- The adventure. Max spends all his time running around in disguises pretending to be dog catchers, butlers, city officials--all the while making money. What kid wouldn't see this as a dream job? I felt like this book was everything a middle grade adventure story like "Peregrine Harker and the Black Death" should have been. A young boy is left basically all alone to take care of himself, and he rises to the challenge, solves the problems, and perseveres.
- Pia. I loved Pia's curious, inquisitive, fierce personality. She doesn't back down when people tell her she can't do things, and she follows through with what she knows is right. Her constant stream of questions reminded me of myself as a kid, which made me love her that much more!
- The morals. The way Max goes out of his way to help those in need, even when it isn't asked of him, is wonderful. The example he sets and the morals he has make him a fantastic role model for the children who will be reading this book.
- The clutter and lack of focus. While I did enjoy the constant influx of mysteries and problems Max dealt with, it got to be a little overwhelming at some point. This made the book feel unfocused and a little messy. I also get that Max is taking these jobs helping people to try and cope with what has happened to his parents, but I constantly found myself wanting more focus on his parents, on the mystery surrounding their disappearance. I kept waiting for Max to use his super-sleuthing skills on his own problems, but he never really does. This was frustrating.
3/5 - For a middle grade adventure novel, Mister Max is exciting, fast-paced, and interesting. I loved the constant costume changes and Max's sidekick, Pia. Her fiercely inquisitive personality was wonderfully written, and I loved it when she made an appearance. That being said, the rest of the characters felt a little two-dimensional to me, and the book overall seemed to lack focus, making it feel cluttered at times. I would recommend this book to middle-grade readers who are fans of adventure stories like Jonny Quest and Sherlock Holmes.