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Morpheus Road: The Black


Morpheus Road: The Black

In the first installment of the Morpheus Road trilogy, THE LIGHT, Marshall Seaver sought to uncover the truth behind his best friend Cooper Foley's disappearance. Marsh endured hauntings and supernatural forces plaguing his search. In the end, though, the news was grim. Cooper was killed in a boating accident, and Marsh found himself embroiled in a sinister plot that threatened the very existence of the world. A demon from the great beyond named Damon invited Marsh to join him on Morpheus Road and help him find something called the poleax. Just when Marsh could see no other alternative, a ghost of Cooper showed up and told Marsh not to give in. This second book, THE BLACK, is Cooper's story.

As to be expected, Cooper was not exactly thrilled to learn that he was dead. He was swept off to a "waiting" zone, called The Black, where spirits are supposed to reflect back upon their lives and hopefully learn and grow before moving on to the next place. Everyone's waiting zone is different, and in addition to being reunited with his grandfather, Cooper soon learns a few tricks of The Black.

For one, Cooper is able to enter different people's visions. He visits his grandfather's vision and makes a new friend with the next-door neighbor. He also finds himself in the vision of the supernatural being called Damon. While there, he is invited to join Damon's quest of regaining life and returning back from the dead. Amidst this startling vision and offer, Cooper also learns another trick. He's able to return to The Light, or the real world, just to look around. And when he does, he's not ready for what he encounters. 

It seems as though Damon has been playing both sides. Not only is he making life extremely difficult for Cooper, he's also the one responsible for everything that happened to Marsh in the previous book. 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. Just when it appears as though the story from the first book is about to be repeated, a curve ball is thrown.

Cooper meets someone in The Black he never thought he would see again --- Marsh's mother. Mrs. Seaver died many years earlier in an earthquake in ancient Greece, and Cooper never thought that she would be in The Black. But there's so much more going on than Cooper could even imagine. Mrs. Seaver is the leader of a gang of warriors desperately trying to destroy Damon before he causes any more havoc in both the worlds of the living and the dead. Cooper and Marsh are caught in the middle of the conflict, even on different sides, and Damon appears to have the upper hand.

Once again, D.J. MacHale uses expert storytelling to weave an intricate and intertwining plot. After reading the first book, I was a little unsure how all of the elements fit together or where the story was going, but it all comes together. MacHale provides so many unexpected twists and turns and keeps the reader guessing as to how everything is related. THE BLACK also nicely sets up the climactic battle in the underlying theme of good vs. evil for the final book in the trilogy. The story is far from over, and you don't want to miss this one!

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on October 18, 2011

Morpheus Road: The Black
by D. J. MacHale