Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
by James Luceno
Published by Scholastic
Adrick's Rating: 2.7 out of 4
New allies! Cunning foes! And the race to a lost city! (No, really, thatís all it says. But that actually sums up the movieís plot pretty well, donít you think?)
Iíll admit it: the only reason I bought this young adult novelization of the latest Indy film before the James Rollins version is that Iím a huge James Luceno fan. I love the way Luceno combines background information from many disparate sources with interesting plots and characters to create thriller/adventures specifically targeted at franchise fans.
Luceno should need no introduction to Star Wars book fans; his prequel era works alone are practically a necessary guide to understanding the prequel trilogyís plotline. His previous Indy novel, The Mata Hari Affair, was an extensive and educational expansion of two episodes of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles TV show. Luceno provided a rather adult tone for a series directed at a younger audience, so itís interesting to see him do the exact opposite for the first big screen Indiana Jones feature in nearly a decade.
The opening scene of this version of the movie is pure Luceno. We see the scene through the eyes of the teenage neíer-do-wells, and find out what a typical day in their lives is, what their names are, and what theyíre listening to. I loved the rock-and-roll references and allusions, though they will probably be lost on this bookís intended readers.
Aside from the first few chapters, this book is pretty much a straight up adaptation of Kingdom. No references to the Young Indy TV show (aside from the one that was actually in the movie to begin with) or other Indy material, not a whole lot of historical detail, no unique scenes, and little insight into the characters. This is particularly surprising, since the recent young adult adaptations of the original Indy movies have quite a few of the aforementioned features. Luceno has done a fair but uninspired job of adapting this movie for younger readers.
The fact that Luceno hasnít written more Indy books for adults!