If you are the sort who enjoys being swept away into magical places, adrift on fantastical seas, and submerged into exciting adventure, then James Matlack Raney’s books are for you! Yes, I’m actually encouraging adult get-aways into childhood fantasies, and why not? I was thrilled to get my copy of Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull, the second novel in the Jim Morgan series. In the society of today, reading about stories of friendship and overcoming circumstances, while being able to utilize imaginations, is a wonderful retreat for adults into the stress-free days of childhood! Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull offers just that kind of entertainment with lots of fantasy at its helm.
Though the books can be entertaining for adults, they are really young adult novels and marvelous for children as well. If you have higher level middle readers to young adult boys and girls to buy for, both those who like to read or are reluctant readers, then these books is a MUST as they will catch the attention of their action-oriented spirits!
Raney brings great suspense, action, and magic to the page in his sequel. As Jim Morgan heads back to Morgan Manor after he hears his aunt is to be put on trial for crimes against his family, he discovers that danger still has sights on him and his band of merry friends. Jim, the Ratt brothers, and the lone girl, Lacey, head off to sea adventures and battle pirate villans and stormy seas. In Black Skull, he continues to build layers onto each of his main characters, making them continually more endearing to the readers. He also introduces new characters that fit well into the story and bring the adventures in book two to life! I enjoy all his characters and how he brings a unique quality to each that make them recognizable and original.
Any fantasy loving adult or adventurous tween/teen will get totally mesmerized by a world that features sea monsters, a talisman, merpeople, talking lizards, a veiled island, riddles, and lots of magic! I know I was hooked! Just imagine Raney’s original novel plot intermixed with bits of Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, and Captain Hook, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, The Hobbit….maybe just a tad of a nod to work by Robert Louis Stevenson yet from a more modern imaginative view…..and even a touch of the show LOST and Indiana Jones.
This would make an amazing movie with superb special effects and I would buy my front row seat right now!! Until then, I am going to re-read this book again and enjoy the magical ride with the crew on their ship. I was going to have each of my kids read it too, as when they saw the AWESOME cover, it really drew them in, but I think I might read a few a chapters a night to them instead. This would be a great book to read aloud with the lights turned down (maybe some blankets and a flashlight, or Christmas Tree lights, or candlelight) and a popcorn bowl nearby.
This book gets high marks from me for his narrative prose, his literary maturity, his ability to write suspense that leaves you hanging, and his imaginative details! I would recommend this book many times over to adults for themselves or young adults for which they might need a gift. Beyond its great suspense and fantastical adventures, it’s also a great story of friendship and overcoming adversity, which touched my heart and made me feel happy!
Thanks to JMR for writing a wonderful story that took me to a distant place and eased my stressful week (it’s a few days before Christmas at the time of this post) and I certainly hope that many children will be unwrapping this book under their tree or parents will purchase soon for their children to read over their holiday break! Any time of their purchase though is worth the money as it’s a well-written novel with abounding magical adventures.
Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull, Synopsis~
Over a year has passed since Jim Morgan outwitted the King of Thieves and escaped from London with his friends, Lacey and the Brothers Ratt. Now, at long last, Jim is ready to return home to Morgan Manor.
But a dark vision haunts Jim’s dreams – a Crimson Storm with the face of a black skull. Soon, Jim is thrust into a deadly race against his father’s old enemies, Count Cromier and his son, Bartholomew. This time, he will face terrors beyond his imagination – pirate battles, hidden islands, sorcerers, and sea monsters.
New foes and magic forces will tempt and test Jim. For there are terrible secrets he has yet to learn, secrets about his father, the Treasure of the Ocean, and his own incredible destiny…
Adventure has a new name – Jim Morgan!
Hot on the heels of Jim Morgan and the King of Thieves, which was praised by About.com’s Fatherhood Guide, YAReads.com, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews and influential book bloggers across the globe as “a rip-roaring good tale for children of all ages,” Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull sees old friends, new foes and magic forces tempt and test its protagonist, who is, one year following King of Thieves conclusion, at long last ready to return home to Morgan Manor.
Faced with terrors beyond his imagination – pirate battles, hidden islands, sorcerers and sea monsters – in Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull, the formerly spoiled-rotten Jim Morgan must learn to trust new allies, discover the power and magic of true friendship – and, just possibly uncover a hero hidden within him.
Ripe with fantastical challenges and miraculous victories that will resonate with any young reader who finds themselves in the thick of navigating young adulthood’s complexities, Jim Morgan and the King of Thieves is a good old-fashioned adventure story fit for a 21st century attention span.
“I wrote Jim Morgan to grab the attention of boy readers who have few options on bookshelves in today’s marketplace,” says Raney of the series. “Contrary to popular belief, I feel that boys actually enjoy reading, provided it’s rich with excitement, danger, and emotional themes they crave.”
A must-add to the shopping list of librarians, educators, parents and relatives of reading-reluctant boys everywhere, among the topics and themes explored in Jim Morgan and the Pirates of Black Skull include:
- Why exploring the mysteries and adventures the real world has to offer is infinitely better – and more rewarding – than another day behind a computer screen
- The search for identity on one’s own: discovering a sense of self independently
- The many shades of grey between the lines of good versus evil and right versus wrong
- The vital importance of true friendship through the many hurdles and challenges that life throws your way
James Matlack Raney, Biography~
Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull is available now on Amazon and in select physical locations.
Check out more on his website: http://jimmorganbooks.com/