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Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow

(Jake Ransom #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  2,874 ratings  ·  271 reviews
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 ev
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published April 28th 2009 by HarperCollins (first published 2009)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,874 ratings  ·  271 reviews

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The good thing about this book, is that even though I didn't feel totally immersed and invested while actually listening to it (as I had the audio cd) I ended up thinking about it between “readings,” and even now, a week after finishing, I find myself still harkening back to the story and wondering where it will go next.

First of all, I love the ideas Rollins has come up with here. I've always been interested in 'mixing and matching' - what would happen if various people, animals, eras, came toge
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have known of this book for some time but for some unknown reason I have always convinced myself not to bother - no idea why but I do now know I was a fool to do so.

James Rollins is an established author with many books to his name including the novelisation of the last (latest?) Indiana Jones film, so why is this book (and the sequel so special)

Well they were written with a different audience in mind - now I will admit that the fast paced action packed, slightly supernatural thrillers he writ
Although this is my first Rollins book, it seems like he is an old friend. I don't know him personally or anything, but his was one of the first author talks my sister and I attended and he was just such a nice man who told great adventure stories about his life and seemed to have a great sense of family. We won a drawing for a copy of his latest book and got to go to the front of the autograph line so we even got to chat with him a bit--though we felt a tad bad since there were so many fans the ...more
Apr 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow is a delightful combination of fantasy, mystery, history, and suspense, along with memorable characters, mystifying riddles, and marvelous creatures. The premise of the book is especially captivating: a world where all cultures coexist in one country, speaking the same language. Rollins takes advantage of this strange culture hodgepodge, introducing the reader to a variety of characters from all backgrounds, and all sorts of customs and people. In addition ...more
Eva Mitnick
Oct 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, children
The good: The plentiful action and thrills, as well as the exotic setting and people, should grab and hold the attention of readers who love adventure. Even reluctant readers may give this one a whirl if it's booktalked with maximum verve, and it might be a fun read-aloud for a 5th or 6th grade class.
The bad: The sentence structure is short and choppy - perhaps this is good for a reluctant reader but it certainly detracted from my own reading pleasure. There is very little character development
Jul 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
On a break from Middleton Prep, Jacob Ransom and his older sister, Katherine (Kady) are accidentally transported to a mysterious place inhabited and governed by a mixture of cultural groups from different times and places: Mayan, Roman, Egyptian, Sumerian, Medieval, Norse, and even Neanderthal. The existence of this peaceful and cooperative civilization is threatened - as are Jake and Kady - by the dark evil of Kalverum Rex, the Skull King. This fast-paced adventure combines elements of Harry Po ...more
X'avier Gamboa
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
My thoughts on the book is that it has a good plot and the characters develop throughout the time. An example of the characters developing through the story of the book is Jake who is a kid who does adventurous things such as discovering things about the Mayans. And discovering things about the world its self. Another example is Mari and Jake's friend that at first is afraid of many things and tries to be strong because he wants to be part of the best team in the lost village. But because of his ...more
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: electronic
a bit too nerdy, perhaps
Evi  The Fangirl
May 31, 2019 rated it it was ok

I remember it had potential but didn't live up to it.
Ravenous Biblioworm
Apr 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Rating: 3.5/5

I forgot how refreshing some tween/middle grade books are compared to Young Adult novels. They aren’t flooded with the angsty love triangles or romance. If there are any romance, it is limited or gets straight to the point without the ritual dancing of “Oh woe me, my heart is broken” (where I roll my eyes do wish literally that their hearts will break, and witnesss the blood gush out of their chest, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth… if you couldn’t tell I am really annoyed, and yes, I pr
Nov 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Summary: This historical fiction / fantasy novel is based on the Mayan civilization. When a mysterious invitation to an exibit of his missing parents' mayan discoveries appears, Jake and his sister Kady head off to London to visit the museum. Sponsored by a mysterious corporation, the exibit is held during a solar eclipse and when Jake puts his and Kady's coins in a golden pyramid, they are transported to an alternate time. In Atlantis, Jake, his new friends, and his sister fight mysterious mons ...more
John Beta
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Meh. James Rollins is one of my favorite thriller/adventure (T & A) authors. So, I decided to give this some of my attention. Sorry, but it lacked the T & A I'm accustomed to from his Sygma Force and other novels. ...more
May 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Arghhh.... I written a good review and lost it due to goodreads being over capacity..

Right main points.. I wont spoil this book beyond the synopsis, but i reckon all fans of James Rollins, especially read this book. Hell I recommend this book to anyone.

James Rollins is my favorite author. I love he style of writing and how he twists fact into fiction/reality into fiction, to create amazing story/book worlds and with interesting characters.

I admit a first I was hesitant to read this book. Previ
Twelve-year-old Jake doesn't seem to have adjusted to his parents' disappearance three years prior as well as his older sister, Kady, has. She is part of the popular crowd at school, but all he can think of is how he will one day become an archaeologist like them and figure out what happened to them.

This first story in the series begins in what appears to be a normal American setting, but it quickly changes dramatically as Jake and Kady end up suddenly thrust into a very unexpected adventure. Re
Ria Bridges
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
I was wary of this book right from the get-go. The prologue was a rather clunky attempt at action and suspense, which didn’t give me much hope for the rest of the book. Then I read further and found out that the main character was yet another one of those too-smart and too-misunderstood genius boys, the kind that can do no wrong without learning something profound from the experience, the kind disliked even by his teachers for his awesome intellect.

It’s painfully obvious that this book was not i
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Jake Ransom isn't a typical middle school-aged boy. During his spring break, he won't be playing video games or hanging with friends. He plans on attending a book signing of the new release written by his favorite physicist, sitting in on a lecture about the cannibal tribes of Borneo, and excavating shellfish fossils he discovered in a rock quarry near his house. No, Jake Ransom is no normal middle-schooler, but most kids his age didn't have archaeologist parents who went missing three
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First book of the year, and first ever audiobook! I actually read this series as a child when it first came out, and it was really fun revisiting it. It holds up as a children’s book, and clearly I’m still as much of an ancient history nerd as I was as a kid because it was a really fun adventure story. Admittedly, I borrowed this from the library because Pedro Pascal is the one that narrates it, but hey — whatever motivation gets me reading is good enough for me 🤷🏻‍♀️ It’s definitely hooked me o ...more
Hannah Belyea
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
While looking over an exhibition of all the artifacts his missing parents found on their travels, Jake and his sister Kady find themselves transported to Calypsos, a city made of various tribes. As they try to find a way back home, they soon learn that the great evil haunting the city could be looking for them, as well! Rollins begins an enjoyable and creative story that will have adventure and fantasy fans begging for more! Be sure to tag along on this epic journey as Jake, Kady and their new f ...more
D. E.
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A JR. Mystery Adventure Thriller/ALost World

JR. has. penned another SYFY. novel about parents that went missing. Following the directions from a map. Prior to leaving the couple left directions to their children. After some time has flown by the youngsters are no longer young children but have become young adults trained in martial arts, weapons and computer systems. This is an excellent read for the genre from a very skilled author of archeology discoveries and turning them from the hunt to the
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
Here is the thing this kind of fantasy rubbish, Just does not float my boat. Yes I know It's not set at my age group, but frankly, the whole thing is utter tosh! Characters & situations I cared not a jot about. Totaly ridiculous from beginning to end. The next time I read a James Rollins novel I will make sure it does not involve the words " Jake Ransom or Skull King"! I've given it two stars as somehow my tortured brain managed to finish it, At least reading this tosh at the start of the year m ...more
Terri Floccare
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jake Ransom and his sister Kady are the children of famous archaeologists. Their parent's camp was attacked while on a dig in Mexico and they are missing, presumed dead. The British Museum is hosting an exhibit of their latest finds and have invited Jake and Kady to attend. They fly to London and their world is changed forever.

This is a rollicking good read - think Indiana Jones meets Jurassic Park. First in a series for middle grade readers.
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Adventure readers
This book was better than I thought it would be. I liked the idea of going back in time, instead of just going to a magical land. I also think that the characters were well developed, and I liked the way the characters interacted. One thing I didn't like was the clumsy writing. I feel like Rollins's execution of Marika's crush was inept and awkward. Other than that, I feel like it was a good book. ...more
Michael Chesler
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Always a pleasure

This story is about a boy named Jake and how he held us all here for ransom! Even though there is no such animal as a brontosaurus, their were avian reptiles that, indeed, had teeth!
The book was creative home travel with a mix of different cultures that reminded me of the river world series
Jessica Cannon
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is super entertaining for younger kids! It kept me involved but also entertained my younger kids. A lot like Magic Tree house, but longer and more descriptive. If you are driving with kids I reccomend the audiobook. If you just like to read books then I would reccomend this book highly for kids.
Darlene Van Horn
Right up my alley for reading. I liked it because it got my attention and I was a goner after that.!!
M.D. Khamil
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you liked Percy Jackson, this is the book you should pick up next! Amazing! Stunning! Adventurous! Risky! Wonderful! Just WOW!!!
Vanalottiel Olanthir
This was much better than I expected, and highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys a good adventure.
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
A really good book, but a little too slow-paced at times. I enjoyed the setting. The characters were clearly depicted and easy to distinguish from one another.
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this book when I was in 5th grade and loved it. I'm so glad that I found the series again, hopefully he'll have more books out soon *wink, wink* ...more
Octavianus Gautama
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love it. Didn't expect much, but boy, was I wrong. As I joined Jake and Kady on their journey, I couldn't put the book down. Really enjoy it. ...more
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James Rollins is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of international thrillers. His writing has been translated into more than forty languages and has sold more than 20 million books. The New York Times says, “Rollins is what you might wind up with if you tossed Michael Crichton and Dan Brown into a particle accelerator together.” NPR calls his work, “Adventurous and enormously engrossing.” ...more

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Jake Ransom (2 books)
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74 likes · 26 comments
“Laat nog eens wat zien.'
'Pinder, hij is geen getrainde duikelaap die een dansje maakt voor een handvol nootjes.'
Toch zag Jake hoe Marika probeerde haar eigen nieuwsgierig te verbergen. Hij zag ook dat haar groene ogen het licht weerkaatsten als smaragden.
'Ik kan jullie wel een paar dingen laten zien,' zei Jake.
'Dat hoeft niet,' zei Marika, maar ze fleurde helemaal op.”
“His own cabinat of cuoriositie” 2 likes
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