Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull (Jim Morgan #2)
by James Matlack Raney
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! – Amazon
My reading time has been quite limited and more focused on YA books than MG over the past year, so I thought it was time to get back into the genre. It was the cover of this book that first grabbed me with its promise of a pirate adventure, so I figured it was time to climb aboard.
Jim Morgan is a young lad who has had a troubled upbringing and finds himself the recipient of an inheritance. But it seems that not all inheritances are equal. This one comes with a lot of baggage. The biggest problem being the foes of his ancestors and the unfinished business of previous disputes.
It’s an underlying plot that’s familiar, and one that can work if it has enough point of difference. This one works fine. I found the characters endearing and that was the main aspect that kept me turning pages. The mix of Jim’s adventurous spirit, the intrigue of pirate folklore, and the legends that needed exploring are a great basis for a story. Much of the story is based on a mysterious island, which is almost impossible to find. But once he stumbles upon it, he finds it’s full of hidden dangers and hopefully the bounty he seeks.
Some parts of the book were better at capturing the ‘piraty’ feel more than others. And when that was the case, they were the parts I enjoyed most. There were times when I forgot we were pirates, like whenever Jim encountered a new magical creature. I’m not sure why, but sometimes it felt like I’d crossed into the realm of something like The Neverending Story.
Even with points mentioned above, I did enjoy this hearty tale. There’s nothing I encountered that really made me dislike the book. Jim Morgan and the Pirates of the Black Skull would make a worthwhile read for fans of pirates and magical creatures. It’s only as I write this review that I realize that this is book 2 in a series and I haven’t read book 1. I guess you could conclude that reading book 1 first isn’t essential to get into the story.
A fun read if you’re after an escape into the land of pirates. This tale moves along at a good pace and kept my attention. Recommended for MG fans of pirates and magical creatures.
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Find the links to read more great Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts from middle-grade authors and bloggers at Greg Pattridge’s ‘Always in the Middle’ Blog.