Mystery of the Ghost Ship – Philip Pullman

33118863The Adventures of John Blake: Mystery of the Ghost Ship by Philip Pullman

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: May 30th, 2017
Publisher: Graphix
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Graphic Novel, Time Travel

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Trapped in the mists of time by a terrible research experiment gone wrong, John Blake and his mysterious ship are doomed to sail between the centuries, searching for a way home. In the ocean of the modern day, John rescues a shipwrecked young girl his own age, Serena, and promises to help.

But returning Serena to her own time means traveling to the one place where the ship is in most danger of destruction. The all-powerful Dahlberg Corporation has an ambitious leader with plans far greater and more terrible than anyone has realized, and he is hot on their trail. For only John, Serena, and the crew know Dahlberg’s true intentions, and only they have the power to stop him from bending the world to his will . . .


How is it possible that this book was written by the same man who wrote His Dark Materials?

In Philip Pullman’s defence, the art wasn’t great either, so both authors’ executions failed somewhat… miserably.

In reality, I’m not a fan of time travel, but only because I have yet to read a time travel book that takes my breath away. Well, now that I think about it, I quite loved the manhwa series Crazy Girl Shin Bia-Ah, but it’s more fantasy/historical than time travel per se.

A ship that travels through time? That’s original. I especially liked how the ship was in control more than the crew, taking them in whichever century it wanted.

Unfortunately, there are dozens of characters with different motives to pursue the ship to keep track of, and most of the time I had to force myself to feel interested in whatever they were saying. So one-dimensional. No connection.

I did like Serena, and not only because she made me think of a younger Serena van der Woodsen from Gossip Girl. I found her story the saddest – she was on a boat with her family when a storm threw her into the ocean. She would have died if John Blake hadn’t saved her.

It’s just not as exciting as it looks. The action is often smothered by the characters’ tendencies to talk, talk, talk instead of act, act, act. Sometimes I wished there were a narrator telling me what the hell was going on, because the dialog was so dull I think there are moments when I spaced out.

I’m giving this a two-star-rating because I can see its potential – that one last image though! – and I was curious about the ship for most of the book. The art isn’t bad, but it’s not my style. I prefer one that looks more natural instead of still images one next to the other. I mean, I’m not crazy. I know images don’t come to life. But sometimes, when you’re into a book, they do…


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