The Last Arakad
In Wolf's (reDESIGN: reCREATE) rambling series launch, two California teens become embroiled in an ancient battle between good and evil. While Maya and Thomas's mother undergoes cancer treatment in Switzerland, a friend of their late father invites them to stay in his Paris apartment. The enigmatic man gradually reveals his role as a healer in the Arakad tradition (symbolized by a magical pendant), which is "the essence" of "a philosophical insight about the nature of reality, humanity, and our place in this world." While Maya follows "the path of light" as an Arakad apprentice—and (through a process readers may find laborious) eventually achieves status of "master"—Thomas is recruited by a leader of an evil rival clan, who has developed an elixir that could precipitate the destruction of humanity. There are flashes of drama and suspense as the two sides clash, but dense writing and excessive sound effects, vibrations, and visions that characters encounter slacken the story's pace. At three junctures, readers are directed to Web sites, where they'll find marginal additional information about the plot and characters. Ages 12–up.