Review of Max & the Midknights: Battle of the Bodkins

Max & the Midknights: Battle of the Bodkins
by Lincoln Peirce; illus. by the author
Intermediate    Crown    258 pp.    g
12/20    978-0-593-12590-8    $13.99
Library ed.  978-0-593-12591-5    $16.99
e-book ed.  978-0-593-12592-2    $8.99

This Max & the Midknights (rev. 1/19) sequel finds Max enrolled at KSB (Knight School of Byjovia), Millie learning magic from wizard Mumblin, Simon apprenticed at Kevyn’s dad’s stable, and Kevyn writing books. His debut, “The Tale of Max & the Midknights” (sound familiar?), leads the friends to their next mission: after Millie casts a spell to produce duplicates of the book, they discover that one of the copies is actually a bodkin, a.k.a. an almost identical evil copy/twin of the original. Bodkins can be people, too, and those living in the shadow world of Knot are planning an invasion of Byjovia. It’s up to the ­Midknights — including new character Sedgewick (one of Max’s classmates) — to save the kingdom, again. In Peirce’s latest comics-novel hybrid, humor abounds throughout the interplay of text, speech-bubble dialogue, and black-and-white illustrations (e.g., upon seeing an ominous-looking face form from the book bodkin’s pages, Uncle Budrick quips, “And people wonder why I’m a reluctant reader”). But Peirce also adds emotional depth to Max’s struggle with a very relatable anxiety: she wrestles with doubts about her skills (“What if I’m a lousy knight?”). An intriguing final twist for Max promises that fans of this mock-chivalric series will again be “seeing double” in a future installment.

From the March/April 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Cynthia K. Ritter
Cynthia K. Ritter

Cynthia K. Ritter is managing editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She earned a master's degree in children's literature from Simmons University.

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