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Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx

Review

Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx

For months, Jake Ransom has experienced frightening nightmares and has gone through the motions of middle-grade life in his Connecticut home. With a heart heavy from grief brought on by not knowing the fate of his mother and father, Jake has taken up Tae Kwon Do. His older sister Kady fills her high school days with friends and cheerleading, as well as taking up a sword and learning how to fence.

Months earlier, after Jake and Kady returned from Pangaea, they made a pact not to tell anyone about the discovery of their father's pocket watch.

Determined to find out if their parents are dead or lost somewhere in time, Jake and Kady hope to use their father's watch to return to the prehistoric world of Calypsos, where Jake has stared down Kalverum Rex, the evil Skull King. Jake is certain his father's gold anniversary pocket watch is the key to unlocking the mystery of his parents' disappearance, and is convinced that his mother's inscription inside the watch gives a significant clue.

At Tae Kwon Do practice one day, Jake survives a fiery accident. But was it an accident? When he returns home, he interrupts a burglary and is almost kidnapped. Was the kidnapping a ruse to trick Jake into revealing the location of the watch? The following day, while viewing a special exhibit of an Egyptian mummy during a visit to a museum, Jake is transported to a strange desert land, where he is joined by Kady as well as Pindor, Marika and Bach'uuk --- all friends from his previous visit to Calypsos. In the hostile desert land, they are attacked by a pack of blood-thirsty velociraptors, taken captive by a tribe of hunters led by Princess Nefertiti and pursued once again by the Skull King.

JAKE RANSOM AND THE HOWLING SPHINX, the sequel to JAKE RANSOM AND THE SKULL KING'S SHADOW, is filled with action, surprises and intrigue. I've read several novels written by James Rollins, and he knows how to build and maintain suspense. His latest starts off with a bang and has lots of twists and turns and dramatic elements. At times I found the action confusing --- although that might be because I didn't read the first installment. While the story is told from Jake's middle-grader point of view, the voice slips into an older perspective. When he describes Master Kree as being "handsome like an Egyptian James Bond," the James Bond reference doesn't sound like a connection a middle grader would make --- at least not the one in my household.

Despite that, JAKE RANSOM AND THE HOWLING SPHINX is an action-heavy story that should appeal to readers who crave adventure, suspense and a hero with a big heart.

Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt on May 3, 2011

Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx
by James Rollins

  • Publication Date: May 3, 2011
  • Genres: Adventure, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 0061473820
  • ISBN-13: 9780061473821