cotaCurse of the Ancients (Infinity Ring #4) by Matt de la Pena
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: NetGalley
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Fix the past. Save the future.

What is the secret history connecting the SQ to the Ancient Mayans?

Review:
So. Some summary there, huh? Really makes you wonder things like, “wtf is the SQ?” or “wtf are these books even about?” I’m sure the paper book has a better summary on the back. I hope so, anyway, because the opening of this novel is awesome. It’s Sera-centeric, and it’s kind of raw and emotional. Sera not only caught a glimpse of the Cataclysm (which disturbed her so much, she repressed the memories), but she’s also affected by Remnants. Bits and pieces of the Cataclysm are starting to come back to her, and it’s not pretty or nice. Something I was reminded of in this book, though, is that Sera is a person of color. She’s Hispanic, and Dak makes reference to how she looks much like the ancient Maya. So two out of three main characters in this series are people of color. Yay, progress! Speaking of progress, why is it that Dak has a little character development every book (mostly where he learns to control his urge to run off), and then is the exact same annoying little boy in the next one? Granted, he’s upset by what he sees as Sera ignoring him for Riq and by Dak’s parents being lost in time, but Dak really thinks highly of himself and his ability to get out of trouble. He’s spiteful and more than a little delusional. I don’t like calling eleven-year-olds “delusional,” but there it is. Dak drives me absolutely bonkers. Riq is definitely experiencing some changes, but more of the hormonal variety set off by a pretty Mayan girl. I laughed only a little at Riq’s expense here. He was just super clueless and cute. The main problem in this one, though, is that Sera has seemingly transported them to the wrong century. Dak suspects they can learn something while there, and he has a few suspicions about what they are.

Unfortunately (?), Dak can’t really make do on these suspicions because he’s in a coma for the better part of the first half, so Sera and Riq run around trying to figure out the riddle for themselves. And they do, of course. In fact, this story is split into two–the ancient Maya and the age of the conquistador (which is a terribly sad and frankly genocidal period of history. Go, Europe!). But like, learning what Sera saw when she experienced the Cataclysm made me cry. It’s an emotional journey for Sera, and she’s only eleven. Even a mature eleven-year-old can only handle so much misery and horror. And Riq is experiencing a little heartbreak. AND Dak has to go and redeem himself with his amusing inner monologue and musings about Sera’s origins. I almost liked him in the later middle chapters. Riq and Sera both have immediate emotional issues in this one, while Dak’s main problem remains his parents being lost in time.

I really really liked this one. It made me excited about the series again! I was lucky enough to snag a paper ARC of the next book in the series, Cave of Wonders, at the annual ALA conference at the end of June. Thanks, Scholastic! So what I’m getting at is the next Infinity Ring review should be up and ready very soon!