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Book Review of Max & the Spice Thieves

Max and the Spice Thieves by John Peragine

Review by Jen Anne Becker

Young Max Daybreaker, bored with his humdrum life, dreamt of adventures in far-off ports spurred on by the last book he received from his father two years prior, The Secrets of the Twilight Djinn. His dad had been missing since he left for his latest voyage. Max read and re-read that book, convinced that his father was still alive, and he longed for the impossible – the day he could be a man and go searching for his dad. When Max’s mom wakes him one morning, surprising him with preparations for a journey they will undertake, he thinks she’s finally given in and is willing to travel with Max to find his dad. Though Max is unsure of her reasons or exact plans, she reminds him that his father is gone, but assures him they will be traveling, instead, on a pirate ship to an island where they will be safe – a place called Sanctus.

Before they even make it to the pirate ship, Max becomes separated from his mom, and has to be rescued from a couple of thieves by none other than spice thief, Captain Cinn of the Saucy Pig – the pirate ship they were supposed to travel to Sanctus on. Now, with both parents missing, Max has no choice but to accept the help of this spice pirate to discover what happened to his mom, and to find his dad who has been lost at sea and is presumed dead. Along the way they encounter mysterious creatures, unexpected allies, and gourmet meals prepared by the captain himself using a variety of exotic spices.

This action-packed fantasy adventure will keep preteens and middle grade students on the edge of their seats, fully engaged in the story from beginning to end. Just when the reader thinks that the tension is winding down, another unexpected turn takes the reader in a new direction. Instead of finding answers, Max stumbles upon more questions, each more puzzling than the last. The reader follows Max through each adventure, learning more about the Spice Islands, his parents, and an unknown force that Max never knew existed. While running from the Spice Guild, Max and the pirates of The Saucy Pig, along with other new-found allies, will encounter three-eyed seers, mysterious aquatic creatures, a witch queen, a zombie army and snow bears who can shapeshift into human beings. He quickly recalls all of these fantastical beings from his book, The Secrets of the Twilight Djinn, which becomes more of a guide to survive and maneuver through the many twists and turns of his adventure.

Will Max find his mom in time to save her from the Twilight Army? What is this Midnight Jewel that everyone seems to be after? Is Max’s dad really alive out there somewhere in the Three Seas or on one of the fifty Spice Islands, as he hopes? Are Max’s new-found allies truly friends or are they foes setting him up to fail?

Peragine does an excellent job creating this fantasy world with all of its sights and sounds and smells. I highly recommend Max and the Spice Thieves for the young and the young at heart. Available April 2021 - Preorder your copy today!


I received a complimentary copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

Max and the Spice Thieves by John Peragine

Young Adult Fiction | Action & Adventure | Pirates

274 pages

Crumblebee Books

L’Oste Vineyard Press