Thursday, July 09, 2020

Muse Squad: The Cassandra Curse

Acevedo, Chantal. Muse Squad: The Cassandra Curse
July 7th 2020 by Balzer + Bray
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Callie Martinez-Silva lives in Miami, Florida with her mother and older twin brothers; her father left the family and now lives in New York with his new wife, whom Callie finds out is expecting. Callie's best friend, Raquel, wants to try out for the school play but is very nervous, especially since she is up against Violet, who is very mean. Callie has a weird experience and seems to somehow empower her friend to do an awesome audition, although a broken light puts Callie in the hospital. There, she is visited by a cryptic doctor, who tells her things about herself. Back home, Racquel's video goes viral, and she gets approached to do a television talent show. Her fame grows and grows, and the girls fall out. Callie is very busy-- she is transported to London's Victoria and Albert museum, and thinks that she is hallucinating due to pain medication. She's not; the cryptic doctor turns out to be Clio, a muse who helps Callie and other young muses inspire people. That's right. Just like her dear, departed aunt, Callie is the muse of epic poetry, and will use her powers to inspire people to be heroes. Along with fellow muses Thalis, Mela and Nia, who are from different parts of the world and all her age, she undertakes her first mission. Maya Rivero is a super smart classmate whose science projects will eventually help the global climate change problem. The three girls enroll in Callie's school as exchange students and live in her house, and try to help Maya. They are up against the Sirens, who show up at odd places in various evil guises and work against them. Will the Muses be strong enough to make Maya's science dreams come true despite the Sirens' interference? And will she manage to make things right with Raquel?
Strengths: Well, of COURSE the home base for the Muses is the V&A. Love that place! It was great that Callie was just an average kid with an average life, with some common problems, like divorced parents and a friend who was pursuing things she wasn't herself. The fact that she also had powers and got to travel to London magically... hurrah! Having read too many quest style novels lately, it was refreshing that the mission was to inspire someone who would help humanity. There was just enough mythology in this one to make it interesting but not confusing. The action and adventure were also nicely balanced with the standard middle school culture. The addition of a variety of cultural backgrounds was nice to see as well.
Weaknesses: I never got a good feel for Thalia, Mela and Nia, but there was a lot going on to set up the story. Perhaps they will develop more in the next book.
What I really think: I will purchase this, and know the first student to whom I will hand this. (She's a big fan of Rick Riordan, Shanon Messenger, and Kate O'Hearn, and this book is a great twist on mythology for readers who love their work.)

Ms. Yingling

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