Maya and the Lord of Shadows (Maya and the Rising Dark 3)

Maya and the Lord of Shadows (Maya and the Rising Dark 3)
Age Range
Release Date
September 13, 2022
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War is coming. Despite everything Maya and her father have done, the veil that protects the human world is failing. The Lord of Shadows has raised an army powerful enough to challenge the orishas. And it’s only a matter of time before he breaks through the veil and destroys Maya’s neighborhood and the rest of the world.

Maya and her friends aren’t going down without a fight. She’s honing her guardian powers, with the help of two new allies—her long lost guardian sister and a mysterious darkbringer (who might be a double agent). But when an attack hits close to home, Maya doesn’t have any more time to prepare. She must face the Lord of Shadows or risk losing everything. With her friends—Eli, Frankie, Zeran, and Eleni—by her side, Maya leads the charge in an epic showdown that takes her across worlds and to the edge of the universe.

Will she succeed or will Darkness prevail, once and for all?

Editor review

1 review
Surviving the inevitable disaster
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
I’m always conscious of how well authors create hooks to reel readers into their books. This one presents two action sequences that develop interest and also help review previous happenings in the series. Readers who haven’t read the previous books, like me, or who need reminders will appreciate the descriptions of Maya’s previous encounters with the Lord of Shadows. These scenes share Maya’s relationship with Zeran, a former darkbringer, but it’s complicated by another character’s vision that he will betray Maya. Uncertainty, mistrust, and possible outcomes are immediately piqued. The next scene sees another darkbringer reappear and it turns out to be a trap and a precursor to a darkbringer invasion.
The author creates a seemingly impossible conflict to solve and makes things worse as the plot moves along. The Lord of Shadows earlier used powers from Maya and her sister to damage the veil between the Dark and human worlds and it turns out the veil is now irreparable. The celestials, the gods and goddesses with the most power, know the Lord of Shadows will eventually break through and they probably won’t be able to stop him once he does. Maya and her godling friends want to help but it’s apparent Maya’s previous victories against the darkbringers mean nothing this time. Maya’s character fights along with other godlings but she can’t shake the knowledge that her powers helped the Lord of Shadows grow stronger. The plot seems to count down the moments until he finally breaks through the veil and unleashes the Dark into the human world where all humans, godlings, and celestials will be killed.
The characters come with a variety of personalities and backgrounds that enhance the story and interactions. A school bully is an annoying braggart who constantly exaggerates his abilities and taunts Maya. Zeran and Maya are becoming close but they won’t admit that they might be more than friends. Zeran’s secrets and unpredictable emotions don’t help their relationship. The Lord of Shadows is annoyingly smug and confident as he knows it’s only a matter of time before he rules the universe. Maya’s father is a powerful celestial who regrets the consequences of creating the veil to separate the Dark from the humans. It’s a little unusual to see Maya and her sister having dinner at home with their parents after a day full of fighting darkbringers. Maya’s commitment to protecting the veil is confounded by her self-doubt regarding her inability to master her powers.
What didn’t work as well:
Despite the author’s efforts to recap important past events, readers starting with this book will probably feel like they’re missing something. Maya often faces foes she’s met before so readers won’t be fully aware of their past relationships and issues. However, as always, the concerns are easily remedied by reading the previous books first.
The Final Verdict:
The plot contains a couple of surprises but it presents much of what readers will expect in a typical middle-grade novel. Even though Maya has the potential to be the most powerful godling in the universe, it’s nice that she learns she can’t succeed by herself. Give it a shot!
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