Sunday, July 5, 2009

37. Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow - James Rollins

Published: April, 2009
For: Grades 5-8
404 pgs.
Rating: 4
Harper Collins

This is a rip-roarin' adventure that will be enjoyed by many middle schoolers....I can see Ilan, Natalie, Eli. Jacob just eating this story up in one big gulp, then waiting anxiously for its sequel, Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx, to come out sometime in 2010.

I must admit, the story didn't latch onto me (or I didn't latch onto the story....) until about a third of the way in. But once we left the present and entered the world of Calypsos millions of years ago, I was hooked. I love the way Rollins wove historical and scientific facts into the telling of this mile-a-minute adventure tale. Good vs. Evil. Very evil...... And Mayans, and Romans, and Neanderthals, and prehistoric animals and special forces that allow everyone to speak their own language, but "all world" language takes over so that all can understand each other.

I'm going to include a review written by a student. He did it much better than I can:

"Jake Ransom is your (above) average boy next door. When he fits two halves of a Mayan coin into a hole in a museum exhibit, he and his sister are transported into a mixed-up ancient world of Mayans, Chinese, Romans, Neanderthals, super-cool alchemic crystals and, of course, good and evil. Even though the place may hold clues to his archeologist parents’ mysterious disappearance, Jake needs to find a way out -- unless, that is, the T-Rexes, giant scorpions, or the Skull King don’t slaughter him first. Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow is an excellent book with strong, intriguing characters, especially Jake’s sister, Kady, who helps him get out of some extreme fixes. The awesome plot and subtle humor kept me reading it until I finished it in one sitting. The downside? We’ve got to wait a whole year till the sequel, Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx." Christian, age 12 (from the 6/20/09 Saturday Breakfast Book Club, PW)

And if you read the book, here are a couple of cool websites to check out: Harper Collins website with games and a quiz
and James Ransom's website with a You Tube interview about the book

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