Max and the Spice Thieves: Secrets of the Twilight Djinn
by John Peragine
Crumblebee Books

"My dad was a great captain in the Spice Guild’s fleet. He left me a message to find him here. I know he still lives."

Max Daybreaker, the protagonist in this young adult fantasy, refuses to believe that his dad is dead. He has to be out there, somewhere. When Max wakes one morning, his mother surprises him, saying they are going on a special journey. Max always has his favorite book nearby, The Secrets of the Twilight Djinn, given to him by his father before disappearing somewhere in the three seas. Max has no idea about the journey upon which he will embark, nor how the events and magical creatures in his favorite book will come into play in Max's own action-packed adventure.

Along the way, he meets Captain Cornelius Cinn—Spice Pirate and commander of the ship Saucy Pig, his nemesis Price Abad, the evil Witch Queen and her harpies, a girl named Linzy who turns out to be the queen of Arctus, shape-shifting snow bears, Three-Eyed Sally, and the evil Djinn themselves. Ultimately, as Max reunites with his father, he learns the truth about his parents' past and heroic actions. "Your power is love," Nicholas Daybreaker tells his son. But will this be enough to defeat the heartless Djinn and its entire Army of Twilight?

Peragine has crafted a highly enjoyable read, absolutely full of adventure and fantastical worlds with their own creatures and various environs. It's a wonderfully creative tale that any lover of young adult fantasy fiction will enjoy. Literary imagination reigns in Peragine's exciting page-turner, as the reader's rapt attention is engaged from the very start. In the end, the messages gleaned are too important not to mention: family and love are all that matter, and, through the thick of it all, goodness does win out over evil.

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