________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 1. . . .September 5, 2014


Memory Maze. (The Hypnotists, Bk. 2).

Gordon Korman.
New York, NY: Scholastic (Distributed in Canada by Scholastic Canada), 2014.
234 pp., hardcover & Ebook, $18.99 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-545-50329-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-545-50333-4 (Ebook).

Subject Headings:
Identity (Psychology)-Fiction.
Paranormal fiction.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Kerri Hutchinson.

***˝ /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



As the neat homes and subdivisions of the suburbs morphed into the urban landscapes of the Bronx Jax felt his stomach tightening. He was in hiding fearing for his life and the lives of his family. Why would he deliberately place himself back in the line of fire in what might very well turn out to be a trap? This was Sentia’s city, Mako’s city. The closer they got to the corner of Eighty-ninth and Crummel, the louder the alarm bells rang in his ears.


Memory Maze is the second novel in “The Hypnotists” series by Gordon Korman. Thirteen-year-old Jackson “Jax” Opus is the descendent of two of the most powerful hypnotist families in history, the Sparkses and Opuses. As a result, he has the potential to be the most talented and powerful hypnotist ever. In the first book, The Hypnotists, the corrupt Dr. Elias Mako manipulated Jax to use his powers to tamper with an election. In Memory Maze, readers pick up with the Opuses in Connecticut. Under the advice of Axel Braintree, leader of the reformed hypnotist group known as the Sandmen Guild, Jax and his parents change their identities and move to a quiet town in Connecticut to protect Jax from Dr. Mako. Jax quickly finds that hiding his talents is more difficult than he imagined, and his true identity is discovered by the ailing billionaire Avery Quackenbush. Quackenbush convinces Jax to perform experimental hypnotism in an effort to prolong his life until new medicine is developed. Meanwhile in New York City, Dr. Mako is wreaking havoc on the Sandmen Guild determined to find Jax and abuse his talents.

      There isn't much overlap between the events of the first book and the second. Though readers could read and enjoy Memory Maze on its own, it is recommended that they start with the first in the series to understand the characters and their relationships better. The second novel maintains the mix of humour, fantasy, and adventure from the first in the series and also ventures into historical fiction and darker themes. Jax’s experiences with Dr. Mako and fleeing New York have forced him to mature in the second novel, and the writing has matured along with it. As a young hypnotist, Jax experiences growing pains as he learns to harness and control his talents, but the themes of adolescence are universal for readers. The plot is fast-paced and riveting though the character development remains secondary to the action. The story remains open-ended for subsequent novels in the series, and the last chapter leaves readers hanging in suspense while it sets up the third novel.

      Fans of The Hypnotists will be pleased with Memory Maze and will be left waiting and wanting more in “The Hypnotists” series.

Highly Recommended.

Kerri Hutchinson is a library technician with the Region of Waterloo in Waterloo, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

Next Review | Table of Contents for This Issue - September 5, 2014.

CM Home
| Back Issues | Search | CM Archive | Profiles Archive