Max and the Spice Thieves is the first book in a series aimed at middle grade readers by John Peragine. Due out 20th April 2021, it's 272 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook formats. It's possibly worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.
This is a rollicking middle grade fantasy full of adventure and action. Young Max is suddenly alone after his mother goes missing, so he joins Captain Cinn and the crew of the Saucy Pig as a cabin boy to look for his parents. The story provides a generous portion of adventure (pirates! spice pirates!), shapeshifters, magic, a secret book, monsters and more. What surprised me was how much warmth was written into the story along with humor and bigger concepts like bravery, loyalty, and found family as well as other cultures, spices, foods and being open to trust.
The story is complete in this volume with foreshadowing leading into the next book(s). It works well as a standalone.
The typography and graphics are beautifully done with gorgeously rendered map and cover art.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.