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"My fears are not the boss of me," Max. —80 Days or Die
80 Days or Die
Max Tilt #2
by Peter Lerangis
AR Test, Diverse Characters
Jules Verne’s left behind an unpublished manuscript, The Lost Treasure. When Max and his cousin, Alex, follow the clues and end up rich, they think all of their problems are solved. But when Max’s friend becomes gravely ill and Max’s mother’s illness returns, Max and his cousin take a deeper look into Verne’s history.
They discover that Verne miraculously recovered from a near-fatal gunshot wound. The Lost Treasure hints that Verne discovered magical healing elements that allowed him to recover from his wounds. Using clues from Around the World in 80 days, Max and Alex set out on a daring adventure to learn more of Verne’s secrets and heal Max’s mom and friend.
80 Days or Die begins with fun riddles that readers will enjoy trying to figure out. When Max and Alex head out on their journey, they meet several new people who they bring on their trip. Although Max seems fascinated by facts, he doesn’t take the time to do any research on the people who travel with him. Can these new friends be trusted? The question adds to the suspense, but the blind faith in random strangers doesn’t ring true.
Like the first installment of the Max Tilt series, 80 Days or Die jumps from location to location in a rush against time. Younger readers will enjoy seeing a fascinating underground cavern, strange wolf people, the icy Antarctica and a glimpse of the desert. Several times throughout the story, Max and Alex just happen to run into the perfect person to assist them. Although the additional characters were needed to advance the plot, their appearance and willingness to help is unrealistic.
Lerangis writes a solid adventure, sprinkled with surprises and interesting landscapes. However, having a cast of untrustworthy supporting characters made the story less fun. After all of the hardships Max and Alex endured in Fire the Depths, their trusting nature seemed misplaced. Max and Alex’s blind trust in other people will bother some readers, especially when one of the characters they trust ruins a perfectly happy ending.
- When looking for someone, Max and his friend “stopped at a booth where a couple in matching black leather jackets were in the middle of a long kiss.”
- When Max takes an object, the natives threw a rock at a man in the group. “With a soft thud, the rock hit the back of Sergei’s head, and he dropped to the ground. The wolf people were surrounding him now. . . With a leap, he decked one of the wolf people with a solid martial-arts kick to the jaw. . . The wolf people backed away.” During the fight, a kid is pushed into a hole, where her arm is injured.
- Max and another man race toward a house. They jump on yaks, but when Max pulls ahead, Nigel grabs him. Max “hit the ground hard, the pain shot up his spine . . . The pain came in waves.” Later, someone causes a yak to collide into Nigel and the man falls, and “he moaned, writhing in agony.”
- A woman holds a gun on Max and is friends. There is a struggle for the gun, and the woman falls into a crevice. Max also falls into the crevice. “He was panting. Sweating. Achy.” His friends save him and help the woman.
- Two people are arguing when a man with a gun approaches. Max jumps at the man, “With a cry, they both fell to the ground. The gun flew out of the man’s hand and slid off.” After a short scuffle, the man “Lifted Max off the ground. Mag struggled against the man’s grip, but his fists were like stone.” Someone helps Max by hitting the man on the head, and the attacker “fell to the ground, limp.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- In a moment of excitement, a character says, “Good God, what is it?”
- Someone says, “I’ll be darned.”
- One of the characters asks Max if “Plan B stands for ‘boneheaded’?”
- “Oh dear Lord” is used as an exclamation once.
- Wolf people watch over coils. The coils “fell from the sky one day, like holy rain. They do things—make people sick, punish for bad hunting season . . . the usual local superstitions.” The coils changed the people, making them look like wolf people. The people believe the coils are sacred and “they must protect holy coils from intruders.”
- Max, who likes facts, said, “God is in the factoids.”