Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow Hardcover – Apr 28 2009
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A breathtaking and original tale of two young people who find themselves in a mysterious and dangerous world... the book is not merely a high-octane, suspense-filled thriller. There is just enough detail about the varied civilisations within Calypsos to whet the appetite of young readers, and while they wait for the next book in the series, many will feel encouraged to do some further research. THE BOOKBAG A Children's title that parents will find themselves sneaking out of their kid's room for a crafty read...Entertaining, enlightening and with the pace and exoticism of a Jaguar; we couldn't peel our eyes away from page after page... the only disappointment came when we realised we'd reached then end. Rollins may be a good thriller writer, but he is a magnificent children's author. THE TRUTH ABOUT BOOKS James Rollins is a brilliant author who is blessed with the talent of being able to entertain readers of all ages. Very few books appeal to everybody, but this amazing plotline is a definite exception! People will practically have their eyes glued to each page of it as the plot quickly unfolds before them. -- Amy Naylor, age 14 I would recommend this book for children aged 10+. It's a great storyline with twists and turns on every page, a real thriller. I would also recommend this book to fantasy lovers, and fans of historical fiction... I loved this book and hopefully others will too. -- Reuben, age 11 CHICKLISH --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
James Rollins is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of international thrillers that have been translated into more than forty languages. His Sigma series has been lauded as one of the “top crowd pleasers” (New York Times) and one of the “hottest summer reads” (People magazine). In each acclaimed novel, Rollins unveils unseen worlds, scientific breakthroughs, and historical secrets—and he does it all at breakneck speed and with stunning insight.
Top Customer Reviews
It's painfully obvious that this book was not intended to be read females. The female characters exist as pretty shallow archetypes. The love interest (or "like" interest, as we are talking about pre-teen characters) is there to be pretty and admired and sometimes make a helpful comment or two. Jake's sister Kady is a shallow and temperamental girl who has little on her mind but looking pretty and dating popular boys. Even if you invoke Suspension of Disbelief for the scene where Kady's shown to have skills at fancy swordwork (because swordword is totally the same as her cheerleader baton routine), any potential coolness is drained away by the new few paragraphs showing that Kady's somewhat proud of herself for starting new fashion trends amongst the Viking girls. Eventually, she teaches the proud warriors-in-training how to cheerlead.
No, I'm not joking. They learn to cheerlead, which provides enough distraction so that Jake can sneak away and go be the big hero and work on saving the day.
Like your books to have diverse and strong female characters? Then stay far far away from Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow.
I'm not sure why this is.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Now, the book is written for kids aged ten and up. I'm a 40-year-old woman, so I'd be, you know, up. There isn't a doubt in my mind that this book will find an audience with its intended readership, but that it will also be read by many of Rollins adult fans who are, like me, young at heart. The great thing is that there's something for everyone. It's a terrific book for parents and kids to read together.
The novel is told from the point of view of 13-year-old Jake Ransom. He and his older sister Kady come from a long line of archeologists and adventurers. Their parents were lost under mysterious circumstances on an expedition three years earlier, but despite this tragedy, Jake is ready to follow in their footsteps. He's fascinated by history and science, and spends all his time engaged in some form of learning. Kady's a little different. She's... popular. (And great job writing some strong female characters, Mr. Rollins!)
Near the beginning of the novel, Jake and Kady receive a surprise invitation to a museum exhibit opening in London. The exhibit features Mayan artifacts recovered from the senior Ransoms' last fateful expedition. Jake and Kady attend the opening amidst much fanfare. It's an eventful day; the opening is timed to match exactly a full eclipse of the sun, plus there's an electrical storm raging. Alone with an artifact, during some extraordinary atmospheric conditions, all the puzzle pieces come together and Jake and Kady are transported--inexplicably--to another world. And they're about to be eaten by a t-rex!
Jake and Kady have come to Calypsos, and while they explore this village and its unique inhabitants, they are searching for a way home. Unfortunately, they get embroiled with a VVV--a vaguely Voldemortian villain--and are intimately caught up in an epic battle of good and evil. The book actually reminded me more of Lloyd Alexander's beloved Chronicles of Prydain with its own epic battle than anything else (but others with a better vocabulary of YA fiction may have more apt comparisons).
Here's the thing... This novel is the first of a promised series. It does a great job of setting up the principles, the situations, the conflicts, and so forth. And this arc of the story is complete. The one thing you should know is that none of the bigger picture questions are answered. As you finish this novel, it will leave you wanting much, much more.
I read a galley of this novel, but I can't wait to see all the illustrations in a finished copy. It's coming out right in time for my nephew's birthday, and I'm very much looking forward to reading this and future Jake Ransom adventures with him.
Yes, this is NOT a story in keeping with the average Sigma Force novels--and yet that doesn't make it any less entertaining. This novel PROVES you don't have to infest a book with expletives and sex in order to be thoroughly exciting and VERY worthwhile to read (not that a typical Rollins novel was loaded with that anyway). I didn't used think this way all that long ago, but after giving in and picking up the Harry Potter series in an attempt to find additional common ground with my children, I discovered something quite unexpected along the way: Books for younger readers can still be every bit as fun to read as anything else out there.
While I have no independent information to confirm this, my guess is after writing the latest Indiana Jones story, a few ideas began to churn around in his head and the result is our Jake Ransom tale, which in MY opinion seems to be clearly inspired from a Young Indiana Jones perspective. Again, I have ZERO evidence to back this up, but if I had to guess, I'd say this is a fair bet that I am at least partially correct.
So how IS the story? Well, without giving away the plot details (which I absolutely HATE people doing btw), this is James Rollins...what do you expect but fun, thrilling adventure?? At least thats what I expect, and so far, I have been ANYTHING but let down. If nothing else, the previous novels have steadily been raising the bar and I got literally everything I expected (and quite a bit more to be honest) from Jake and his first adventure...yes, by the looks of things, this will NOT be Jakes one and only escapade (thankfully). The story reminded me a little of Indiana Jones (obviously) with a bit of The Mummy, not to mention a healthy dose of Supernatural, too--and a whole lot of action blended quite well together, making one VERY well written tale that I submit is just as fun to enjoy as anything else in Mr. Rollins large--and expanding--list of adventure tales to choose from.
I eagerly await Jakes next story.
Younger readers will find a fast-paced tale full of adventure and excitement, with likable characters and a world that draws in even the most picky readers.
Whatever your age, this one leaves you wanting more.
The big battle scene at the end seemed to be missing something, maybe it just was not quite suspenseful enough and the antagonist (Skull King) really wasn't that scary.
One of my favorite things that Rollins did was the use of Mayan symbols, modern technology mixed with the fantasy world and the explanation of how things reacted better.
With that said I will continue to read to my boys about the young adventurer Jake and his sister.
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