourke deftly paints the perfect picture in the reader’s mind of what these characters look like, and how they are going to react to certain situations that arise throughout the novel.
We meet the young but attractive “Gleek,” like character – Maya Delaney, who is struggling to deal with issues of abandonment and isolation, arising from her mother running away when she was a child.
Independent, strong minded and free spirited, Maya starts to experience some terrifying visions that prevent her from sleeping properly. Only by seeking the assistance of others and exploring and trusting her inner most feelings can Maya discover her true destiny. The sudden appearance of a mystery mark on her neck has the potential to isolate Maya even further from the Hispanic dominated community she is part of in New Mexico.
Mays is terrified what the mystical dreams and mark may hold for her and her future however; it is Maya’s Grandmother and her two close friends Damian and Lyssa who encourage Maya to awaken the Mayan Indian roots within her. Maya follows their advice and soon discovers much to her amazement that she is one of the ancient mythical Shape shifters capable of blending human and spiritual form. Rather than answer questions, these newly discovered talents and set of facts only serves to endanger Maya further.
Maya’s friends, boyfriend and some unexpected allies come to her aid in an effort to protect her against dark gathering forces determined to prevent Maya undertaking her ritual, and taking her rightful place in Mayan folklore. The characters have been carefully crafted upon layers of complex emotions and these relationships serve to provide a human balance to the story. The characters face ever increasing danger and peril, where Mayan predictions become a very distinct reality, with the novel culminating in an apocalyptic action packed climax, where is comes downs to the time old fashioned conflict of “good versus evil”, in a last ditch effort to save the world.
The Jaguar Sun is an excellent fantasy & prophecy blowing tour de force of a novel. The author’s knowledge and understanding of Mayan folklore and prophecy is first class too, providing proven credibility, and if you love fantasy and adventure fiction, then this book is for you.
The Jaguar Sun is well written, stunningly detailed and has an epic plot and summation. I look forward to reading the next book in the series upon release. Excellent!!!!!
5.0 out of 5 stars
A BOOK FOR EVERYONE!!! Great read!!, March 30, 2012
By Emily Guido, Author of Charmeine
I read “Jaguar Sun,” and I was enthralled. This book timely, December 2012 here we come! I do not usually read young adult novels; however, I am glad I did with “Jaguar Sun.” Maya, the girl with the gift of shape-shifting, is a typical high school adolescent with boy problems and school problems. However, she is thrown for a loop when her dreams come out of her sleep. What engrossed me was the fact Maya was so deeply connected and open with her all-knowing Grandmother. Even though Maya was not connected to the Hispanic culture, she was connected to her family, her Father and Grandmother. The twist in this story come from such an all-knowing place, you would think the Author knows something we don’t know. The trip to Mexico has Maya dealing with the Mayan prophecy in earnest. I loved the other characters in the book, the twins were very entertaining. I work at a college and the writing was true to the way teens and old teens speak and behave. I would recommend this book for all ages! It was a great and entertaining read!
4.0 out of 5 stars
An exciting adventure, April 23, 2012
By Cheryll Ganzel, Co-author of Children of the Lost Moon
I really enjoyed reading Jaguar Sun. In a time of world ending prophesies, Jaguar Sun offers a ray of hope for the world, a new beginning, maybe. I loved the protagonist Maya and her boyfriend Matt. If I were a wee bit younger, I’d love to steal Matt for myself! Both characters were well defined and the twins really added warmth and humor. Add a really kick butt antagonist to the mix and you get a very entertaining novel. I look forward to reading Jaguar Moon.
4.0 out of 5 stars
Muy caliente!!!, April 23, 2012
Patricia Herlevi, author of How They Finally Met (Pierre and Miranda)
I am not Martha Bourke’s target market, and yet I am. Hardly a young adult, I enjoyed Bourke’s “Jaguar Sun” and read it as a metaphysical adventure. Think of the novel as a “Celestine Prophecy” for younger generations. And definitely readers into Joseph Campbell’s material (call to action, quest, success), will find “Jaguar Sun” an enjoyable read.
I’m not going to describe the story to you here, because that’s why authors include synopsises for their novels, however, I will say that Bourke has written a page-turner with surprises waiting around each corner. Her protagonist Maya, a 16-year old high school student turned Mayan shape-shifter captured my heart and left my brain captivated. Bourke captured the voice for her young adult characters too which includes Maya’s boyfriend Matt, also a shape-shifter, and twins Lyssa and Damian–adorable and irreverent to a degree.
Personally, I hope these YA shape-shifters replace all those insipid vampires and zombies that took over teen literature in recent years. At least the shape-shifters offer a glance into the world of shamanism and bring up in this case, Mayan mythology and legends, which is educational. I imagine that the Harry Potter crowd will like this magic too. Martha, I think you have a hit on your hands.