REVIEWS

Engaging

Book of the Sky God is an engaging book that will please middle schoolers. The story centers around five teenagers Henry, Ram, Katie, Nina and Laila. In no way were these teens superheroes; each was dealing with their own problems. Katie appeared to have a tough shell, but the reader sees a different side of her as she deals with her grandmother, who is suffering from dementia. Henry wants his dad’s approval, but the man seems indifferent.

The major plot of this story concerns the end of the world, but the author has created several interesting subplots as well. Carefully woven together, the plots make an exciting story. Each chapter ends with a teaser making the reader want to read just one more chapter. Laura Markowitz is a talented author. She created and developed a plot that will keep readers eagerly turning the pages. This book is a combination science fiction and action adventure. What makes this book special is the way the teens are very human, facing problems that readers will easily relate to. — Ann Boling, Reader’s Favorites

A page-turning adventure navigated by a winning team of teens.

Was the Mayan prophecy about December 21, 2012, wrong or just late? In her YA sci-fi debut, Markowitz plumbs the depths of prophecy, conspiracy and teenage camaraderie to find out.

Henry Lipton’s best friend turned him into a zombie. But soon there are bigger problems. Elsewhere, Katie Chase spends her senior year of high school caring for her grandmother, and Henry’s best friend, Ram Rajathani, still doesn’t know why his little sister Laila voluntarily went mute six years ago. When the secret she’s guarding finally comes out, it throws Henry, Katie, Ram, Laila and another Rajathani sister, Nina, into a conspiracy bent on divine judgment. And then there’s the small matter of the Mayan prophecy, which wasn’t so far off the mark after all. Markowitz weaves threads of Mayan legend through a character-driven plot that cooks along without getting bogged down in minutia. She knows when to show detail and when to hold back: Henry and Ram tossing tennis balls at each other matters but exactly how a world of sluglike beings maintains its records in mucous doesn’t. The rare editorial slip-up—such as Henry being “kidnaped”—doesn’t slow the story down, and Markowitz keeps the teens believable and relatable, right down to the Rajathani siblings bickering with each other or Henry’s hopeless new crush: “It’s not like I even have a shot. She totally hates me.” As in the real world, parents are both central and tangential to the teens’ plans; parental presence or absence is an important consideration for nearly everyone, although it can sometimes gum up plans at a critical moment. After all, if the Rajathanis don’t remember to regularly call home as they fight to prevent the coming apocalypse, they’re going to be grounded for life. — Kirkus Review

Realistically presented and very fascinating.

2012 was the year that everyone looked forward to witness the end of the world. Here, the teenagers are trying to save humanity from its destruction with the help of a shape-shifter. The plot thickens and a twist is given to the characters with each new chapter. This adventure of these unique teenagers is not just another story of saving the world; it is the “song of humanity”. It is interesting how the concept of Karma is connected in the story as well as the clever indications of philosophical ideas. It is impossible to erase one’s past because “unmaking the past would unmake you”. But your past won’t define you, always one can change for better or for worse. The hidden reality behind the fantasy makes the book more gripping and exciting. The dialogues and the interactions of the characters are realistically presented and very fascinating as well. The writer’s imagination is blended with reality, fantasy and philosophy. The mixture of the three brings out the core of The Book of the Sky-God. There is more time left to the end of the world, so now go and grab a copy. — Muditha Dharmasiri

Super fun read – for young and older alike

What if the prophecies of the world ending in 2012 were true? What if the only thing standing between that and the demise of all that we know are 5 teenagers?

That is exactly what happens when the five teens struggle to save the world and manage their own life crises in a thoroughly engaging and fast paced adventure. Laced with Mayan culture, references and enough real-world issues to feel immediate and present, the author has woven a tale that will capture young and old alike.

Characters are well defined and presented, with conversations that flow as smoothly as those overheard in the mall and neatly intertwines those conversations with the action and the story flow. The book presents a simple treatise on working together and the connectedness of all things, past and present, animate and inanimate, and has enough of the fantastical to remove it only slightly from the concerns of the world we live in.

It quickly reveals just enough of the plot in each chapter, with a teaser for the next that makes this one book that was incredibly difficult to put down. The writing is smooth and accomplished, and the skilful combination of writing and plotting bring this story through twists and turns to a conclusion that is expected, but not quite. A great read for a snowy winter day, the combination of science-fiction, magic, paranormal, history and just ordinary teens will appeal to many. — Gaele (Atlanta, GA)

The Characters Will Draw You In

The teen novel genre is not one that I usually gravitate toward when I’m looking to stimulate my mind, however, I was recommended this book by a friend and I quickly got hooked. The book is enjoyable on a number of levels. First, the story itself is captivating. It draws you in as you try to figure out how things will unravel and what the connections are between the characters. Second, the subject matter is very interesting, and obviously prescient with the prospects of the 2012 Mayan prophecy being fulfilled in the near future (side note: after wading through the wreckage of Hurricane Sandy this month here in New York, there are more than a few people in my neck of the woods who seem to be taking this end-of-times prediction more seriously than they were a month ago… which is even more reason to buy and read this book… soon… ;). Third, the character development is outstanding and every chapter whets your curiosity as to how each character will be defined further and will evolve as the story moves on.

As a psychologist, I am very much interested in character development, and if this is something that you appreciate, you will really enjoy this book. The author, Ms. Markowitz, has a keen understanding of the internal workings of the developing, adolescent mind, particularly with respect to the ways in which adolescents process loss, uncertainty, romance, friendship and the dynamics of interpersonal chess. Like all great novelists, Ms. Markowitz is a psychologist at heart. I highly recommend “Book of the Sky God” – especially for adolescents, but also for the parents of those adolescents: It’s a great book to read together with your kids. — John Cottone (Huntington Station, NY)

Engaging, Exciting and Fun!

I loved reading the book of the Sky God. It grabbed my attention and imagination and kept it.

Even though the book is written and marketed as “young adult fiction/fantasy,” as a older adult I was entertained the whole way through, learned a lot about Mayan culture and history, not to mention whole different ways to think about the world and how all living things connect.

I’m not sure what I was expecting because of the young adult label, but I found the language and pacing just right for my tastes.

Through the story’s five main characters, Katie, Nina, Henry, Ram, and Laila, you (or the young reader in your family) will certainly find at least one character to identify with and cheer for as they juggle the challenges of saving the world while navigating their own just a heart felt and immediate problems faced by teenagers everywhere. I’ve already offered to buy it for my two nieces, but I don’t know whether they own Kindles. (Dang! Do I have to buy them Kindles?)

I don’t know exactly how old the author is or how much time she spends hanging with high schoolers, but her ear for dialog is spot on. Listening to the five teens interact moves the plot along quickly, but it is an experience in eavesdropping, the tone is so believable.

The only thing that annoyed me about the book (and this is a compliment) was how, at the end of almost every chapter, the author included an irresistible teaser that I didn’t have the strength to ignore. So rather than going to sleep at a decent hour, like an “older adult reader” should, I read on, making for a couple of bleary slow motion mornings.

I read the book on a regular Kindle and it was both a pleasure and an engaging adventure. — Jay Rochlin (Tucson, AZ USA)

It might make me a convert to the fantasy genre!

I have rarely enjoyed fantasy books, and become frustrated with the intricate development of new realities and different worlds. Until now! The fantasy world is fascinating, the connection with Teotihuacan is a delightful surprise, and the characters are well drawn and engaging. The moral lessons are powerful yet not trite, and the use of language is superb. Read and enjoy! — desert shopper (tucson, arizona)

Great fun, with substance!

When I read fiction, I like a good story that keeps me turning the pages, but holds something more than just suspense. The Book of the Sky Gods definitely does that! It is a story with a somewhat complex plot and rapidly unfolding events, so that I rarely wanted to stop reading when I had to. There was a delightful group of main characters, and they were all portrayed in an interesting, and engaging way. The series of events they went through was very entertaining! I particularly liked the theme of humanity’s good vs. evil, as that was addressed in such a real but not frightening way–good for a book meant for young adults! I am passing it onto my 13-year-old son now that I am finished. — Katrina Leathers (El Cerrito, CA)

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