THE BLACK by D.J. MacHale


From the "Morpheus Road" series, volume 2
Age Range: 10 - 14
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Finding himself dead after a collision with a speedboat, Cooper Foley quickly realizes the afterlife is not as restful as people believe. A dead Macedonian strategist named Damon is engineering a return to the world of the living, and he murdered Cooper in an attempt to retrieve a poleax with mystical powers. While struggling with the quest Damon has imposed on him, Cooper must also be wary of the Watchers, shadowy beings that observe the dead and make final judgments on their progress out of limbo. Plagued by the same plot and pacing issues that afflicted The Light (2010), this second volume of the Morpheus Road series is nearly a retread of the first. MacHale uses this novel to explain the events of the first, from afterlife terminology to supernatural phenomena, rehashing much of the action. Cooper is saddled by the same scattered characterization issues that hampered his friend Marshall, the narrator of the first book, swinging from troublemaker to saint to rhetorician with little development apparent. From the blood crucibles of Alexander to the encounter with his best friend’s dead mother to the mysterious deaths at his grandfather’s farm, there are too many plot twists, too much explanation and too little motivation to keep readers journeying down this road. (Horror. 10-14)
Pub Date: April 19th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4169-6517-6
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Aladdin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2011


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