Friday, January 04, 2013

Book Review: The Time Travelers by Linda Buckly-Archer SPOILERS


The following review contains spoilers…

I am pretty disappointed about this book. The cover really makes this book look exciting and enticing. The blurb on the cover says “For kids who love Harry Potter”. This isn’t true. It should read “For kids who like stories that do an excellent job of describing the 1800’s but lack character resolution or development.”

Linda Buckley-Archer does a fine job of creating characters you care about. I quickly cared for Peter and Kate right off the bat. Gideon also is a likeable, relatable character. The rest of the cast from 1763 didn’t interest me, yet they heavily feature in most of the book. In fact when the cast are captured by bandits I didn’t really care what happened to them and wanted to get back to the modern era to check on the detective.

See, the detective is also a strong character. He tries everything he can to get Kate’s father and his scientist associates to admit they know what happened to the kids. Every time something in the past turns up, some new evidence that gives the detective another clue, he tries to get the truth out of Kate’s dad. But he never does. It’s actually a huge disappointment.

Peter has an estranged relationship with his father that is never resolved or even started on the road to recovery. We see that his father is sorrowful and Kate’s father has answers about Peter’s whereabouts but those answers are never given. And when Peter realizes his own father never came to save him, I’m wishing Kate’s dad would tell Peter of his own father’s passion for Peter’s life. After all, the man did punch Kate’s dad when he discovered he knew something. But Kate’s dad doesn’t even mention that Peter’s parents are worried. No resolution to the original problem set forth in this book, Peter’s relationship with his dad.

Kate is another issue. When we first meet her we discover she has a strong personality to match her long red hair. I like that and wanted to see her shine, even get close to Peter so they could learn from each other. They come from different backgrounds and have different personalities so clearly the author has set things up so they can learn from each other. Yet time and time again she’s left behind in her big dress, a helpless girl. Sure, she does teach Peter how to blur and travel back to their century, but that’s all she does. Peter treats her horribly and this is never resolved while she just serves and yet another damsel in distress whom is mostly absent from the story.

Buckley-Archer does cast an excellent backdrop. She has done her research and it shows. We truly are in 1763. You’d think kids from our time would constantly contrast what’s missing from our time when they are stuck in the past but these kids don’t. Still, the story works well as a textbook to teach kids about that era.

All in all I couldn’t really get t this story. I read the whole thing but I guess it’s just not for me.

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