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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Book Review - The Lens and the Looker (The Verona Trilogy #1) by Lory S. Kaufman















Title: The Lens and the Looker (The Verona Trilogy #1)   
Author: Lory S. Kaufman
Year: 2011
Page: 336
Genre: Fiction - Young Adult, Dystopian

FTC Disclosure: Tracee, PR Specialist and Virtual Book Tour Coordinator, from Pump Up Your Book contacted me to see if I was interested in reviewing this book for the author's virtual book tour. The author sent me a copy of the book. I was not paid for the unbiased review.

Summary (from goodreads.com):
It’s the 24th century and humans, with the help of artificial intelligences (A.I.s) have finally created the perfect post-dystopian society. To make equally perfect citizens for this world, the elders have created History Camps, full sized recreations of cities from Earth’s distant pasts. Here teens live the way their ancestors did, doing the same dirty jobs and experiencing the same degradations. History Camps teach youths not to repeat the mistakes that almost caused the planet to die. But not everything goes to plan.

In this first of a trilogy, we meet three spoiled teens in the year 2347. Hansum almost 17, is good looking and athletic. Shamira, 15, is sassy, independent and an artistic genius. Lincoln, 14, is the smart-aleck. But you don’t have to scratch too far beneath the surface to find his insecurities.

These three “hard cases” refuse the valuable lessons History Camps teach. But when they are kidnapped and taken back in time to 1347 Verona, Italy, they only have two choices; adapt to the harsh medieval ways or die. The dangers are many, their enemies are powerful, and safety is a long way away. It’s hardly the ideal environment to fall in love – but that’s exactly what happens. In an attempt to survive, the trio risks introducing technology from the future. It could save them – or it could change history.


First Sentence:
One of Hansum's earliest memories was of his mother telling him he was just like his name sounded in the old English, handsome. 

My Thoughts:

Why this book?
  • I enjoy reading YA dystopian. I also enjoy some time travel stories. I thought the concept of this book sounds promising since it seems to be a combination of both.
First thought:
  • Not quite what I thought it'd be... I read about 1/3 of the book and gave up...
Cover Art:
  • Not something I'd choose, but I am not really the target audience
Title:
  •  Since I didn't finish the book, I couldn't really comment on it. Though it did make me wonder what it meant by The Lens and The Looker.
Writing:
  • It was a bit choppy for me. Now that I think about it, most YA I read are written by female writers, so may be I am not used to male YA authors' style? I looked back at the books I'd read, I think this book is most similar to Miracle Myx by David Diotalevi (as opposed to say, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher). Miracle Myx didn't really work for me either. 
Plot:
  • The book started off interesting, and I actually enjoyed reading it to find out what happened. That is, up until the part the three main characters got taken to a secondary place. Not a lot happened in 2347, but you got a glimpse of  what the perfect future world looked like (perhaps more will be about the future in the future books since this is a trilogy?). The idea of the History Camp ("learn the lessons so history won't repeat itself") was also quite fascinating, and we learned a bit about making glasses and shopping in the market. However, right after that when the scenery changed, it just didn't hold my interest anymore... to the point I couldn't concentrate on the different characters and such.
Characters:
  • Of the 110+ pages or so I'd read, I didn't get to know the characters much. Sure, you got a sense of their attitude, but it only showed you what they were like "now", not how they came to be they way they were. Perhaps there were more character developments in the rest of the book? Can't say I really liked any of the main characters though until this point. In fact, both Hansum and Lincoln were rather annoying. Shamira was at least a bit more intriguing since it was harder to tell why she was sent to History Camp. 
  • I am guessing the target audience for this book is teenage boys. I think they would identify with the characters more than I do - they way the think, they way they act, the way they talk etc. I don't have much contact with teenagers, so it is difficult for me to put myself into their mindset
Ending:
  • Obviously I don't know...
Emotion:
  • Ah, once again, I'm feeling old when reading this YA (even though I'm in my early-mid thirties... I'd like to think I'm not THAT old yet... though sometimes my body tells me otherwise ha!)
What I Learned:
  • While I prefer plot-driven story than character-driven ones, I still need some good characters. I think the Hunger Games is a good example - the plot is exciting, but I care about the characters too.
PS:
  • There are many good reviews out there about this book, so don't let my "did not finish" status deter you from reading it yourself! I mainly read adult books, with a few YA here and there, so I am probably not the best judge for YA books. I definitely read YA books from an adult's perspective, as opposed to say, I read YA books to see if it's suitable to put into the high school library, or evaluating its suitableness my (non-existent) teenage children.
Read this Author again?
  • Depends... but won't be reading this trilogy.



Overall Rating:
0 Star. Did Not Finish. (Probably just me)



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