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3.9 out of 5 stars
The Call (The Magnificent 12, Book 1)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When you're twelve years old and phobic about practically everything, you're not exactly hero material. Mack MacAvoy, however, doesn't have much choice. From the old guy appearing out of nowhere and talking complete nonsense to the golem that looks exactly like him (well, almost) and has come to take over his life, not to mention the other weird old guy who wants him dead, Mack's life isn't exactly his own anymore.

Then again, if you were suddenly offered limos, exotic destinations and one million dollars, you might decide to go along with the crazy peoples' ideas and start searching for the eleven other kids who might just help you save the world.

Well, unless you're Mack, who's scared of the ocean and just realised how much water lies between LA and Australia...

Fast-paced, funny and very east to read, Mack's out of control adventure is combined with events of 3000 years ago, when the last Magnificent 12 stopped the Pale Queen. Filled with great characters (the Golem was my particular favourite, though Stefan was good too) and plenty of action, this series starts with a pretty impressive bang. Historical accuracy might not always be high on the agenda, but fun is. And who doesn't like a bully-beating, phobic kid with more courage than you can shake a stick at? It gives hope to the hero in all of us.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
David "Mack" MacAvoy is twelve years old and really isn't hero materiel. Ordinary and average in every way, except in respect of how many phobias he has. Mack has twenty-one identified phobias, ranging from fear of confined spaces to fear of the ocean.

Bullied at school, Mack's life really wasn't anything special until an ancient wizard called Grimluck enters his life and informs him that he must now gather together twelve heroes and save the world from the Pale Queen and her daughter.

His place at home taken by a shape shifting Golem who is a close enough approximation to Mack that his inattentive parents don't notice, and accompanied by Stefan, the 15 year old Head Bully who is now Mack's self appointed protector, he sets off to Australia to begin recruiting the rest of The Magnificent Twelve.

Told as two interleaved plots, one set three thousand years ago where Grimluck and the original Magnificent Twelve battle the Pale Queen for the first time, and the modern plot where Mack battles the Pale Queen's daughter, I really rather enjoyed this story. The characters are great, particularly the semi-reformed bully Stefen, and the Golem who is trying to pretend to be Mack who really hasn't got a clue about how to be a twelve year old boy.

Overall: 4 stars - A fast moving and funny story with a very unlikely hero and a great cast of supporting characters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 16 June 2011
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a story of a quest to find twelve members of an elite group - The Magnificent 12 - led by Mack, who is 12 years old. This is the first in a series so introduces Mack and tells of his journey around the world.

It is aimed at upper juniors/lower secondary, this I feel is due to the ambitious language which is full of Americanisms, set as it is at an American High school.

It is a quick and enjoyable read with lots of chasing action and avoiding monsters.
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on 26 August 2011
I was very excited to get this book because not only was it free, it was by Michael Grant whose Gone books are a real favourite of mine. This is definitely a middle grade (9-12) book, however, and although I do like the occasional MG book that has good YA appeal this one was definitely well suited to the younger, and especially male, readership.

The main character, Mack, is a great hero, especially for kids as even though he has many flaws - including 21 phobias - he shows great courage by standing up to school bullies and taking the call to herodom in his stride. Having said that, Mack is quite a hard character to empathise with because the story is very narrator-centric. There's a lot of "and that's how our story goes" moments where the narrator, or writer, speaks directly to the reader so you feel a lot more removed from the characters than in a more character-centric book. The book is written in the third person but it almost feels like it should be classified as "fourth person" as the reader is following the characters through the medium of a narrator. I'm certain this book would be brilliant read aloud for that very reason as the person reading aloud then takes on the voice of the narrator but for reading in your head it can at times be quite intrusive.

There are some very funny moments in the story, and there are many moments that I'm certain a young male reader in particular would find hilarious. It's great to see that Michael Grant can do funny as well as serious thriller/horror, he's clearly a very versatile writer and I'm not surprised by this given how well he gets into the minds of all ages of children. Perhaps the funniest bits are the little notes at the end of each chapter from the golem who has taken Mack's place back home. Unfortunately, sometimes this humour can become very glib. This again makes it hard to connect to the characters as it feels like the narrator/writer is not taking the story seriously, which is a shame because it is actually a very good and potentially very engaging story. There are also lots of convenience moments in the book like when the kids fall out of the plane and land in the sea right next to the boat that is carrying the next character they need to find. Out of all the boats in all the oceans in all the world they just happened to land next to the right one. It feels like there was some severe restraint on word count but at the same time a strict list of the plot points that needed to be in the book and so to satisfy both the author just stuck in a huge convenience moment. It made the plot feel jagged and actually uncared for, like the realism is right at the bottom of the priority list for this story.

In all, The Magnificent 12: The Call is a great story but it is clearly not for the eyes of older teens or adults who want a lot more from a book. The narrator is overpowering and the characters hard to construct and at times it feels like the author doesn't care much but perhaps that is what tween boys really like - I'm afraid I don't know, I never was one.
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Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
12-year-old David "Mack" MacAvoy is not hero material. He's not big, smart or good looking and he's got loads of phobias. In fact, the only thing he is good at is standing up to bullies, a bad idea because his school is full of them. The worst of them is Stefan and when Mack crosses his path, he's expecting a pounding. Instead a mysterious old man called Grimluk intervenes to save Mack and tell him that he is one of the Magnificent Twelve - a group of 12 children who have been prophesied to save the world from the Pale Queen and her plans for domination.

Mack must find the other children before the Pale Queen escapes from the prison where Grimluk and the original twelve entombed her. But Mack is reluctant to do so, especially when the Pale Queen's forces, led by her evil daughter, Erekigal, make it clear how far they'll go to stop him ...

Michael Grant's novel is the first in a MG fantasy series. It tries to put a fresh spin on the well worn story of a child being chosen to battle an ancient evil and is filled with knowing references, e.g. Mack goes to Richard Gere Middle School, there are references to TV shows and films and the story's got a knowing omnipotent voice that jumps between Mack's story and Grimluk's own battle against the Pale Queen.

However for me the tone was too knowing and glib, preventing me from empathising with Mack e.g. his fear of flying is played for laughs, with other characters knocking him out to shut him up. Some of the cultural references, e.g. to The Sopranos seemed too mature for the target readership and Grant plays fast and loose with reality to suit the plot (e.g. one scene sees characters fall over 20,000 feet from a moving plane). Grimluk's story is perfunctorily told and played for laughs, which again stopped me empathising with the horrific events he goes though.

The one saving grace is the letters sent to Mack by his golem replacement, who doesn't understand how the world works as they leave the details up to the reader's imagination and genuinely made me laugh.

All in all it's an okay read but there's nothing new here and the tone and story structure never quite rings true enough to make it stand out.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 February 2011
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
At first glance 12 year old David MacAvoy (Mack) is an unlikely candidate to save the world and become one of the greatest heroes in human history. He's rather unassuming and prone to a large number of phobias, he's dealing with a tired, overworked mother who never talks about why his dad left and opposing the bullies in his new school.

The fantasy quickly unfolds as a golem arrives at Mack's home to impersonate him as Mack version 1 travels the world to locate 11 other children with the abilities to finally destroy an ancient evil known as the Pale Queen. As Mack and his friend (and ex-bully) Stefan travel to Australia to find the second member of the Magnifica; an evil-busting team of young heroes, he catches the attention of the Pale Queen's daughter and her deadly minions.

This is a cracking start to a new fantasy series. It's quirky, creepy, thrilling in places and has genuinely funny chuckle out loud moments; predominantly surrounding the messages the rather hapless golem sends to Mack, although Grimluck is another character who raises a few smiles. The magic is exciting as the abilities of the Magnifica are mentioned, but not too much is revealed to maintain a healthy interest in book 2; scheduled for release later this year. The pace of the plot is steady throughout and cleverly weaves together 2 stories set thousands of years apart but connected by magic and an evil enemy. Mack is a believable hero, whilst the villains are scary and certainly seem to outmatch the good guys. A highly entertaining 4.5 stars.
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on 20 February 2011
I picked this up at work because I was looking (and failing) to find something to give to my year 7 boys' book group that wasn't just another action adventure. It's so hard to find any light relief for boys of that age these days. But this hit the nail on the head perfectly. This was actually laugh-out-loud funny. I started reading it on the bus home and got very strange looks! It's such a breath of fresh air in a market dominated by high-octaine thrills, explosions and murders as if that's all that teenage boys want to read. Sometimes they just want to have fun too.
I'm just slightly concerned that this is the start of a series called the Magnificent 12. That implies another 11 titles and that's fine, so long as Michael Grant can churn them out with some speed. There's nothing worse than an author committing to a big series and then failing to deliver the conclusion for years. Take Garth Nix and Mr Monday as a case in point. But the Magnificent 12 has a lot of comparisons with Anthony Horowitz's 'Circle of Five' series where a band of teenagers who don't know each other have to unite to save the world. This is similar but the writing style is more like Rick Yancey's Alfred Kropp books in it's humour. We want more - but quickly please Mr Grant :)
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on 9 October 2011
Michael Grant is undoubtedly my favourite author ever. He wrote the infamous Gone franchise, which still isn't finished yet and I simply adore, so I was willing to give this book a go. It definantly is something different to Gone and it's hard to tell that it was written by the same author, which I don't know is a good thing or a bad thing. The book is a nice read (not brilliant) but I think that Michael Grant should stick to Gone and write this book when he's finished the Gone franchise. Good god it's AGONISING having to wait until APRIL, 2012 FOR THE NEXT GONE BOOK!!! On top of that, I saw somewhere that the sixth and final book in the Gone franchise won't be out until 2013!! I know that all that time, he'll be writing both these books at once, since this book has a second.
So overall, this book is nice but not brilliant, and definantely isn't as good as the author's other pieces of work. Should you buy it? Well, like I said above, you either love it or hate it. It's mainly fantasy where a boy has to go all around the world looking for 11 other kids, and by the end of this book he's only found 1. I'm sure it won't be your most favourite book ever, but I'd probably borrow this one from the library first before actually buying it.
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on 26 December 2013
THE MAGNIFICENT 12 booksare very interesting to read, they are odd in the sense of that the English, for some reason, are not in their good books.

I protest to that. Otherwise, I would have given this 5 (*****) stars.
Also, Risky is meant to be beautiful. Why does she never turn into a monster in a bikini?

READ ON FOR SPOILING OFTHE NEXT BOOK

Mack is captured by William Blisterthong McGuffin and is catapulted into castle wall. He splats on the wall and dies, the end. Actully,Mack gets turned into a part bird, and flies to safety.

NEXT PART

Mack and the Magnifica make the Eiffel Tower float over to the other side of a river! Risky, being an annoying brat, turns into a dragon and tries to eat the Magnifica. The big, leathery, fire breathing dragons come and incinerate Risky.

I WILL LET YOUREADTHE BOOK YOURSELF FROM NOW ON!

See ya,
Bookwyrm of awesomeness, out!
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Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Mack MacAvoy is our hero. He is twelve years old and is fairly average, or as The Maginificent 12: The Call by Michael Grant would say, he has a case of mediumness. He is afraid of everything like heights, the dark, enclosed spaces, but absolutely fearless in the face of bullies. The school Mack goes to has bullies for every clique and Mack runs fowl of the bullies and just as he is about to get beat up, he actually winds up saving the king of the bullies, Stefan, thus coming under Stefan's protection. More craziness ensues and Mack gets a golum in his image, meets a crazy old man named Grimluk and discovers he is one of the Maginificent 12 and must find the rest of the 12 to defeat the villain.

A very witty and humourous book that is reminiscent of Monty Python, only this is for kids. Great!
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