Title: The Magnificent 12: The Trap
Author: Michael Grant
Once again Michael Grant wrote a book that is a fantastic mixture of action and humor. I giggled one page and held my breath in suspense the next. This story starts with Mack being visited by Grimluk (his mentor) via a bathroom pipe.(yes a bathroom pipe!) Grimluk tells Mack he must hurry and find the other 12. As he's telling Mack where to look, Grimluk cuts in and out, so he only gets half the information, and half of that is misunderstood. As you can imagine this makes Mack's next steps a little messy, but with Grimluk's insistance that he must get going Mack, along with Stephen, his body guard and Jarrah, the other member of the 12, are off on another fast paced adventure. The fast pace of the story is fantastic because it really kept me reading. There just wasn't a pause that would allow me to put it down. This pace is also fantastic for those reluctant readers who really need the action to keep rolling. I particularly liked the leprechauns that appear at the start. They, along with Mack's reaction to them, really made me giggle.
Personally I like when a series introduces some new characters as it progresses. It keeps it fresh. This story did that. As the story flew along, a few new characters entered the cast. Some on Mack's side and some not. And to keep your attention - you're never sure as new characters enter just who's side they are on! Don't trust anyone! I really liked the addition of Dietmar. He both annoyed me and added laughs. I hope he sticks around for the others books. With the character of Xiao, there is the introduction of more mythical characters including dragons. These were all good additions that seemed like they belonged - not that they were just shoved in to try to make the story interesting. I will say I wasn't overly fond of Xiao, but I got why she acted how she did - it just got a bit annoying.
Of course the bad guy - Nine Iron, and bad gal - Risky, make an appearance. The great thing is that we get a look at their background some. That helps round out their characters more, as well as adding to the plot. This is done through several flashbacks just like in the first book. Through these flashback we learn how Nine Iron came to a life of crime. I really liked how is story is written because it has a very dry kind of humor to it. I know if I read it aloud to my students it would take a second to sink in, but then they'd get it and laugh. I also liked the flashbacks because it broke up the story some. You didn't get bored with the one story (although with all the action boredom would be difficult!) because there was a second one to entertain you as well.
As with the first book we get to hear a bit from Golem - the mud made Mack look-alike there to take Mack's place back home. As before he is very silly! I giggled at all his misinterpretations of what is said or done to him. When Mack tells him his English paper is in his computer - well it was pretty funny! I do wish there had been a bit more of him. He is such a funny little character that I enjoyed so much in the first book, so I wanted more in this book.
The story did have some weaknesses. I found the action didn't build to huge climax. Like I said there was a ton of action, but it didn't seem to hit a high point, instead to me it all seemed pretty even. Because of that the end of the story kinda fell short for me. It was suppose to be this huge tension-filled scene but for me it was the same tension as in all the other scenes. I also found the story a bit short. When I got to the end I was looking/wanting more. I think if the story had been a bit longer, and given more more advancement of what would be the story over the whole series, I would've been happier. To a small degree it felt like it wasn't the whole book. Now my students who are reluctant readers won't have this same feeling. They will like a story that is full of action and doesn't go on forever, so for them it's perfect. And in the end that's who it's written for not for me :)
I do want to comment on Mack's phobias. Mack has a ton of them! But my favorite is the phobia of developing more phobias! That just shows how bad his are! Mack's phobias make him human (even though they are clearly over the top), more realistic and they had some fun humor.
For the Guys? 100% yes! Mack is a character they'll relate to and the story should interest them.
Final thought: Action, action and more action mixed well with humor.
Best stick-with-you image: The leprechauns at the airport
Best for readers who: Need short, fast paced books
Best for ages: 9-12
To read the first chapter - click below!