Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Wrath of the Rain God by Karla Arenas Valenti

I'm excited about today's read because it happens to come from a writer I worked with years ago. I'm so happy to seeing her works appearing, and each one looks exciting, too! This is the first in a brand new series for middle graders, which circles around Mexican legends. I curious to see where it heads, so let's dive in!

Legendarios, Book 1
by Karla Arenas Valenti
Illustrated by Vanessa Morales
Middle Grade Fantasy
144 pages
ages 8 to 12

APRIL 16th!!!

Twins coping with moving to a new city get swept back in time by a magical book in this first book in the Legendarios chapter book series that’s Magic Tree House meets Heroes in Training!

Nine-year-old twins, Emma and Martín, couldn’t be more different in their personalities, interests, and even their looks. But one thing they absolutely agree on is that moving from Cuernavaca, Mexico, to Illinois is a terrible idea. Unfortunately, they’re not given a choice when their dad lands his dream job as a middle school principal in Chicago. To help the twins stay connected to their Mexican heritage, their abuela gifts them a book of Mexican legends. The book turns out to be more than a going away present…it’s a magical item that transports them directly into the legends!

In the first legend, Emma and Martín encounter Tlaloc, the god of rain. Tlaloc is angry because his lightning bolt has been stolen, and his rage is manifesting as a torrential downpour over the ancient city of Texcoco. The rain won’t stop until the lightning bolt has been returned, so Emma and Martín set out to recover it.

Will they find Tlaloc’s bolt in time to help the people of Texcoco save their home? Or will the wrath of the rain god mark the end of this legendary city?


There's little room for boredom as the tale heads from one difficult situation to the next, while throwing in insights into Mexican legends and myths.

Twins Emma and Martin are as different as different could be, which can cause tensions, but that's nothing to what they are now facing. When their father lands a dream job in Chicago, that means moving away from their beloved home in Mexico to the United States. To help them keep their ties to Mexico, their abuela gives them a book over Mexican legends. Soon, the twins discover it's actually magical. The book takes them to ancient Texcoco, where the lightning bolt has been stolen from the god of rain. He refuses to stop the heavy rainfall until his bolt is returned, and somehow, the twins need to accomplish this or history will see the end of Texcoco and be radically altered.

This is an exciting beginning to what promises to be a fun series. The twins make a wonderful duo and a pair of heroes, who are easy to connect with and root for. There is little depth to the characters, allowing the plot to push every page forward. The tale races along, making sure something is always happening. The book seems to aim more for the lower end of the middle grade audience and offers a buffer between shorter chapter books and deeper middle grade novels. This makes it a lovely read even for more reluctant readers.

Mexican legends come to life in a fun and adventurous way. While readers learn a bit about history and legends, it's kept light. Descriptions are held to a minimum, which fits well to this younger audience, and while a little more would have added richness, the balance keeps the tale entertaining. There are also nods to a thief, which promises much more to come and adds a clever way to bond the series. It will be fun to see where the twins head next.

And here they are...

Karla Arenas Valenti grew up in Mexico, a land of great myths and many legends. From a very young age, she loved getting lost in stories (and, in fact, she considers herself the very first Legendario). As a grown-up, she still loves getting lost in stories and is now creating adventures for readers to do the same. In addition to chapter books, Karla is the author of many picture books and middle grade novels. She currently lives in the Chicagoland area with her husband, three kids, two cats, and hundreds of books. 

Vanessa Morales is a Mexican illustrator, kid lit artist, and concept artist with a deep love for portraying nature, fantasy, and daily life with a touch of magic. She has been working in different fields of illustration for almost ten years.

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