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[Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx] (By: James Rollins) [published: July, 2011]

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Orion Children's Books (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) (July 7 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 057509253X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575092532
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 503 g
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 61 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Walk Like an Egyptian May 3 2011
By Susan Tunis - Published on
Format: Hardcover
James Rollins is a natural-born storyteller, of that there can be no doubt. As a long-time fan of his adult novels, I have absolutely no problem embracing a whiz-bang of a YA page-turner, and this one's a doozy! The story began in Rollins' YA debut, Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow. Mr. Rollins helpfully recaps the highlights of the first book, but I really think you're going to want to read these books in order. As you may have gathered, Jake Ransom and his sister Kady are back. This book picks up their story just three months after the events of the first. The VVV (Vaguely Voldemortian Villain) that they defeated in the first novel is still gunning for them. In fact, a brief prologue set in Egypt's Valley of the Kings involves the discovery of an ancient artifact and ends with these ominous words: "With this, I will make Jake Ransom suffer."

Meanwhile, after barely escaping the lost world of Calypsos with their lives, both Jake and Kady have taken a sudden interest in self-defense. Jake studies tae kwon do, and when not cheerleading, Kady fences. The last book ended with a small clue to the fate of their missing archeologist parents. But suddenly others want to get their hands on the clue that Jake and Kady found. Something is definitely up. And the two have a strong suspicion that it has to do with an Egyptian exhibit that's about to open in New York. They're correct; as an artifact in the exhibit turns out to be the lock that fits their key--and abruptly they're transported... Not back to Calypsos. They've landed in a scorching hot desert, in a land very much like Egypt--if Egypt had velociraptors!

I don't want to tell much more. The fun is in the twists and turns, the thrills and chills. And, believe me, there are plenty! The pace of the novel gallops along breathlessly (much like a kid running from a dinosaur). Rollins introduced such terrific characters in the first novel, you'll be happy to hear that even though the setting has changed, many of those characters are back. And there's something so sweet about the relationships and interactions of these young protagonists, most of whom are still at the hand-holding stage of life. Despite their youth, however, this is an impressive group. The adult characters don't talk down to them. In addition to the returning friends, several new characters are introduced in this book, but none is more endearing than the wisling. I'm in love!

Always the most important relationship, and the catalyst for these stories, is Jake and Kady's search for their parents. There are more questions, but also more answers in this latest installment. It ends with plenty of foreshadowing for the next novel and beyond. ("A great war is coming, spreading across time.") I believe I heard there will be seven books in this series. Who knows where Jake, Kady, and I will be in our lives before it's all over? One thing I do know is that I'll be along for the duration of this wild, time-traveling ride!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An action heavy story that will appeal to readers who crave adventure, suspense and a hero with a big heart June 8 2011
By KidsReads - Published on
Format: Hardcover
For months, Jake Ransom has experienced frightening nightmares and has gone through the motions of middle-grade life in his Connecticut home. With a heart heavy from grief brought on by not knowing the fate of his mother and father, Jake has taken up Tae Kwon Do. His older sister Kady fills her high school days with friends and cheerleading, as well as taking up a sword and learning how to fence.

Months earlier, after Jake and Kady returned from Pangaea, they made a pact not to tell anyone about the discovery of their father's pocket watch.

Determined to find out if their parents are dead or lost somewhere in time, Jake and Kady hope to use their father's watch to return to the prehistoric world of Calypsos, where Jake has stared down Kalverum Rex, the evil Skull King. Jake is certain his father's gold anniversary pocket watch is the key to unlocking the mystery of his parents' disappearance, and is convinced that his mother's inscription inside the watch gives a significant clue.

At Tae Kwon Do practice one day, Jake survives a fiery accident. But was it an accident? When he returns home, he interrupts a burglary and is almost kidnapped. Was the kidnapping a ruse to trick Jake into revealing the location of the watch? The following day, while viewing a special exhibit of an Egyptian mummy during a visit to a museum, Jake is transported to a strange desert land, where he is joined by Kady as well as Pindor, Marika and Bach'uuk --- all friends from his previous visit to Calypsos. In the hostile desert land, they are attacked by a pack of blood-thirsty velociraptors, taken captive by a tribe of hunters led by Princess Nefertiti and pursued once again by the Skull King.

JAKE RANSOM AND THE HOWLING SPHINX, the sequel to JAKE RANSOM AND THE SKULL KING'S SHADOW, is filled with action, surprises and intrigue. I've read several novels written by James Rollins, and he knows how to build and maintain suspense. His latest starts off with a bang and has lots of twists and turns and dramatic elements. At times I found the action confusing --- although that might be because I didn't read the first installment. While the story is told from Jake's middle-grader point of view, the voice slips into an older perspective. When he describes Master Kree as being "handsome like an Egyptian James Bond," the James Bond reference doesn't sound like a connection a middle grader would make --- at least not the one in my household.

Despite that, JAKE RANSOM AND THE HOWLING SPHINX is an action-heavy story that should appeal to readers who crave adventure, suspense and a hero with a big heart.

--- Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt
An absolutely thrilling sequel to a virtually perfect debut June 7 2011
By Jeff Edwards - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Like many, I discovered James Rollins by reading his Action/Adventure thrillers which began I believe with 'Subterranean'. I took what I thought at the time was a gamble and jumped in head first. Thankfully--as is Mr. Rollins fantastic style--you never have long to wait before the rubber hits the pavement. His stories have an interesting twist in that they seem to take on a life of their own rather quickly...and such is the case with Jake Ransom's second outing with the Howling Sphinx.

While James has quite an uphill battle to de-throne JK Rowling in the world of YA novels--and lets face it, ANYONE who tries has a nearly impossible task before them, however I DO believe it IS possible...and if anyone can do it, James Rollins can. This fantastic addition to the series is just wonderful from literally the first page on. No dull moments (at least none that I remember), but then again, you can't afford to have a stall when writing an adventure where you are targeting the youth of America (and beyond). I think the best way to describe this series is a virtually perfect melding of Young Indiana Jones with one of Mr. Rollins earlier novels, 'Sandstorm'. Let me also say that you do NOT have to be 12 years old to become fully invested into this story and enjoy it thoroughly. I cite the Harry Potter series as an example if you want one.

Young Jake Ransom has a knack for getting himself--and others--into very interesting situations, many of which have serious consequences. Jakes return to Calypsos is a journey frought with danger, excitement and a healthy dose of sheer, cliff-hanging thrills. Back with Jake are his sister Kady, Marika, Pindor as well as of course, the Skull King and his followers. What I believe excited me the most was how smoothly the story unfolded and how genuinely interested I became in what happened NEXT. Trust me, that is all that matters--at least as far as I'm concerned while reading a book like this. As long as my interest continues to WANT to know what will happen next, you can bet I WILL finish the book...and I finished Jakes 2nd entry all to quickly. Sometimes I forget that a YA novel usually goes by a little quicker than the typical adventure/thriller.

Let me end by saying this: I DEFINITELY look forward to Jakes next journey into--well, wherever Mr. Rollins decides to send him. I WILL be there along for the ride. Again, while Jake is far from overturning Harry Potter--it wouldn't surprise me if this ends up being the series that gave the boy wonder a run for his money. (Yes, its that good)
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Rollins, You Need to Read This. May 4 2011
By berserk_hijabi - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Let me just say I was a huge fan of the first book.But this book is 10 times better.I know it sounds ridiculous,but the action is edge-on-your seat.This book starts off great-I won't say how.Definitely better than the first book.And it keeps you breathless the whole way.The whole time I was thinking,Man,I don't want this to end." As this book is a hefty 362 pages,it kept me busy for quiet a while.I recommend this book whole-heartedly to anyone who wants a REALLY good read.Way to go James Rollins!Since it has been almost 2 years since the first book was released, I fervently hope that the third book( which of COURSE there will be one,InshAllah)won't take HALF as long.I'm waiting on pins and needles for it to come out.Until then,I'll read this book over and over and over again till I've got it memorized!

P.S I just turned 12.

No longer is this my favorite book..sorry, Rollins.Of course I still love this book,but with the time passing,I have discovered new delights.Well,I am now 12 and three quarters.Not THAT much time passed.

P.S Try Artemis Fowl.


So I am now 13. Time flies.Anyhoo, this is still one of my favorite books.Still great action.Still great plot.Still nicely developed characters.

I have some recommendations:

1. Please,please,PLEASE get rid of the "creepy" scribbly looking font that is used for whenever Rex speaks. Yes,this is a kids book, but honestly! A truly good villain does not need this crutch-because that's what it is,a crutch. Also, Mr. Rollins needs to focus a little more on giving this guy a little more depth. Don't let the bad guy be exactly what he appears to be and nothing else! Maybe he has a tragic backstory-maybe he is part of a family line- maybe he has a little good inside him.Etcetera,etcetera. Yes,we recieved some backstory in the first book,but not enough. Further development needed.

2. Make characters a little more reminiscent of their individual cultures. For example,Marika. Other than her looks and sometimes unusual way of speech,she doesn't really evoke a sense of "Mayan-ness." Does she believe certain myths, act according to certain customs,view things in a different way? Although, Rollins did a great job with Bachu'uk.Bachu'uk = awesomeness. Completely Neanderthal-ish. Pindor is more of a lovable character.He makes me laugh more than any other character.

3. Jake: Let him be a little looser. He's great,and will always be, but he needen't be so calm,so collected in every situation.Let him get his arm nastily scratched. Or let him get in a temper,or feel completely confused, or look to someone else,like maybe his sister,every once in a while for leadership.I.e,a little more unpredictable.Other than that,I give Jake two thumbs up.

These are the three main things.Thanks for reading my review,feel free to comment if you don't agree,and Rollins, you had BETTER read this. You're a great writer for tweens too. Don't think that your books are just hiding in a corner of the children's section or are only being read at bedtime to eight year old boys. There are plenty of people like me(right?)Keep on going,and for heavens sake,please have each book in this series come out a little sooner than two years and a half.

For the wisling's name...Well..I'll update.

Kawthar Bakhach,Eighth Grader

P.S I am not as bossy as I seem. Really.
Good Sequel to a Good Series July 3 2011
By Pierre Ricolando - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved the idea of the first book in the series. Having a myriad of civilizations living together in, mostly, harmony, being able to communicate with one another through no sort of language barrier, and having action on top of action. This second book is more of the same. Where the first one introduced the characters, plot, and was mainly about the Mayan culture, this book is about the Egyptians. It seems like the next will deal with the Norse. Rollins seems to be focusing on one ancient civilization after another, and that is fine by me.

It starts with the watch Jake got from the previous book taking him back to his friends in the different time period. Nefertiti is a key character, and ends up conducting herself as a true warrior princess should. Jake is a great hero, and the other characters compliment him nicely.

This story has a lot of intrigue, like the mysterious happenings before the trip back into Calypsos, the ancient world. It brings Jake face to face with his own past, and future as well. Time is a big theme is these books, and this story brings it to light even more. Rollins does a good job of leaving the reader fulfilled with answers, but also leaving the right amount of questions unanswered as well. I like Rollins' adult books better than his young adult, but this is a great read to get adolescents interested in reading, as well as the historical places mentioned throughout.

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