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The Black (Morpheus Road) Hardcover – April 19, 2011


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 630L (What's this?)
  • Series: Morpheus Road (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin; 1 edition (April 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416965173
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416965176
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #690,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

D.J. MacHale is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Pendragon series and the Morpheus Road series. He has written, directed and produced many television series and movies for young people that have been seen on Nickelodeon, The Disney Channel, HBO, Showtime, PBS, Discovery Kids, and the broadcast networks. D.J. lives with his family in Southern California.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1

“Don’t be an idiot. Just go to the lake until things calm down.”

My sister was telling me what to do, as usual, because she knows everything.

“I’m not going to run away,” I countered. “I can handle those guys.”

Sydney groaned. She did that a lot, mostly when I didn’t do what she wanted, which was always. Sydney and I might have looked like each other—we shared the same dark hair and blue eyes—but that’s where the similarity ended. For one, I’m better-looking. The guys who tried to get with her probably had a different opinion but I’m sticking with mine. She was only a year older than me but treated me like I was a lower form of life that shouldn’t be allowed to breathe air that could go to someone more deserving. Like her.

I didn’t care what she thought.

“Wow,” she said sarcastically. “Such a tough guy. What if the police want you to give up their names? What’ll you do then?”

I shrugged. “I already gave them names.”

“What!” she screamed.

“Relax. I didn’t tell them about you. Or your dim boyfriend.”

Sydney glared at me with anger and confusion. Her cool was broken, which was saying something because normally she was ice.

“Why?” was all she managed to get out.

“I didn’t have a choice. If I didn’t give them something, I’d be sitting in juvie right now fighting off a bunch of hard cases who really are tough. Besides, they had it coming.”

“I don’t believe this.” Sydney moaned as she paced my bedroom floor.

It was her fault that I was in Trouble Town to begin with and I think she felt guilty about it. Guilt was an alien emotion to Sydney so it was fun to see her squirm. She normally had it all going on … which was her biggest problem. Our parents expected her to be perfect and she mostly was, for a heartless vampire. But she resented the pressure and that caused tension in Foley-world. Her latest act of defiance was to announce she was getting a tattoo. Our parents went nuts and threatened to hold back her college money. For somebody headed to Stanford, that was serious. I don’t think Sydney really wanted to get inked, but my parents’ threat drove her straight to the low-life tattoo guy.

Her big rebellious statement backfired. The tattoo caused a nasty infection that landed her in the emergency room, where she got fixed up and smacked with a bill for a couple hundred bucks … money she didn’t have and couldn’t ask our parents to put out. She didn’t want them to have the satisfaction of knowing they were absolutely right about the tattoo being a dumb idea. She was stuck until her boyfriend, Mikey, offered a way out. He knew some guys with Yankees tickets that they were willing to let Sydney scalp. Whatever profit she made, she and Mikey would split. Sydney had no idea how to scalp tickets and Mikey was an idiot, which is how I got involved. I knew how to get things done.

I liked the idea of Sydney owing me so I took the tickets, sold them for a decent profit, and bailed her out with the doctor bill. I felt good about it, too. She was still my sister. Everybody was happy … until the cops showed up at our door. Turned out the tickets were bogus. Counterfeit. I guess there were some angry people at Yankee Stadium who found people sitting in their expensive field-level seats … with legit tickets. Oops.

“I should give them Mikey’s name too,” I said. “That fool had to know the tickets were fake.”

She shook her head. “No, he’s not bright enough to do something so dumb.”

“Well, those other dirtballs knew. Nobody messes with me like that. I hope they do time.”

Sydney jumped to her feet. “Why?” she screamed. “Why is it always about you?”

“You made it about me when you asked me to get you out of trouble.”

Sydney’s eyes flared. “Go to the lake, Cooper,” she said in a seething whisper. “Do the smart thing for once in your life.”

She stormed out of my bedroom, throwing a parting shot for the rest of the house to hear, “Get over yourself for once and just go!”

I actually felt bad for her, not that I’d tell her so. Whatever problems I had would blow over. I always found my way out of Trouble Town. But Sydney was different. It must have killed her to know how badly she had messed up … and brought some lesser mortals down with her. Still, I wasn’t about to do what she wanted, which was to go to our family’s lake house and hide out for the summer. I didn’t want to run scared. That wasn’t me.

“What the heck?” came a voice at my door.

It was Marshall Seaver, my best friend.

“Can you believe it?” I said. “They want me to get out of town like some mob guy who has to lay low until the heat dies down.”

Marsh knew about the tickets, but not about the tattoo and Sydney’s involvement in the whole mess.

“Maybe you could just go for a week or two,” he offered.

“No. They’re talking the whole summer. That lake is death, Ralph. What’ll I do up there? Fish? That gets old after eight seconds. The place is great if you’re six or sixty. For everybody else … torture.”

My family had a cottage on Thistledown Lake, a couple of hours north of our home in Stony Brook. I used to love spending summers there, especially when Marsh came up. We always had a blast just hanging out and being kids. But we weren’t kids anymore.

“What’s Sydney’s problem?” he asked.

Marsh stood there in his hoodie with his blond hair falling into his eyes. We’d been tight since kindergarten. He was like my brother. But the older we got the more he seemed like my little brother. He wasn’t an idiot. Far from it. But where he liked building model rockets and reading comic books and camping out, I was, well, I was scalping baseball tickets. I can’t say which of us was better off.

“Who knows?” I said, ducking the question. “My parents aren’t even making her go. She gets to be on her own for the whole summer while I’m sentenced to two months at Camp Kumbaya.”

I hated not telling him the whole truth but it bothered me more that I was being forced into a corner by everybody, including my best friend. I picked up a football and threw it into a chair. Hard. It didn’t make me feel any better.

“Mikey the Mauler’s downstairs,” Marsh said, pressing. “He threatened to hurt you. What’s that all about?”

“Nothing,” I said. “Forget it.”

“Did he give you the fake tickets?”

“No! Let it go, all right! It’s none of your business.”

Marsh was asking all the right questions and I didn’t want to lie to him so I jumped up and went to the bedroom window. It was wide open … a tempting escape hatch.

“It is my business!” he shouted back. “You did something stupid, and now you’re going to have to take off for a couple of months to get away from the mess, and poof! There goes summer.”

I slammed the window shut so hard it made the house rattle. “That makes it your business? Because I’m ruining your summer?”

“That’s not what I meant,” Marsh said, backpedaling.

“Yeah, you did,” I countered. I hated it when he only saw things through his own naive perspective. “Gee, sorry, Marsh. I should have thought it through before doing anything that might spoil your fun. How inconsiderate of me.”

“Don’t go there,” he shot back. “I know this isn’t about me, but it’s not just about you, either. The stuff you do has fallout.”

“Fallout? I’ll give you fallout. The cops threatened to throw me in juvie unless I told them where I got the fake tickets … so I gave up a couple of guys. And you know what? I don’t care because those dirtballs set me up. But now I’m looking over my shoulder in case they find out I ratted and come after me. That’s fallout. So I’m sorry if I messed up your plans to pretend like we’re still twelve, but you know, things happen.”

“That’s cold,” he said softly.

“Move on, Marsh. We’re not kids anymore.”

“I know that.”

I should have stopped right there but I was too worked up.

“But hey, who am I to judge? Do whatever you want. I’m sure there are plenty of guys who want to hang out with you and watch cartoons. I’m not your only friend.”

I hesitated, then added the killing blow, “Or am I?”

The pained look on Marsh’s face said it all. I’d gone too far.

“Have a good summer,” he said, and walked out of the room.

I didn’t mean to hurt him but I was frustrated and Marsh was an easy target. I should have yanked him back into the room to tell him why I was so angry, but I didn’t want him to know the truth about Sydney. Marsh liked Sydney. Heck, he probably loved her. To him she was perfect and I wanted to protect him from the truth. I did that a lot, especially after all he’d been through.

Marsh’s mother was killed a few years before. It was a tragedy that seemed to freeze time for him. I’m no shrink but I think he didn’t want to let go of the life he had when his mom was there, which is why he still thought like a kid while the rest ...

More About the Author

D.J. MacHale is the author of the bestselling book series Pendragon - Journal of an Adventure Through Time and Space; the spooky Morpheus Road trilogy and the whimsical picture book The Monster Princess. The first book of his new adventure trilogy, SYLO, was published in July of 2013. In addition to his published works, he has written, directed and produced numerous award-winning television series and movies for young people including Are You Afraid of the Dark?; Flight 29 Down and Tower of Terror. D.J. lives with his family in Southern California.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 21 customer reviews
And I personally can't wait for the third and final book in this exciting series.
Books31
A few flashbacks to THE LIGHT are explored, and it's interesting to see how both Cooper's and Marsh's stories are intertwined without either one really recognizing it.
Teen Reads
There was alot of action in the book and I enjoyed getting to know this other main character, from the first book.
music fanatic

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Julie A. Smith on April 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
First thing's first: I love it when I can read a sequel out of order and not feel as though I'm missing most of the story by not having read the first book. THAT'S what will make me want to go out and buy the previous one, and, in this respect, The Black did not disappoint at all.

FIRST SENTENCE: This isn't what I expected death to be like.

Cooper Foley is dead. We know this because he tells us so right from the start. We then find out about The Black, the in-between place where some souls go while waiting to see if they continue their journey down Morpheus Road, or, if they're irredeemable, to The Blood. The Light is what they call the living world.

Souls in The Black are not supposed to visit The Light, they are only supposed to observe it. But Cooper, who was always in Trouble Town (his name for being in trouble) while he was living, doesn't change much after he's dead. You see, no one has found his body at the bottom of the lake yet, and Damon, an evil soul in The Black and former general in Alexander the Great's army, who has an army equipped with soul-killing swords, who actually was the cause of Coop's death, is harassing Coop's sister Sydney and his best friend Marshall, causing weird hallucinations and putting them in danger. All of this is to get Cooper to help him retrieve some artifacts that will allow Damon to live again and basically, well, you know, rule the world and all that.

Add in a mysterious neighbor named Maggie, who insists on helping Cooper, and Cooper's grandfather, who keeps telling Coop to stay out of it, oh!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Black is the second installment in the Morpheus Road series which tells Cooper Foley's story. This book answers many of the questions from the first book and gives more insight into the realm called the Black. Once again I chose the audiobook version of this series which is performed by Nick Podehl. I enjoyed the Black but not quite as much as the first book. This book seemed to drag a bit perhaps because many of the events had already taken place in the first book but were now being told from a different point of view. Cooper added a new perspective to the story but since the events had already been revealed the journey wasn't quite as exciting this time around. I liked most of the main characters in the book, other than Damon who is the villain, particularly Maggie and Cooper of course. Although, Cooper has a bit of an ego he is fiercely loyal and brace. The end of the Black leaves the reader with a quest that is to be pursued so I'm looking forward to the conclusion of this trilogy. While The Black wasn't quite as good as Morpheus Road it was still a solid read and worthy of 3.5 stars.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
DJ MacHale writes an awesome book for young adults. The Pendragon series was wonderful and the Morpheus Road series lived up to that standard. My husband and I read them along with our teenage grandson - it's a wonderful sharing opportunity, especially during the teenage years. The material is easily enjoyed for adults. The story line is full of unexpected twists and turns, the characters are believable and there's a small tie to the Pendragon books which I found delightful. My grandson devoured the whole series, reading a book in 1 or 2 days. I highly recommend the book - you won't be disappointed.
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Format: Kindle Edition
If you ever wondered what Hell would be like, this book gives a good description...this book is non-stop action and keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time! The book is very well written and while you get a good look at evil, good does conquer all and the ending is satisfying…it's as surprising as the Pendragon series.
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By Kate M. on April 4, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My 8th grade boys like this series. I only had the first book from an author's visit to our school several years ago. Several kids asked for the next book in the series and I didn't have them, nor did our school library. So, being a complete sucker for a kid who actually wants to read a book, I bought this for my students and I have a list of kids waiting to read it. I should have ordered a few. I haven't read any of the books in the series, so I can only say that my boys seem to really like them.
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By Kindle Customer on February 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book because of all the amazing detail and layout I loved the first book but this one is so much better I hope the third is the best
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By coolio on June 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book. I loved it. So far this has been a great series. I like how he did the twist with the after life. I couldn't come up with a better plot. I think any body would enjoy this book. Im glad I found the first book at the library. I would recommend this book to any one
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By Hunter Koontz on March 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is thrilling, adventurous, and action packed with tradjic stories stories of people who have died in the light and... the black.
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