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The Storm Runner: 05/04/20
The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes is the first book in a middle grade fantasy series that builds on Mayan myths. Zane lives in New Mexico near a dormant volcano. He loves exploring it until one night when a supernatural being crash lands in the volcano and sets in motion a series of events that will lead to a roadtrip and quite possibly the end of the world.
As this book is published under the Rick Riordan Presents label, it's no surprise that Zane is a demi-god. His physical problems (namely a leg that is shorter and weaker than the other) are a result of that pairing.
There are essentially two parts to The Storm Runner. There's the initial adventure inside the volcano and then there's the road trip to undo the events of the volcano. It's the secondary piece that puts this novel into the road narrative spectrum.
Before I analyze the road narrative aspect of this book, I want to add that my favorite part of the book was actually the bits set around the volcano. It had a similar feel location-wise to 24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling (2018) but with a supernatural foundation. The volcano itself could have been expanded into its own road narrative.
But that's not the direction The Storm Runner takes. Zane, his mother, and his uncle all set on a trip to save Rosie and stop the destruction of the world. Thus, the traveler isn't just Zane, it's his entire family (33). The family as traveler is a recurrent theme in hispanic road narratives — where the family is stronger than any one of the individuals, something that's not typically the case in non-hispanic road narratives.
The destination is utopia (FF) — or the underworld in this case. The goal is to get there to rescue Rosie and to return the psychic neighbor to her human form.
The route they take is the interstate (00). Their journey, save for the final destination is a conventional one, one that can be followed on Google Maps or even the older paper maps offered at gas stations or by places like AAA. The idea here is that if one is leaving from an out of the way place, say with an extinct volcano, the interstate can lead to even more extraordinary places.
All together Storm Runner is about a family seeking utopia via an interstate road trip.
The second book in the series is The Fire Keeper (2019). It was released in September.