The Adventures of John Blake: Mystery of the Ghost Ship by Philip Pullman, illustrated by Fred Fordham


    The Adventures of John Blake: Mystery of the Ghost Ship by Philip Pullman, illustrated by Fred Fordham. Scholastic/Graphix, 2017. 9781338149128

Format: ARC

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre:  Fantasy/Adventure

What did you like about the book? Leave it to Philip Pullman to pull off a graphic novel genre mashup of fantasy, adventure and science and history set on the high seas. John Blake is just one of several time travelling buccaneers aboard the Mary Alice. But he is the one wanted by the evil billionaire Carlos Dahlberg, inventor of a device which he hopes will accomplish his aims of world domination. He knows that John has a damning secret about him from another era in time. Corrupted minions of Dahlberg chase John and the ship and vow death to all the crew, but there are compelling characters on the side of good who are interested in the Mary Alice and her crew for other reasons. When Serena, an Australian girl sailing with her family, falls overboard and is rescued by the Mary Alice, she is fascinated by John’s story and vows to help him sets things aright. The fast paced action, on land and sea all over the world, with fascinating characters and gorgeous illustration, is a breathtaking experience which hints at a sequel. The illustrations have a cinematic feel, with dramatic seas and skies and some very believably scary bad guys. Includes a section of vivid back stories of the colorful and diverse crew at the end. Pullman’s first graphic novel, and hopefully not his last!

Anything you didn’t like about it? Waiting for the sequel!

To whom would you recommend this book?  Offer to graphic novel adventure lovers, ages 8 and up, and to fans of Pullman’s His Dark Materials.

Who should buy this book? Middle school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Graphic novels

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: May 2, 2017

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