February 18, 2018

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Mystery of the Ghost Ship by Philip Pullman | SLJ Review

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redstarPULLMAN, Philip . Mystery of the Ghost Ship. illus. by Fred Fordham. 160p. (The Adventures of John Black). Scholastic/Graphix. Jun. 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781338149128.

Gr 8 Up –When Harvard student Danielle succeeds in tracking the legendary Mary Alice, a pirate ship that disappears and reappears across time, she becomes drawn into a conspiracy headed by the menacing Dahlberg Corporation. The Dahlbergs are after the secrets of the Mary Alice, and only Royal Navy agent Roger Blake opposes them. Drawn into this web of intrigue is Serena, an Australian teenager who is swept off her parents’ yacht and rescued by the Mary Alice crew. Serena learns of the mysterious vessel’s ability to travel across time as well as the nature of its ragtag crew. While Roger Blake and Danielle race to find the ship before the Dahlbergs can, Serena unravels the true mystery aboard the Mary Alice: a teenage boy named John Blake. This is Pullman’s first original graphic novel, and fans of “His Dark Materials” will recognize such plot elements as the use of futuristic gadgets and the role of father figures. Fordham’s paneling and artwork initially read like storyboards, with a static appearance that relaxes as the fairly complex narrative progresses. The various plot threads coalesce into a powerful tale, with the artwork creating a soaring, cinematic feel. VERDICT A modern seafaring epic, highly recommended for all Pullman and fantasy fans and more than worthy of its author’s oeuvre.–Matisse Mozer, Los Angeles Public Library

This review was published in the School Library Journal May 2017 issue.

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  1. Andrew J.M. Johnson says:

    FYI typo: There is a misprint in your headline for the article about the new book by Philip Pullman. You mistook the series name of The Adventures of John BLAKE, putting John Black, instead.

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