Sarah's Stars

James Rollins. Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow
HarperCollins  $22.50  ISBN 978-0-06147-379-1  397 pg.
Reviewed by Anastasia, Age 11

Another bellow chased them, followed by a shattering of branches. Jake risked another glance-maybe he shouldn't have. The T-rex heaved into the open glade. It shook its muscled frame. A thick tail whipped out and axed through some saplings and beheaded giant ferns.

The main character is tall, sandy blonde-haired Jake Bartholomew Ransom who goes to Middleton Prep School in Grade 8 and lives in North Hampshire, Connecticut. He also has a sister, Kady. Jake wants to become an archaeologist like his parents, Richard and Penelope Ransom, who went missing in the Mountain of Bones, along with Dr. Henry Bethel while trying to lure some people away from the true path of a great secret. Jake and Kady get invited and go to the British Museum to attend the auspicious opening of an exciting new exhibit to celebrate their parents, so they were told (but really to sell more tickets). While Jake and Kady are looking at all of the treasures in the museum Jake sees a two-foot-tall pyramid made of solid gold with a jade dragon with two fiery opal eyes crouched on top of it. Then the power goes out and flames bathe the pyramid until being sucked down by a drain. Jake put two halves of a coin on the drain, which fit perfectly, and all of a sudden thunder cracked. Jake felt the world pass beneath him, blood rushing to his head, stars dancing across his vision, roaring filled his ears before everything went dark. Then the world righted itself. The world had indeed returned-but not the same world of a moment ago. Will Jake and Kady be able to get back to the museum?

I liked Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow because it was never boring; it always had something interesting happening, so it was really easy to find a quote/hook. I also like how the characters Jake and Kady were so different; Kady was popular and star of attention but Jake wasn't, keeping to himself, so you could sort of see two different views of the story. Thirdly, I like how some questions went unanswered, so you’ll have to read the second book to find out. I also like how the prologue really captures your attention; someone gets chased and then killed so it makes you eager to start the book. Lastly, I like how the cover doesn't really give the story away because it has a pyramid which made me think the setting was in the desert when it was in the jungle; the total opposite.

I give Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow a five star rating and think this book is suitable for ages 10 up. James Rollins also wrote Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx.


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