Customer Reviews for

Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow (Jake Ransom Series #1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

To Enthusiasts of Adventure Fiction

The Story:
Young archaeologist. Ancient civilizations. An unknown evil. I was drawn to the story from the very beginning. Jake is a version of a studious Indiana Jones. He's had the training, but he's lacked the adventures, until now. And he's prepared for them, though...
The Story:
Young archaeologist. Ancient civilizations. An unknown evil. I was drawn to the story from the very beginning. Jake is a version of a studious Indiana Jones. He's had the training, but he's lacked the adventures, until now. And he's prepared for them, though not always in the manner he suspected. Surprisingly, his sister, who seems at the outset to be just another beauty queen in the making with her sights set no higher than the Captain of the Football Team and the next Big Cheer, turns out to be up to the challenge as well. They manage to hold their own throughout the adventures of the book, making allies and finding a niche for themselves among the people of Calypsos. Jake, the scholar, makes friends with the local masters of alchemy, men who study the magics of the land. Kady finds herself welcomed in the halls of the Vikings and discovers a unique comparison between baton twirling and sword throwing.

Jake also makes two close friends during his time in Calypsos: Marika, the Mayan daughter of one of the master, and Pindor, the Roman son of one of the Elders of Calypsos. The threesome manage to end up in the center of all the goings-on of Calypsos, which will, in the end, put them at the center of the Skull King's attempt to takeover the city and control its magic. The ways in which the trio, along with help fromKady, Pindor's older brother and Kady's squad of youthful Viking warrioresses, combat the evil of the Skull King is exciting and unique.

The Writing:
At first, I was leery of what I would find on the page of this young adult novel. But from the first few pages, I was hooked. The writing is descriptive but easy to read, with simply constructed sentences that don't try to do more than convey the essence of the story. It isn't Hemingway, for nothing is hidden under the language, but it is to the point and reveals just what the reader needs to know to paint a vivid and compelling picture of the scene and the characters interactions.

Better yet, just when I thought I knew what would happen next, something quite different occurred. The plot did not try to point me in the wrong direction, throwing up red herrings to lead me astray, but led me along naturally with the opinions and concerns of the characters, until they, and I, found out that we were mistaken. Sometimes to a dangerous degree.

And the Skull King, when he finally made his appearance, was not of the usual 'Mwahaha' variety of villain. He was terrifying in the manner of Voldemort or a Ring Wraith (and indeed shares qualities with both of these villains). What drives him hasn't been completely revealed, as this is only the first book of a series. But it is obvious that he will not stop to get what he's after and the depths of his cunning and plotting have only to be touched upon.

Recommendation:
I enjoyed this book immensely and have the second one on order now. The fact that I found the book sitting in a bargain bin made it all the more enjoyable, like finding a ruby sitting among costume jewelry. I recommend it for any enthusiasts of adventure fiction, and it is appropraite for readers age 12 and up. I'd set the age lower except it can be a bit frightening at times, and the loss of parents can be the hardest material for younger readers to handle. That said, mature 10-year-olds could easily handle the writing and language.

posted by CJaneReid on February 14, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Blaah

The pyramid looks copied from The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan, still like The Red Pyramid better Coming from a twelve almost thirteen year old dont blameme if u dont likee me

posted by 16700826 on March 4, 2012

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