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The Black (Morpheus Road Series #2)

The Black (Morpheus Road Series #2)

4.8 59
by D. J. MacHale

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At the end of The Light, Book One of the Morpheus Road trilogy, Marshall learned the truth about what happened to his best friend Cooper. Now in Book Two, the POV switches to Cooper and we get to see his side of the mystery. What does his story have to do with Marshall and the journey along the Morpheus Road? Shocking twists are revealed with this latest fantastical


At the end of The Light, Book One of the Morpheus Road trilogy, Marshall learned the truth about what happened to his best friend Cooper. Now in Book Two, the POV switches to Cooper and we get to see his side of the mystery. What does his story have to do with Marshall and the journey along the Morpheus Road? Shocking twists are revealed with this latest fantastical story from a master of suspense!

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 6–10—MacHale continues the trip along Morpheus Road in this action-packed thriller about the afterlife. In this installment, high school sophomore Cooper has been sent to his family's vacation home to escape retribution from some nasty characters. What happens is far worse: an evil spirit named Damon causes Cooper to die in a boating accident. The teen finds himself in an area of the afterlife called the Black and discovers that he is the one chosen to aid Damon in exacting revenge upon those who wronged him and free him from captivity. In exchange, Cooper will be given back his life. Cooper wants to live, but knows that Damon will cause great harm if he is freed. Damon is also threatening to kill Cooper's friend, Marshall, who is still alive and unaware of his death. How Cooper handles this dilemma makes for an absorbing read. Often a little over-the-top, the narrative is intriguing enough to hook even reluctant readers. After all, who doesn't wonder what happens to us after we die? MacHale has created some intriguing and fantastical answers to that question.—Kathy Kirchoefer, Prince Georges County Memorial Library System, New Carrollton, MD
Children's Literature - Elizabeth D. Schafer
Murdered teenager Cooper Foley confronts supernatural nemeses in this second book in the "Morpheus Road" trilogy. Adjusting to his transition from life to the dreamlike Black, Coop reunites with his dead grandfather who explains that spirits in the Black contemplate unresolved aspects of their lives until Watchers determine who can move to another realm. Coop meets Gramps' neighbor, mysterious Maggie Salinger who feels guilty for causing her parents' demise in a burning barn. Maggie assists Coop on his visit the Light where she demonstrates how they can use their energy to leave messages for his family and friend Marshall Seaver. Transported in a vision to ancient Macedonia, Coop encounters the malevolent Damon who committed dishonorable acts in wars waged by Alexander the Great and was assassinated. Damon wields a black sword which can slay spirits. He reveals his role causing Coop's death, stating he can restore Coop's life if Coop procures him a magical poleax and blood-filled crucibles. Coop meets photographer Ree, who tells how she accidentally released Damon's spirit from a Greek tomb where sorcerers used spells to confine his evil. Joining Ree's Guardians at a 1970s version of Grand Central Terminal, Coop participates in a violent battle against Damon and his black sword-bearing army, trying to keep them from the Rift, a portal between the living and dead, located in the station's information booth. Sensory details effectively thrust readers into the fights. Plot twists and revelations of truths which alter Coop's viewpoint satisfyingly advance story development. William Sleator's Strange Attractors (1990) and Graham McNamee's. Bonechiller (2008) have similar horror and science fiction themes depicting time travel devices and ancient evils preying on modern humans. Reviewer: Elizabeth D. Schafer
Kirkus Reviews
Finding himself dead after a collision with a speedboat, Cooper Foley quickly realizes the afterlife is not as restful as people believe. A dead Macedonian strategist named Damon is engineering a return to the world of the living, and he murdered Cooper in an attempt to retrieve a poleax with mystical powers. While struggling with the quest Damon has imposed on him, Cooper must also be wary of the Watchers, shadowy beings that observe the dead and make final judgments on their progress out of limbo. Plagued by the same plot and pacing issues that afflictedThe Light(2010), this second volume of theMorpheus Road series is nearly a retread of the first. MacHale uses this novel to explain the events of the first, from afterlife terminology to supernatural phenomena, rehashing much of the action. Cooper is saddled by the same scattered characterization issues that hampered his friend Marshall, the narrator of the first book, swinging from troublemaker to saint to rhetorician with little development apparent. From the blood crucibles of Alexander to the encounter with his best friend's dead mother to the mysterious deaths at his grandfather's farm, there are too many plot twists, too much explanation and too little motivation to keep readers journeying down this road. (Horror. 10-14)

Product Details

Publication date:
Morpheus Road Series , #2
Sold by:
Sales rank:
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt


“Don’t be an idiot. Just go to the lake until things calm down.”

My sister was telling me what to do, as usual, because she knows everything.

“I’m not going to run away,” I countered. “I can handle those guys.”

Sydney groaned. She did that a lot, mostly when I didn’t do what she wanted, which was always. Sydney and I might have looked like each other—we shared the same dark hair and blue eyes—but that’s where the similarity ended. For one, I’m better-looking. The guys who tried to get with her probably had a different opinion but I’m sticking with mine. She was only a year older than me but treated me like I was a lower form of life that shouldn’t be allowed to breathe air that could go to someone more deserving. Like her.

I didn’t care what she thought.

“Wow,” she said sarcastically. “Such a tough guy. What if the police want you to give up their names? What’ll you do then?”

I shrugged. “I already gave them names.”

“What!” she screamed.

“Relax. I didn’t tell them about you. Or your dim boyfriend.”

Sydney glared at me with anger and confusion. Her cool was broken, which was saying something because normally she was ice.

“Why?” was all she managed to get out.

“I didn’t have a choice. If I didn’t give them something, I’d be sitting in juvie right now fighting off a bunch of hard cases who really are tough. Besides, they had it coming.”

“I don’t believe this.” Sydney moaned as she paced my bedroom floor.

It was her fault that I was in Trouble Town to begin with and I think she felt guilty about it. Guilt was an alien emotion to Sydney so it was fun to see her squirm. She normally had it all going on … which was her biggest problem. Our parents expected her to be perfect and she mostly was, for a heartless vampire. But she resented the pressure and that caused tension in Foley-world. Her latest act of defiance was to announce she was getting a tattoo. Our parents went nuts and threatened to hold back her college money. For somebody headed to Stanford, that was serious. I don’t think Sydney really wanted to get inked, but my parents’ threat drove her straight to the low-life tattoo guy.

Her big rebellious statement backfired. The tattoo caused a nasty infection that landed her in the emergency room, where she got fixed up and smacked with a bill for a couple hundred bucks … money she didn’t have and couldn’t ask our parents to put out. She didn’t want them to have the satisfaction of knowing they were absolutely right about the tattoo being a dumb idea. She was stuck until her boyfriend, Mikey, offered a way out. He knew some guys with Yankees tickets that they were willing to let Sydney scalp. Whatever profit she made, she and Mikey would split. Sydney had no idea how to scalp tickets and Mikey was an idiot, which is how I got involved. I knew how to get things done.

I liked the idea of Sydney owing me so I took the tickets, sold them for a decent profit, and bailed her out with the doctor bill. I felt good about it, too. She was still my sister. Everybody was happy … until the cops showed up at our door. Turned out the tickets were bogus. Counterfeit. I guess there were some angry people at Yankee Stadium who found people sitting in their expensive field-level seats … with legit tickets. Oops.

“I should give them Mikey’s name too,” I said. “That fool had to know the tickets were fake.”

She shook her head. “No, he’s not bright enough to do something so dumb.”

“Well, those other dirtballs knew. Nobody messes with me like that. I hope they do time.”

Sydney jumped to her feet. “Why?” she screamed. “Why is it always about you?”

“You made it about me when you asked me to get you out of trouble.”

Sydney’s eyes flared. “Go to the lake, Cooper,” she said in a seething whisper. “Do the smart thing for once in your life.”

She stormed out of my bedroom, throwing a parting shot for the rest of the house to hear, “Get over yourself for once and just go!”

I actually felt bad for her, not that I’d tell her so. Whatever problems I had would blow over. I always found my way out of Trouble Town. But Sydney was different. It must have killed her to know how badly she had messed up … and brought some lesser mortals down with her. Still, I wasn’t about to do what she wanted, which was to go to our family’s lake house and hide out for the summer. I didn’t want to run scared. That wasn’t me.

“What the heck?” came a voice at my door.

It was Marshall Seaver, my best friend.

“Can you believe it?” I said. “They want me to get out of town like some mob guy who has to lay low until the heat dies down.”

Marsh knew about the tickets, but not about the tattoo and Sydney’s involvement in the whole mess.

“Maybe you could just go for a week or two,” he offered.

“No. They’re talking the whole summer. That lake is death, Ralph. What’ll I do up there? Fish? That gets old after eight seconds. The place is great if you’re six or sixty. For everybody else … torture.”

My family had a cottage on Thistledown Lake, a couple of hours north of our home in Stony Brook. I used to love spending summers there, especially when Marsh came up. We always had a blast just hanging out and being kids. But we weren’t kids anymore.

“What’s Sydney’s problem?” he asked.

Marsh stood there in his hoodie with his blond hair falling into his eyes. We’d been tight since kindergarten. He was like my brother. But the older we got the more he seemed like my little brother. He wasn’t an idiot. Far from it. But where he liked building model rockets and reading comic books and camping out, I was, well, I was scalping baseball tickets. I can’t say which of us was better off.

“Who knows?” I said, ducking the question. “My parents aren’t even making her go. She gets to be on her own for the whole summer while I’m sentenced to two months at Camp Kumbaya.”

I hated not telling him the whole truth but it bothered me more that I was being forced into a corner by everybody, including my best friend. I picked up a football and threw it into a chair. Hard. It didn’t make me feel any better.

“Mikey the Mauler’s downstairs,” Marsh said, pressing. “He threatened to hurt you. What’s that all about?”

“Nothing,” I said. “Forget it.”

“Did he give you the fake tickets?”

“No! Let it go, all right! It’s none of your business.”

Marsh was asking all the right questions and I didn’t want to lie to him so I jumped up and went to the bedroom window. It was wide open … a tempting escape hatch.

“It is my business!” he shouted back. “You did something stupid, and now you’re going to have to take off for a couple of months to get away from the mess, and poof! There goes summer.”

I slammed the window shut so hard it made the house rattle. “That makes it your business? Because I’m ruining your summer?”

“That’s not what I meant,” Marsh said, backpedaling.

“Yeah, you did,” I countered. I hated it when he only saw things through his own naive perspective. “Gee, sorry, Marsh. I should have thought it through before doing anything that might spoil your fun. How inconsiderate of me.”

“Don’t go there,” he shot back. “I know this isn’t about me, but it’s not just about you, either. The stuff you do has fallout.”

“Fallout? I’ll give you fallout. The cops threatened to throw me in juvie unless I told them where I got the fake tickets … so I gave up a couple of guys. And you know what? I don’t care because those dirtballs set me up. But now I’m looking over my shoulder in case they find out I ratted and come after me. That’s fallout. So I’m sorry if I messed up your plans to pretend like we’re still twelve, but you know, things happen.”

“That’s cold,” he said softly.

“Move on, Marsh. We’re not kids anymore.”

“I know that.”

I should have stopped right there but I was too worked up.

“But hey, who am I to judge? Do whatever you want. I’m sure there are plenty of guys who want to hang out with you and watch cartoons. I’m not your only friend.”

I hesitated, then added the killing blow, “Or am I?”

The pained look on Marsh’s face said it all. I’d gone too far.

“Have a good summer,” he said, and walked out of the room.

I didn’t mean to hurt him but I was frustrated and Marsh was an easy target. I should have yanked him back into the room to tell him why I was so angry, but I didn’t want him to know the truth about Sydney. Marsh liked Sydney. Heck, he probably loved her. To him she was perfect and I wanted to protect him from the truth. I did that a lot, especially after all he’d been through.

Marsh’s mother was killed a few years before. It was a tragedy that seemed to freeze time for him. I’m no shrink but I think he didn’t want to let go of the life he had when his mom was there, which is why he still thought like a kid while the rest of us continued to grow up. But he was my best friend and as years went by I did my best to shield him from anything negative that came his way. Who knows? Maybe it was partly my fault that he still acted like he was twelve.

There aren’t a lot of things I regret, but not stopping him from leaving that day is definitely on top of the list. Instead of sucking it up and going after him, I picked up my football and slammed it against the wall again … an act of total futility. I knew I wasn’t thinking right and had to get control of the situation.

“Ralph!” I yelled, calling out as I ran out of my room and down the stairs. That’s what I called him. Ralph.

I already had a plan. Summer vacation had just started and Marsh had come up with all these adventures for us to go on that I had promptly trashed. I didn’t want to waste time camping or sailing when we could be at the beach hooking up with any girl who drew breath. But now the beach was out and I had the perfect compromise: Marsh could spend the summer with me up at Thistledown. We’d roll the clock back and goof off like the old days. We could even hang at the lake beach and scout for local talent. Everybody would win.

Except I was too late.

“He’s gone,” my mother said.

“I’ll catch him.”

I went for the door but Mom stopped me.

“He said he thought you’d agree to go to the lake,” she said. She looked stressed. I guess having one of your kids arrested will do that.

“Yeah. Maybe it’s not such a bad idea.”

Her tension melted. “Oh thank god.”

“One condition,” I said. “I want Marsh to come up.”

It was a no-brainer. Mom loved Marsh.

“Are you kidding? That’s a great idea but—”

“But what?”

“I just invited him. He wasn’t enthused.”

I thought about chasing after him, but decided not to. It was the second time I had made that same mistake in five minutes.

“We had an argument,” I said. “I’ll give him time to cool off and then make nice.”

Mom frowned. “He’s the last person you should be arguing with.”

“Yeah, I know, Mom. I’m an idiot.”

“You’re not an idiot. You’re just—okay, sometimes you’re an idiot.”

“Thanks. When are we leaving?”

“Tonight,” she said quickly, headed for the stairs.

“What’s the rush?”

“The sooner we get out of here the sooner I’ll stop stressing about police and … and … counterfeiters. I can’t believe I just said that.”

“This isn’t TV, Mom. Nothing’s gonna happen.”

“I know, because we’re leaving tonight. Pack.”

Mom was being dramatic but if it made her happy to be on the next stagecoach out of Dodge, I wasn’t going to ruin it for her. Besides, it could work out perfectly. I’d take a few days to scope out the situation at the lake and lay some groundwork for the festivities. By then Marsh would have calmed down and would be open to my invitation … and apology. Neither of us carried a grudge for long. We were too good of friends for that.

I was beginning to think that after the drama of the past few days, the summer could actually end up being pretty decent.

It’s amazing to know how totally wrong I was.

© 2011 D.J. MacHale

Meet the Author

D.J. MacHale is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Pendragon series and the Morpheus Road series. He has written, directed and produced many television series and movies for young people that have been seen on Nickelodeon, The Disney Channel, HBO, Showtime, PBS, Discovery Kids, and the broadcast networks. D.J. lives with his family in Southern California.

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The Black (Morpheus Road Series #2) 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
Bookreviewer74 More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing! At the beggining it explained a good lot of the first book, while having its own story forming. Later a brand new story emerged with so much excitement. I litterally could not stop reading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is it from a different POV or what
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MacHale made the good characters likeable and the bad characters hateable. Morpheaus Road has a new twist on teen reading... creepy without being cheesy. A great ghost story that is actually scary!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh my god!Best freaking series ever! I was like what the buns is going on? This is crazy! So awesome i can't even begin to describe it so i won't thanks for reading oh my god im still freaked out
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you liked The Light, then this book will surely interest you. A great thriller and makes for a quick read (312pages) . This is because of MacHale's skill at writing an action packed stories. If you havent already, check out the Pendragon series also by MacHale
ChaoticAvian More than 1 year ago
This book was way cool and answered almost all of the questions I had from book 1.  It was really neat reading about Cooper's perspective from the first book.  It may have taken place at the exact same time with the same events as book one, but this book had a different feel to it.  It was spooky and way cool all at the same time.  I think I liked the first book better than the second, but this was still a very neat read.  All 3 books are phenomenal.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It made me animorph into a book help me i keeping giving myself papercuts
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book though i like the light better. I like thr way she changes the point of view
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a perfect seqeul to the ligt and I wanted to stat reading the blood as soon as possible
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
FrankNJ More than 1 year ago
I just finished the complete series and loved it. I'm always impressed with originality and this series did not disappoint. The book was unpredictable and unique. I highly recommend the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yeah its from a different POV Graet book should continue Mash's pov though and what he has to deal with in school the another problem accurs (other than the one where he has to find the ¿¿¿¿¿ax) again great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The onlly thing that is missing from it is bobby pendragon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was awsome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really good, it out beats the first book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago