I Promise You Won't Learn A Thing From This Blog

The official blog for author Ashley Chappell. Check back every week for a few laughs at my expense or, if you know the love-hate process that is writing, commiseration.

Friday, December 13, 2013

MG Review: 'Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull'

As it is late while I start to write this review, let me preface this post with an apology and also with gratitude. My mind rises and sets with the sun, so this late post has been saved by my trusty online editor: I use Grammarly's plagiarism online checker because I am nowhere near as bright after dark as I'd like to think I am. 

But this post isn't about me. It's about a book you should be reading, and then telling your friends that they should be reading, because that's what true book lovers do.

If you, like me, are tempted every time you see a world map to take a Sharpie and scrawl "Here be Dragons" over the ocean expanses, then author James Raney has a series for you. I just finished Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull which is a sequel to Jim Morgan and the King of Thieves, and this is one book that I'll happily re-read simply for joy in the masterful prose with which is was written. The narrative voice is reminiscent of 19th Century London (which the author manages to make work very well even in a book for younger readers), and the main characters can be little darlings and little wankers all upon the same page which makes for a fantastic and fun read. Even at their most mischievous Jim and his friends are characters to whom any child can relate and hopefully learn to emulate.

Their adventures lead them against pirates and magic (in which a young reader learns that taking shortcuts always comes with a heavy price), and at the heart of all of their deeds is the lesson that friendship, family, and integrity always trump material gain. Even better, in addition to that mix is a brilliant and colorful cast of supporting characters ranging from enchanted talking animals to dragons and mermen.

Simply put, this book is a must read whether you are 8 or 88.

If you now find yourself wondering now who exactly are the Pirates of the Black Skull, you may prefer to first start by acquainting yourself with the King of Thieves. This diabolical criminal was the first monster young Jim Morgan was forced to face, after all.

To connect with the author, find James Raney on Facebook and Twitter.