Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow
by James Rollins
April 28, 2009,416 pages
James Rollins, writer and New York Times best selling author of adult books has written a young adult book of extraordinary excitement on every page. I read it this weekend in one day, a quick read although about 400 pages. It is his pacing and clever combination of writing action to drive the text. You can't stop, he won't let you. Anyway, if you have a 5th grader, middle school student who likes adventure, with some fantasy. Maybe a Macguiver meets Indiana Jones then this book is for him/her.
Jake Ransom and his older sister Kady receive a mysterious invitation to an opening exhibit of Mayan Treasures at The British Museum in London. Three years ago their parents disappeared on an archeology exhibition. Jake, having a penchant for studies and strong desire to follow in his parent’s footsteps is thrilled. Kady, diva and social butterfly is reluctant to go, but ultimately agrees when she realizes cameras will be everywhere. How could she possibly miss this fashion and social opportunity.
Unfortunately their trip to London takes them farther than they expected as they find themselves in another place. It’s definitely not London as they immediately face a carnivorous dinosaur. Ultimately they meet the inhabitants who are people from multiple ancient civilizations all living together in a place called Calypso.
Rollins has set the scene for the perfect action adventure story for middle grade students. They are lost in a strange place. They are alone are among strangers. They
are immediately faced with their first life or death challenge.
Your heart will beat with the cadence of his poetic prose. Fast moving drama pushes you forward with a driving beat through his use of lyrical text. Rollins is a master of momentum and tension. A barrage of sound effects will come alive as you are compelled to turn each page no just reading but hearing the story.
Students will beg to stay up late to read this book and it will fly off the library shelves. Let’s hope the sequel is not far behind. This well written series will fill the holes in many library collections. Rollins is a natural fit for the young adult fantasy adventure drama.
New Milford, CT