Indiana Jones and the Pyramid of the Sorcerer
Published by Scholastic
Adrick's Rating: 2 out of 4
An All New Indiana Jones Adventure!
Indiana Jones’ luck has finally run out. In 1941, he’s stuck in a jail in Puerto Bolivar, Ecuador. When the U.S. Army comes knocking with an official release, Indy knows they’ll want something big from him in exchange—like cracking the mystery of the fabled Hall of Records—a treasure trove that, legend says, allows you to read the future.
On this adventure, Indy will not only have to outsmart and outmaneuver his enemies, he’ll also have to figure out who his enemies are—because spies and traitors are gunning for him at every turn!
So…yeah, Indy has a new young adult series! The Indiana Jones series doesn’t get the same kind of attention that its sister franchise Star Wars does, so it’s always good to see Indy’s adventures continue in print. This series has looks promising, given that it’s set in the Nazi-laden period of the early 1940s, which has been relatively uncharted territory for Indy tie-ins.
Windham does an excellent job of setting up the mystery of the Hall of Records via a returning character from Raiders and a mysterious film reel. He also really nails Indy’s post-Crusade character in the scene where Indy first dismisses the Hall entirely before becoming intrigued at a college’s impossible knowledge of past and future events.
Windham also puts his own knowledge of Indy’s past and future to good use, referencing the events of the Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis computer game, and beginning to show how Indy went from feeling angry and bitter towards Army Intelligence in Raiders to his own career as an American agent in WWII, tantalizingly hinted at in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. There’s also a great line at the end that could be one of the best Indy quips in print. All in all, it’s not a bad start to a new series.
Since this is a young reader’s book, a lot about Indy’s adventures would have to be toned down. Villains can’t always be dispatched in the most gruesome manner, romance can only be hinted at…this is to be expected and needn’t get in the way of telling a good story.
Somehow, though, Windham managed to slip through way more violence than I would expect, or even want. There aren’t a lot of deaths, but Indy does end up beating the crap out of a lot of people. It even starts to get gratuitous; at one point Indy gets into a two page fight with two bruisers because…they were drunk. It doesn’t advance the plot at all; it just takes up page space. This is not a movie, where such a scene could be staged humorously, or a video game, where you’re supposed to fight people to progress to the next level. I’d rather read more about the mystery of the Hall of Records than a fight scene with no purpose.
A few of the historical references also struck me as being somewhat heavy handed and pointless: (“A dwarf sorcerer, huh? I bet he didn’t look anything like Mickey Mouse in Fantasia.” Right. Because an airplane pilot who spent most of her time in South America would be familiar with an animated film that had debuted only months before and was notoriously difficult to put into wide release.) For the most part, though, Windham pulls it through, with lots of nice information on the period planes and other vehicles. I’m not sure if how much the grade school set is going to pay attention to this, but I appreciated it.
Well, there’s…um, the part where…the thing…actually, you know what? There isn’t anything. No face melting, no heart removal, no disintegrating Veers, and no ants. Sorry.