Action can't make up empty feeling

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 February, 2012, 12:00am


Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx
By James Rollins
Published by Orion
ISBN 9781 4440 0085 6

This is the second book in the Jake Ransom series by James Rollins.

Three months have passed since teen hero Jake returned from the fantasy world of Pangaea where he fought and defeated the evil Skull King, but the student still has no idea where his parents are. Are they still trapped in Pangaea?

In the true tradition of an adventure story, The Howling Sphinx begins with intense action meant to grab readers. Jake is at his taekwondo class when a runaway car smashes through the gym windows, narrowly missing him and his friend Brandon. Jake returns home after the incident to find intruders attacking his guardians. Obviously someone does not wish Jake well.

The story gets going when Jake and his sister Kady visit the American Museum of Natural History in New York. While the two teens are checking out an ancient Egyptian exhibit, they are mysteriously whisked back through time to a desert. Are they back in Pangaea?

Thanks to their magic bracelets, the Ransoms run into three youths they befriended the last time they were in the mystical land. The five teens, all from different times and places, find themselves up against the Skull King once more.

The Howling Sphinx is tightly packed with characters and action, and too many details. This leaves the reader puzzled.

The Jake Ransom series may be intended to fill the gap left by Harry Potter, but there's no chance of that. There are thrills, spills and cliffhangers in The Howling Sphinx, but it's all quickly forgotten after the final page. More adventures will certainly follow - here's hoping the next one won't be so empty.