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Editorial Reviews

With his Jake Ransom series James Rollins uses his adeptness at exploring the mysterious and thrilling and gears it towards a younger audience. Jake and his sister, Kady, are drawn into a fantastic adventure prompted by a letter and an artifact from one of their long-missing parent's expeditions. But when they discover a strange and savage land that may have been the cause of their parents' disappearance they find that the evil Skul King wants to make sure that they also disappear. Pedro Pascal gives a steady performance of this audiobook, hushed and intense, that accentuates the enigmatic tone of the story making it palpable to young or old listeners.

Publisher's Summary

When a mysterious envelope arrives for Jake Ransom, he and his older sister, Kady, are plunged into a gripping chain of events. An artifact found by their parents - on the expedition from which they never returned - leads Jake and Kady to a strange world inhabited by a peculiar mix of long-lost civilizations, a world that may hold the key to their parents' disappearance.

But even as they enter the gate to this extraordinary place, savage grackyls soar across the sky, diving to attack. Jake's new friends, the pretty Mayan girl Marika and the Roman Pindor, say the grackyls were created by an evil alchemist - the Skull King. And as Jake struggles to find a way home, it becomes obvious that what the Skull King wants most is Jake and Kady, dead or alive.

©2009 James Rollins (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lilly2734
  • Mentone, AL, United States
  • 03-26-13

Turned out to be a child's book and I loved it

I've read Rollins from his first book on. Spooky, crazy, unbelievable stuff that fascinated me. Then he moved on to Sigma Force and I really enjoy those. So when I saw this I didn't take a close look and here I was in fantasy land. Great fun read. Just proves to me that with a decent imagination you're never too old!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Michele
  • Alpine, UT, United States
  • 12-15-11

Rollins does it again!

Another good read by Rollins, however, this one is also geared towards a little younger teenage reader. My hubby and I still enjoyed it even though it was not quit as sophisticated as some of his other books!
We love Rollins' creative mind and where his books take us! A good journey!
Enjoy!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Continuous mispronunciations by the Narrator...

I cringed every time he kept mispronouncing the same words over and over again. His performance was pretty good, but the constant mispronunciations were SO distracting, that I kept getting pulled out of the story.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lisandro
  • livermore, CA, United States
  • 03-22-10

Harper audio for "KIDS!!"

Actually a pretty good book but writen for preteens. I was upset that it doesnt say that in any of the descriptions. I felt kinda dooped but having puchased it, I listened to it and found it to be worth while. Exellent if you have a preteen to listen with you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Nora
  • Seymour, MO, USA
  • 05-10-09

Jake Ranson and the Skull King's Shadow

I think a better book for pre-teens than for this old granny! But I did enjoy it to the end.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A favorite!

This is one of my all time favorite books. I owned a paper copy of it, a few years back. I listened to this on lunch breaks.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A YA Series For Those Who Prefer Science To Magic

Would you consider the audio edition of Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow to be better than the print version?

Have not read the print version, but the performance was enjoyable. Albeit with a bit too much overture music between chapters.

What other book might you compare Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow to and why?

This compares well to the Harry Potter series and the Rick Riordan books - but with less magic and a little more science. Although some of the science is a bit magic-y.

Have you listened to any of Pedro Pascal’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not. But this was very well done and pleasant to listen to.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Nothing jumps out as specifically moving, but I did find the early bits of Jake's normal home/school life to be fascinating and insightful.

Any additional comments?

High adventure for the middle school crowd. Time travel - monsters - a Land Of The Lost - what more could you ask for? A good start to the series. Recommended.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story, cut some of the music

The story was great. Simple for the young reader. The narration was also well done. The music production was too much though. You wanted to get on the the next part but there was an interlude that you would have to wait for. And some of the music was just oddly placed, too loud, and definitely too long. It doesn't take away from the story though. Just an annoyance to wait for. You might use it to take a break to get some hot chocolate!

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

What would have made Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow better?

The story was weak and tediously slow. It appears that Mr. Rollins (whose books I usually thoroughly enjoy) was attempting to start a story line similar to those of the Harry Potter series. The story was written for a very young adult but the language was for a more mature reader. Still, very weak story. Also, reader read s-l-o-w-l-y......boring.

What was most disappointing about James Rollins’s story?

The story line was weak and boring.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Pedro Pascal?

Just about anyone else.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow?

Would have re-written it to be for a younger adult.