By Ernest Hogan
Move over Harry Potter! In A Kingdom Beneath the Waves: Garza Twins Book Two by David Bowles, this new series boldly charges into worlds the boy wizard never dreamed of. It's a fast-moving fantasy that sends the reader's mind soaring. Visits to the beach (and looking at the ocean) will never be the same.
Besides the preColumbian mythology introduced in the first book, The Smoking Mirror – a 2016 PuraBelpuré book – we get more of the joys and terrors of being teenage naguals. Then Carol, Johnny, and their family go on a vacation in Mexico. It starts out with gritty high school reality and ends up in the middle of a fantastic underwater civilization. The Aztec rain god Tlaloc is there, and merfolk, and of course Tezcatlipoca shows up to cause some serious trouble.
This a definite crossover book. The usual white girls that YA is focused on will find a lot to enjoy. Latinos of all varieties will find things to identify with, and the book is so action-packed its appeal will be global. The merfolk connect to other cultures, and yes, Atlantis figures in. I might also add that a lot older adults will find it exciting and enjoyable.
A Kingdom Beneath the Waves is one of the most imaginative fantasies I've read in years. I say this as a jaded fan of fantastic lit who's been reading it since before the first moon landing. David Bowles has created an original, convincing, and fascinating world. Did I mention that it's a lot of fun?
There's also Guide to Pronunciation, a Glossary, and a Guide to Spanish Words, so it's educational too. Kids, mention this in your book reports. Maybe throw in some of the Nahuatl you'll learn. Impress your teachers, maybe even educate them a little!
It's got this old guy looking forward to more of the series.
Ernest Hogan, author of the underground cult novel High Aztech, is holed up in Arizona, watching the political turmoil, and contemplating the opportunities of cultural transformation that may arise.