Skull Eye Island by Peter Greene
(Summary taken from the back book cover) “Homeless and alone on the streets of London in 1800, twelve-year-old Jonathan Moore survives this harsh and dangerous world using courage, intelligence and determination. His dismal fate changes dramatically one day after he is abducted by a gang and pressed into service aboard the HMS Poseidon, a forty-four gun fighting frigate of the British Royal Navy. However, there is more to the event than just a change of address. How is it that some members of the crew, including the Captain, already know his name? Why do the officers seem to favor him above the other new crewmembers? As Jonathan endeavors to solve these mysteries, he is thrust into a daring mission to recover a hidden treasure on a remote Caribbean isle. Unfortunately, the crew and officers of the Poseidon are not the only ones searching for the prize. In a desperate race across the Atlantic to Skull Eye Island, Jonathan is pitted against sword-wielding spies, engages in terrifying ship-to-ship battles and in the end, must match his wits and courage against a ruthless and cunning French Captain and his powerful warship.”
I loved this book! It is written very well, and I really liked Mr. Greene’s writing style. It just pulled me in from the beginning, and I couldn’t put it down. I could picture myself on the ship, in the Captain’s quarters, on the island, and in France walking to the apothecary shop. I love it when I can become a part of the story; that is why I read! Mr. Greene’s character development is really good. I did have a hard time keeping track of some of the crew members at first, but figured it out in the end. I especially liked Jonathan and Sean, the Captain, and Mr. Harrison. Some of the other crew members were grumpy old sailors, but they all had some good moments. The story is well written and exciting. There is action, sword-fighting, storms, mystery, and treasure! What more could you want? Oh, romance? Well, there might be a paragraph or two on that as well. Remember, Jonathan is only 12 years-old, so hopefully there’s not too much romance. I really don’t know anything about ships, so some of the jargon was difficult at first, but I think I got it down by the end. That is another reason I enjoy reading; I love to learn about different things, on my couch, in my p.j.’s. It’s great!
And what is something I love? It is clean!! Yes, that makes me very happy. You can have a wonderful story without the language and other questionable material. There is some sword-fighting and a few characters die, but it is a war, and the descriptions are not in-depth or gruesome. I highly recommend this book, and can’t wait for my boys to read it. I think they will really enjoy it as well.
Rating: PG (Some sword-fighting, ships shooting each other, and a few minor characters die)
Recommendation: 9 years-old (4th Grade-ish) up. This would be a fun read-aloud as well as a great silent read.
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.