Zoey Le Mar doesn’t have the traditional worries about being a freshman in high school: getting good grades, having good complexion and hair, or bullying. Staying alive is her main concern, even with magical armor, an ancestral guide, and defensive training. She has survived monstrous golems and possessive ghosts, but she also knows she’s a lightning rod for the supernatural. More will be coming. Zoey has accidentally included her friends, Danielle, Lucy, Rhea, Tricky, and Gabe, into her familial responsibility, and they are a great help, as well as a heavy burden.
This weekend starts a huge Chinese New Year celebration in Sacramento, California, and strange dreams and premonitions occur, yet again. But this time, they center around Lucy and her Chinese heritage. Lucy and Rhea get pulled into a past event of an ancient monster, the Nián, attacking a Chinese village. After being shocked and disturbed by this incident, an old sage from the historical flash warns them the monster will be coming for them, and soon.
Adding to the evolving problems, an exiled artist from Russia, Nikoli Ducov, has drawn a picture of Lucy in her armor, and it’s mysteriously distributed around school. But wait, more bad news develops. A disgraced reported, Jenna Jones, is snooping around the high school, looking for her way back to the top. And if that wasn’t enough, former friend and rival teammate, Allison Neely, is attending this high school too.
Reeling with all the budding craziness, Zoey and friends seek out their Sensei who has some news of his own, some includes Major Gerard Armstrong. Emotions boil, and wild magic ignites, a reoccurring problem. A new power exasperates an explosion that levels Sensei’s dojo. Many are rocked to the core. Interrupting the teens’ backward slide, the Nián finds them.
What will Zoey do? How will she lead them? Will she, and the others, survive and prevail?
“Blessed Brahma!” Rhea’s eyes widened.
Zoey gasped. “Are you freaking kidding me?”
“Move.” Gabe waved at them. “Get out of there.”
The Major yelled, “It’s going to bring down the entire building! Everyone, get outside. To the parking lot out front. Pronto!”
The building complained as the walls shook and the floor quaked.
The rest of the body of the T-Rex burst out of the floor, sending wooden planks flying. As it stood erect, its head mashed through the roof, causing ceiling chucks to fall. After the dust cleared, three skeletal velociraptors climbed out of the rift too.
Tricky smacked his forehead and questioned, “Fricking really?”
“Previous statement repeated,” Gabe grumbled.
Lucy stirred and rubbed her head. “Ow. What I miss?”
“Nothing much.” The Major extended a hand and helped Lucy up. “I can see why you all need help.”
“Ooo, sarcasm and brutal honesty. What a great combo,” Lucy mocked.
“You bet.” The Major smirked.
Two skeletons surged toward them.
The Major kicked up a wooden practice katana, grabbed it, swung it in a wide arc, and decapitated both of them.
“Quite impressive. I think Sensei chose well.”
The Major grinned. “Oh just wait. I have so much torture for you all.”
“Ooo, color me excited. … Not.”
Two more skeletons surprised the Major from behind. One knocked the wooden katana free.
As they grabbed for him, Lucy danced in. “Sorry he’s my dance partner.”
With lightning speed and precise strikes, she beheaded the one on the left first then the one on the right.
The Major retrieved the practice katana and said, “You can take it and dish it out. You shall be challenging indeed.”
“You bet.” Lucy beamed.
Chunks of the ceiling fell and parts of the wall separated, drawing their attention.
“Ready for some more fun, sir.” Lucy looked around their immediate area.
“Too bad, so sad. Here we go, anywho.” Lucy located a shadow and dragged the Major into it.
Zoey Le Mar no longer has a boring preteen life in the suburbs. Magical armor, a ghostly ancestral guide, and monsters always popping up remind her how denial and a veil of secrets got her, and her friends, where they are today. Coming full circle, during a fun multifamily vacation to Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, strange dreams and premonitions began to occur, again. However, this time, they involve Danielle and her Native American heritage. The visions are of a time when the white man deceived and disseminated the native inhabitants. While shocking and disturbing, Zoey, Danielle, Lucy, and Rhea talk amongst themselves about the bizarre incidences and convince themselves that what’s going is non-magical in nature or life threatening; hence, the parents don’t need to know.
More dreams and premonitions intrude and weigh heavily on Danielle. Even Lucy gets pulled into one, somehow. The visions revolve around a young teen, a shaman-in-training, and a strange pattern forms as accidents start to happen. Luckily, the girls cover; however, they dismiss or rationalize, again. Rhea does not like this approach, and after a special trip—a magical spirit walk—the girls finally come clean and inform the parents. Though severely reprimanded, the consensus is there is no danger, and this weirdness is part of the girl’s multifaceted training. Many aren’t happy with this, and the vacation continues.
During an exploration of another cliff dwelling, a secret cavern is discovered, and angry Native American ghosts are unwittingly released. To make matters worse, the ghosts possess girls’ parents, and through Danielle’s mother, they gain access to magic. The ghosts want revenge and to reclaim a life once lost.
Now, hard decisions demand action. Can Zoey lead her friends, protect innocence bystanders, and choose between secrets or safety and lies or sacrifice?
“They did what?” Shalana Le Mar exclaimed.
Kati Le Mar placed a hand on her shoulder. “They did what children do. Be curious, and get into mischief.”
“Bum bum bole, and it’s not even the girls,” Indira Khan said flippantly.
All eyes travelled to her, some with arched brows and some with penetrating stares. She felt their weight and turned away from the group.
Ranger Kurr said, “Okay, not going to even try and understand what’s going on here. The park service has heard rumors of these tunnels throughout the region, but this is the first one anyone here has ever come across. I need to call this in. This is huge. Then we’ll figure out how to find the—”
Doug interrupted and put a hand on her shoulder. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. I have another idea, if everyone’s willing.”
He eyed the girls.
“Absolutely not!” Shalana interjected. “I know what you’re planning
“It’s the most sensible plan of action,” Doug said. “The girls are small enough, and we all know they are most capable, even if trouble arises.”
Deodan Khan spoke up, “Now, why would you say something like—”
“Wait a minute,” Cole Le Mar interjected. “Is something else going on?”
“Whoa, time out. Just one second. I’m still here. In the room. And can hear you.” Ranger Kurr made a T with her hands. “And I’ll let that last comment pass. I don’t need to know. But—”
Three screams reached them, Patricia, Jason, and Varun’s, and cut her off.
“Get in there, now!” Leotie took over and pointed at the doorway. “Zoey, show Ranger Kurr why she doesn’t need to worry about you girls. Do your special twirl.”
“What?” Zoey questioned, cocking her head. “How do you know about—”
“I can’t let you do that.” Ranger Kurr headed the girls off and blocked the tunnel entrance. “There’s a safety—”
“Oh, I believe you about the safety issue. That’s why we’re sending the girls.” Leotie smirked. “Zoey, do the spin.”
Zoey dared not look at her parents but turned to Lucy. “But I don’t even have glasses or a purse.”
Lucy rolled her eyes then lightly slapped her in the back of her head. “Lynda Carter you are not. Just get on with it already.”
“Sheesh, okay.” Zoey spun in a circle. The sound of a thundercloud roared and a bright white light with red edges exploded from the center of her. After a few seconds, she stopped her spin, and she pressed her fists to her sides. She wore tall red boots and a golden tiara, bracelets, and belt with lasso over a familiar red and blue one piece with white stars.
Ranger Kurr’s eyes bulged out, and her jaw dropped open.
“Like we need this.” Danielle closed her eyes and pressed the bridge of her nose.
Lucy smacked her forehead. “What a show-off.”
“Oh my word.” Rhea glared at her. “You mean you’ve had your armor on the whole time?”
Ranger Kurr sputtered, “What the—How the—”
“Girls, go now.” Leotie moved Ranger Kurr out of the way. “The rest of you change in route. We’ll take care of Ranger Kurr. Please, be careful.”
The girls saluted then crawled into the tunnel.
I am so overjoyed that this series of smart strong girls is continuing. Since my daughter is a reluctant and picky reader, the more positive role models I can find for her the better, and this series, which has four girls to choose from, delivers that in spades. She loved the first book, Zoey Le Mar and the Veil of Fear, so much. It helped her come out of her shell a bit. Then when I handed her the next book, she jumped up and down, squealed, and then ran to her room to read. She devoured it within a week. She loved the Native American tie in, and that this time around the adventure focused around Danielle. She liked the fact that the girls had to figure this one out on there own, that there were ghosts involved, and that they still kick some butt. (Her words, not mine). I can't say enough about this book and the effect it has had on my daughter. I look forward to book three. Thank you so much, Mr. Lopez.
My friend Mai recommended that I get this book (and the first one) for my daughter. She said they have multicultural girls who are smart heroes. I said okay, but like a good shopper, I read the reviews. That favored my decision to buy them. I gave them to my daughter, who was leery at first, being summer and all, but I insisted. She loved reading them. "Mom, like OMG, these girls are so super cool, smart, funny, and uber brave. They hardcore rock." I'm taking that as a win-win. I also gleamed, from her talking nonstop about these books (which is another good sign) that these smart strong girls of color still make mistakes and have to figure whatever their problems are. Another plus is the theme of friendship and family. That is always good. I highly recommend this book.
Zoey Le Mar and the Wrath of the Anasazi is the second in a series of young adult books featuring Zoey and her best friends, all of whom are blessed with a few magical powers that provide them with fascinating adventures. Their parents know about their "magic." In this particular volume the parents take them on a family vacation thinking it will be safer that way, planning a fun but educational vacation to the ancient lands of the Anasazi from whom one child is descended. A little paradox with time travel adds a history lesson come excitingly alive, dangerously so. Readers will enjoy the twists and turns as well as be fascinated by the real story of the ancient natives of the North American continent. A very good out loud summer read that can morph into discussions of our ancient peoples or as travel reading for your tweens and teens. You will be watching for the next adventure once you have "met" Zoey.
Zoey Le Mar and the Wrath of the Anasazi by Michael S. Lopez is a children's fantasy thriller set at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. Michael hooks the reader in the first chapter with a flashback of an attack on a Native American cliff dwelling. Then, in the next chapter, Zoey and her friends explore the same cliff dwelling in the present day, but this time, it is Danielle Hernandez, not Zoey, who gets inundated with dreams of the past and premonitions of upcoming danger. They are tied to Danielle's Native American heritage and the cruelty that happened at the park in the past. As the story unfolds, a novice shaman is at the core of Danielle's visions and the overall unfolding puzzle. Adding to the chaos, angry ghosts are released from their hidden tomb and possess the parents wanting to live again.
I was captivated by all the twists and turns of this roller-coaster fantasy thriller. This book has strong characters, brilliant descriptions, and gripping storyline. It is a must read.
Michael Lopez's sequel is a captivating and delightful fantasy that continues to place girls at the forefront of the action. As an uncle of a teenage niece, I was excited to find smart strong sassy female leads in an adventure fantasy novel. These characters have depth, the action is abound, and the story is fresh and exciting. Mr. Lopez's definitely understands the need for these types of role models and pegs his characters after the young girls of today. His mystical adventure would fit perfectly along side Rick Riordan, Eion Coifer, and J K Rowling's novels. Great job, Mr. Lopez. I look forward to seeing more for you.
Zoey Le Mar (British)
After being plagued by dreams and urgent premonitions, Zoey learned of a bizarre familial obligation tied to real monsters and magic. Dumb luck, ingenuity, and courage saw her through, and she became the savior of her family—but at a price. She has dragged her friends into her obligation and put them into mortal danger. To make matters worse, this acquired magic has tied them to her forever. But what does the future hold, and will she be able to see them through, again? This worries her.
Danielle Hernandez (Native American/Hispanic)
Reserved and analytical, Danielle is the librarian to the Internet superhighway. She does research and gets answers to questions that arise during a mystery or crisis. Pulled out of her cyber-world shell, she is the go-to girl of this odd quartet. Sometimes, her quiet reserve is tested, and she becomes the lion, not the lamb.
Lucy Le Mar (Chinese)
Fiery and crafty, Lucy fears little as she responds thoughtfully to any situation. She has learned to temper a biting tongue and a sharp wit with being demure and polite, her yin versus her yang. This is hard for her. She is a fighter and champions for the underdog. She dares and challenges. She is the fierce heart of this team.
Rhea Khan (East Indian)
Innocent and logical, Rhea, the newest member to this Traveling Pants’ circle, brings a balance to the others. She thinks before she acts. She is the questioning conscience who calls for caution and forethought when times are tough or getting hairy. However, when push comes to shove, she has learned how to shove, hard.
Tricky O’Leary (Irish)
Local group home bad boy, Tricky, is an outsider looking in, and he likes it that way. He will fight, cheat, steal, or lie to get his way, and if that doesn’t work, he’ll use his street smarts and look for a weakness or an opportunity. If that doesn’t work, he’ll be charming and loquacious. To him, the end justifies the means.
Gabriel Santoro (Italian)
The latest addition to team Zoey, Gabe is suave, daring, and sharp, so reminiscent of Tricky. However, unlike Tricky, Gabe has learned to find a balance, mull things over, and find a happy medium. He wants to better himself, but Tricky finds a way to tempt him and bring him back to the old ways. Regardless, Gabe is still hopeful and tries nonetheless. (See book two).
Nikoli Ducov (Russian)
Nikoli is bright, creative, and passionate but he has learned to live as an outsider by cultural wariness and internal shyness. He wears his heart on his sleeve, though he tries to hide it due to past events. Even with his introspective personally, his amazing artistic flare makes up for his shortcomings. Nikoli takes in all the details before processing an opinion
Allison Neely (African American)
Passionate and daring, Allison prefers the limelight to be on her, just her. She is shrewd, competitive, and strong-minded. Sometimes, that is a strength and a weakness. She has a hard time finding a balance or being apologetic. To her, failure is proof that desire wasn’t strong enough. So desire more fiercely. (See book three).
Zoey Le Mar has, what she thinks, is a typical preteen life in the suburbs: soccer, a strict yet loving father and mother, a pesky little brother, Owen, and two best friends, Danielle Hernandez and Lucy Le Mar. Without warning, during the preparations for Owen’s birthday party, Zoey receives her first premonition, based on a secret truth. It starts to undermine her once peaceful, eleven-year-old existence. The forewarning matches a recurring dream that has plagued Zoey since Owen’s current age. The premonition and dream involve mystery, monsters, and magic. At first, Zoey ignores off the forewarning, not really realizing what’s going on or the importance of it. The premonition involves a family secret, a forgotten responsibility, many generations removed.
As Owen’s birthday party begins, more premonitions intrude and stagger Zoey. Even her cousin Lucy gets pulled into one somehow. Then a strange present, another two-feet-tall gargoyle statue, adds to the continuing mystery of her family and this evolving day. Still wary, Zoey dismisses the warnings and all the coincidences guiding her. Humor becomes her favorite avenue to deflect the strangeness. Though ignored, the premonitions expand and continue to haunt Zoey.
The party ends and Lucy goes home. With that avenue of communication closed, Zoey finds solace by going to Danielle’s house. On her way there, Tricky O’Leary, a fellow classmate and local bad boy, stops her. He discovers something’s wrong and tries to help. Zoey brushes off his offer and ditches him. Once the coast is clear, she continues onto Danielle’s house and gets chased by what she thinks are monsters. But she’s not sure. She makes it to Danielle’s house and ducks inside. However, a classmate and fellow teammate, Rhea Khan, taking out the trash, sees what chases Zoey, and it becomes her problem. In the meanwhile, Danielle helps Zoey investigate the strange happenings of the day, the gargoyle present, and her family story. But an odd accident occurs when Zoey and Danielle get too close to the bizarre truth.
Now, inadvertently, all four girls, Zoey, Lucy, Rhea, and Danielle, are involved with the Le Mar family secret, possessing pieces of the puzzle. As night falls, the ignored premonitions start to come true. From a pocket dimension, the high priest of the monsters, the golems, orders some of his clan to cross over and hunt for the disturbers of the truth. Zoey’s ripple effect has many results: an accidental kidnapping of Rhea then Lucy, Owen getting taken, Zoey crossing over with an animated gargoyle protector, Danielle being dragged into this mess, and Tricky finding a way there too.
Can Zoey find a way to believe in herself and take control of this situation? Can Zoey find a way to fulfill her destiny and end this forgotten responsibility? Can Zoey find a way to do what’s right and save herself, her friends, and her brother?
An action by the cloaked man drew her attention. He added earth to the violated, mutilated corpses.
(Zoey thought.) That must be the secret ingredient, the morbid final touch.
She received an answer as the cloaked man took powder from one of his belt pouches and threw it up in the air. He waved his hands in the air and uttered some strange words.
Okay, fine, I was wrong. That powder is his last ingredient. That means he’s casting a spell over his new undead creations. … Now, why do I know that? It is somehow familiar, yet it is not. Oh, never mind, this will make me have a brain fart.
She snickered at the horror being subjected; nervous inappropriate humor fueled her where bravery should. She spied at the gruesome scene some more.
I sense therapy in the future. Lots of it.
She smirked. The cloaked man weaved his hands, and energy blazed forth. Dark green bolts of lightning arced and zapped each of the Frankenstein-like dolls.
The cloaked man raised his hands. "Rise, my golems. Rise. Your master is calling you. It is time to exact my revenge."
The newly created zombies crackled from the residual magic and spasmed to life. Zoey shuddered and hugged herself. The graveyard monsters groaned and stood upright.
The earthen golems with their fiery emerald eyes cried out in unison, “We live. Command me, Lord.”
Loud applause shocked her out of the continuing premonition. Zoey's breathing raced, and she found herself slumped up against a wall. She rose slowly, still using the wall for support. She shook a little bit then hugged herself for some small comfort.
What the hairy heck? What' s happening to me?
Aaron - Placerville, CA
(I asked my son, 12, to write a review from a youth's perspective. This is his review). I just finished the book! It was just the right length for me. I read it in about a week. I liked how the author, Mr. Lopez, made the disappearances scary with the glowing eyes, rustling movements, and creaking floorboards; though any younger child would have been frightened and hid under their covers. My favorite character is Lucy because she has the coolest weapons, and she knows how to use them. My second favorite character is Nash, the gargoyle, because I'm "into" mythology and mythical creatures. I also like Nash because he was a "good guy". I didn't like the parts where the parents were grieving for their children because it took away from the action. I liked the book so much that I stayed up until 10:00 reading, and my mom kept telling me to go to sleep before I was ready to. My favorite part of the book was when the characters started inheriting their powers and learning to use them. I think it would be cool to have those powers in real life! It didn't bother me that the characters were all girls (except for the beginning when they were being drama-mamas). I would recommend this book to people who like action, adventure, monsters, and magic.
Mike, Fayetteville, AR
Eleven-year-old Zoey Le Mar was awakened in the middle of the night by vague whispering and creaking floorboards. A face pressed in the curtains warned her of impending danger. And, as if that weren't enough, she heard raspy breathing and sounds of sluggish movement; something was inching closer to her bed. Something clawed at her covers, pulling her blanket toward the foot of the bed, and she found herself staring at a three-foot-tall monster with glistening eyes and wings sprouting from its back.
I've never been a fan of the fantasy genre, but Michael S. Lopez's book captured my attention and propelled me with lightning speed through one of the most exciting children's novels I've ever had the pleasure of reading, thus changing my outlook.
This delightfully-terrifying novel of magic, mayhem, and monsters is rife with non-stop, fast-paced action and intrigue throughout. The well-developed and realistic characters are anything but passive, and as the story unfolds, they provide a remarkable role model for young girls of all races and ethnicities, giving them a sense of empowerment. I found Mr. Lopez's novel to be well-written and a must-have for middle-grade girls of the modern world.
The story, Zoey Le Mar and the Veil of Fear, is about a normal town on the west coast whose residents are unaware of an ancient magic invading their tranquil existence. Sassy Zoey La Mar and her three ethnically-divergent friends, Danielle Hernandez, Lucy La Mar, Rhea Khan, are the main characters. These girls embark upon a multifaceted adventure to save the children from a band of marauding monsters, the Golem. These monsters open up portals to the world from their plane, and come and go at their horrific leisure, snatching and grabbing whomever they can for their own warped purposes. They had not bargained for the headstrong response they got from the girls, who are led on a merry and often delightfully-funny chase.
And for the reluctant boy readers, there is a boy character, Patrick (Tricky), O'Leary, who is drawn into the fray. I fell in love with Tricky the first thing. He's a `bad boy' in name, but a sweetheart in actions. He is so real and charming you can't help but love him.
Zoey, whose intelligent precociousness provides much entertainment and laughter, could be anyone's daughter or sister and fits into the story as though she were real flesh and blood. This story is imaginatively entertaining. Michael Lopez has done a fine job, and once you start it, you won't be able to put it down. By all means, read this book!
Rob, Long Island, NY
Michael Lopez's first Zoey Le Mar adventure "Zoey Le Mar and the Veil of Fear" is a gripping and enjoyable novel that (finally!) places tween girls in the center of the action. As the father of a now-grown-daughter I was frustrated for years that there wasn't a strong teen female lead in any novels. The last truly multi-dimensional, smart and resourceful teenage heroine was Nancy Drew. Mr. Lopez understands the need for today's girls to have feisty, intelligent, and strong role models. In "Veil of Fear", the characters have depth, the action is plentiful, and the story is exciting. Mr. Lopez's mystical adventure novel has found a permanent place alongside my Rick Riordan collection. Kudos!
Josh, Concord, CA
Zoey Le Mar and the Veil of Fear by Michael S. Lopez is a children's fantasy thriller that transports the reader from a plausible reality from an idealistic suburban neighborhood to a horrific pocket dimension. Michael hooks the reader in the first chapter with a rush of horror. Then, in the next chapter, he transmutes the mood into friendly playful banter. Then, a mystery forms.
Zoey Le Mar, a main character, gets inundated with premonitions of upcoming danger. They are tied to an old familial secret and odd bedtime stories. The visions entail monsters and magic. She involves her closest friends: Danielle Hernandez, Lucy La Mar, Rhea Khan, and Tricky O'Leary. As the story unfolds, each character possesses pieces of the the overall puzzle. Unfortunately, the monsters are on to them. One way or another, by accident or by design, all four girls and Zoey's younger brother, Owen, are dragged into this waking nightmare of the other dimension by the monsters. There is an upside for the girls. They discover they possess magic. They find hope. Tricky is left out but with a little help finds a way to reach and help Zoey.
It is this captive intrigue of twists and turns that makes this roller-coaster fantasy thriller with its strong characters, vivid descriptions, and bewitching storyline as a must-read. I recommend this book.
Derek, Roseville, CA
I had the duty of getting my ten-year-old daughter a new extra-curricular reading book. I stumbled upon a book trailer on YouTube, Zoey Le Mar and the Veil of Fear. I watched it then read the synopsis, discovering that multicultural girls are the main characters/heroes. I liked what I saw, and that was enough for me. I knew my daughter would like the action and adventure as well as the funny and scary parts. She read it within a week and loved it. She was thrilled that tween girls are the main characters and that they are smart, funny, strong, assertive, and persevering. I recommend this book, especially for young girls.