When I picked up MISTER MAX: THE BOOK OF KINGS, the final installment of The Mister Max series by Cynthia Voigt, I knew it had to be amazing since it had the Newbery Medalist noted under the author’s name. The writing of Mister Max is positively gorgeous. It has a grand, sweeping vibe that reminds me of literary classics. A timeless writing style that will never lose its beauty.
The characters of Mister Max add to its timelessness. Max is our main character, though the story is told from a couple points of view. Though he is shy of his teen years, Max is incredibly wise. Most take him for being older. His taller-than-average stature also makes him seem older. Despite this, Max is much like any other preteen. Well, any other preteen with an uncanny talent for solving problems and sticky situations.
Max is the kind of character who urges you to settle in like a comfy blanket and warm fire. He has an ease about him that spills out of the pages and just makes you feel good. His quick wit and smart banter remind you he’s a kid, and his determination to be independent and self-sufficient speaks of an older person. The supporting characters add to this. Maybe its their trust in him, or their unwavering belief that he will do what needs to be done, but they all bring out the best in Max. Actually, it’s through these relationships that you see what an amazing character he is. Like most boys his age, he forgets that he’s just a kid and sometimes needs the help of an adult. Max’s spunky sidekick—or Solutioneer in training—Pia, Grammie, King Teodor, the Andesians, and the aloof artist, Joachim are just a few of the characters who reveal something new about Max we didn’t know or realize before.
Because of the sweeping nature of the writing, I found the pace to be slower than most middle grade books. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As I noted, the writing is quite lovely. Readers who enjoy a slow-building adventure full of smart dialogue and heavy doses of mystery will find treasures in the Mister Max books. Just as I did. Unraveling the mystery as to what happened to Max’s parents along with Max was immensely enjoyable.
If you’re looking for a fast-paced epic adventure, this is not your series. But! If you enjoy a slow burning, intelligent adventure full of relatable personalities, colorful backdrops, suspense and intrigue, as well as a dash of danger, then Mister Max will be more than happy to take your case.