Tag Archives: genre: time travel

W.A.R.P.: The Hangman’s Revolution Review

hangmans_revolutionW.A.R.P., Book 2: The Hangman’s Revolution by Eoin Colfer

Disney-Hyperion, 2014. 978-1423161639

Synopsis: Chevron Savano thinks she’s going home to a familiar twentieth century, but when she arrives she finds that the world is a much different place from than what she remembers. In this reality, she is a cadet in a fascist training academy that prepares soldiers to fight in the war against France. Split between two minds and literally at war with herself, Chevie must find a way back to the nineteenth century in order to stop the revolution that creates her current world.

Why I picked it up: It was an impulse borrow at the library – I remembered having read and enjoyed the first book in the series, but had forgotten there was more.

Why I finished it: Having shifted over briefly from reading Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series, this book is much darker and more mysterious than the previous series. While there are parallels that can be drawn between Artemis and Holly and Riley and Chevie, W.A.R.P. is a series that grounds itself in a somewhat grimier waters and our heroes often find themselves in much more tenuous situations than their counterparts. Colfer takes care to remind the reader that London at the turn of the century is not wholly the thriving metropolis that it is made out to be: it has shady, unfriendly, disease-ridden parts that make the reader glad for modern medicine and indoor plumbing. This aside, Colfer blends the past with the present in such a way that the reader can be fully immersed in both worlds simultaneously. Chevie and Riley rely on their natural talents to get them out of tight situations – and they seem to get into quite a few of them. While the main premise of the book is laid out in the first few pages and we’re basically privy to the entire plot, Colfer still surprises the reader with his trademark twists that make us realize that perhaps we don’t know how the story will end. The book moves at a fast clip and there’s a lot of good action happening in every chapter that fuels the motivations of our protagonists and antagonists. It’s definitely more mature than Artemis Fowl and perhaps not for the faint of heart, but readers who dare are in for a fun but dangerous adventure through nineteenth century London and even beyond.

Other related materials: The Reluctant Assassin (W.A.R.P., Book 1) by Eoin Colfer; The Forever Man (W.A.R.P., Book 3) by Eoin Colfer; The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer; Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer; Lockwood & Co series by Jonathan Stroud; Seven Wonders books by Peter Lerangis; Keeper of the Lost Cities books by Shannon Messenger; The Lunar Chronicles books by Marissa Meyer; Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children books by Ransom Riggs;  A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle;  A Wind in the Door by Madeline L’Engle;  A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeline L’Engle; The CHRONOS Files books by Rysa Walker

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Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox Review

artemis_fowl_6Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox (Artemis Fowl, Book 6) by Eoin Colfer

Disney-Hyperion, 2009. 978-1423108375

Synopsis: When Artemis Fowl’s mother contracts a life-threatening illness, his world is turned upside down. The only hope for a cure lies in the brain fluid of the silky sifaka lemur. Unfortunately, the animal is extinct due to a heartless bargain Artemis himself made as a younger boy. Though the odds are stacked against him, Artemis is not willing to give up. With the help of his fairy friends, the young genius travels back in time to save the lemur and bring it back to the present. But to do so, Artemis will have to defeat a maniacal poacher, who has set his sights on new prey: Holly Short. The rules of time travel are far from simple, but to save his mother, Artemis will have to break them all and outsmart his most cunning adversary yet: Artemis Fowl, age ten. – from Amazon.com

Why I picked it up: I love reading about Artemis’s adventures.

Why I finished it: Time travel is tricky, something most of us are familiar with after many years of watching TV and reading other books that may have featured a time travel element. But in the world of Artemis Fowl, time travel seems almost more complicated than we were lead to believe. Sure, we knew that in the present it might only seem that we were gone a few seconds or even a few hours despite the fact that we could have been gone for days or years. We know we’re not supposed to interact with our past selves or really even manipulate anything lest we change the future to which we are returning. These are rules that Artemis is perfectly aware of, but since when has our anti-hero ever played by the rules? I appreciated that there were several nods back to the first book in the series throughout this installment and if you remember enough about the events of that first book, you can notice Colfer elegantly knotting some threads that we’d skipped over before. Things for the most part seem to come full circle for our protagonists – in this case, literally – but there were still a good number of twists and turns to keep me interested and guessing about what sort of set up was being created for the next book. Though, if the ending is any indication, things have been so completely skewed sideways that our heroes are going to need a lot more cunning in order to flip things around to the way they were. Artemis continues to become a softer person than when we are first introduced to him, a fact that does not go unnoticed by Artemis when he is confronted by his younger self. It’s almost become strange to ‘watch’ Artemis grow up – we understand the need of the character to grow both physically and emotionally, but we also still long for that largely unfeeling criminal mastermind that did what he had to do to get things done. Artemis still does what needs to be done, but there’s more emotion creeping in as we move forward, an element that could very well have a major impact. It’s a fast and engaging read that will leave you hanging and eager for more.

Other related materials: Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, Book 1) by Eoin Colfer; The Arctic Incident (Artemis Fowl, Book 2) by Eoin Colfer; The Eternity Code (Artemis Fowl, Book 3) by Eoin Colfer; The Opal Deception (Artemis Fowl, Book 4) by Eoin Colfer; The Lost Colony (Artemis Fowl, Book 5) by Eoin Colfer; The Atlantis Complex (Artemis Fowl, Book 7) by Eoin Colfer; The Last Guardian (Artemis Fowl, Book 8) by Eoin Colfer; Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel adapted by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, art by Giovanni Rigano, colors by Paolo Lamanna; Artemis Fowl: The Seventh Dwarf by Eoin Colfer; W.A.R.P.  books by Eoin Colfer; The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer; The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud; H.I.V.E. series by Mark Walden; Inkheart by Cornelia Funke; Inkspell by Cornelia Funke; Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke

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W.A.R.P.: The Reluctant Assassin Review

WARP-Book-1-The-Reluctant-AssassinW.A.R.P., Book 1: The Reluctant Assassin by Eoin Colfer

Disney/Hyperion, 2013. 978-1423161622

Synopsis: Riley is an orphan in Victorian London who becomes apprenticed to illusionist Albert Garrick now turned assassin for hire. Chevron is a junior FBI agent that has been sent to London after a mission goes wrong in the United States. When Riley is tasked with killing a scientist that happens to be in possession of a time machine from the future, he finds himself transported to Modern London with his master in pursuit. Chevron must try to get Riley back to the past, but can she do it without the help of her mentor?

Why I picked it up: The premise intrigued me because I am a fan of time travel ala Back to the Future and Doctor Who.

Why I finished it: I have to admit that I had a hard time getting into this book. Colfer is moving his reader rather quickly through the story in a very grand and cinematic style that makes the settings easy to visualize, but is similarly disorienting. The third person omniscient narrative makes the transition from character to character fluid, but again, there is a lot of action happening in such a short amount of time that I found myself reading portions multiple times to make sure I understood what was going on. The further the reader moves into the story, the more back story is revealed for Riley, Garrick, and Chevron, helping give greater insight into their individual motivations and how they fit in with the current events. The characters are likable and well-rounded, and even though Garrick is the bad guy, he’s quite clever, conniving, and there are points at which I found myself almost cheering for him. Riley and Chevron instantly establish a quirky repartee and the two learn more and more to work together and to rely on each other’s skills to make sure everything ends up as it should be. Colfer is a gifted storyteller, and although I didn’t find myself drawn into the story, I’m hoping to read some more of his body of work.

Other related materials: Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer; Half Moon Investigations by Eoion Colfer; Airman by Eoin Colfer; The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer; House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini, illustrated by Greg Call; The 39 Clues books; Alex Rider books by Anthony Horowitz; Beyonders series by Brandon Mull; The Infinity Ring books; H.I.V.E series by Mark Walden

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When You Reach Me Review

when you reach meWhen You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Wendy Lamb Books, 2009. 978-0385737425

Winner of the 2010 John Newbery Award

Synopsis: Sixth grade is turning out to be a confusing time for Miranda: her best friend Sal suddenly won’t talk to her after he gets punched, someone stole the hidden key to the apartment she shares with her mother, and she’s been receiving mysterious notes from a person that seems to know about things before they happen. Will she ever talk to Sal again? Will she figure out who is sending the notes? More importantly, should she write the letter requested by the mysterious sender or will she be too late to save her friend’s life?

Why I picked it up: It’s another one of those books that has been sitting on my reading list for a while and it’s heavily circulated at my local library.

Why I finished it: Stead’s writing is a delightful mix of science fiction, mystery, and adventure that bears a strong resemblance to Miranda’s favorite book, A Wrinkle in Time, which was also one of my favorites when I was in elementary school. She takes us into Miranda’s life and into her head as she navigates the minefield that is her life without Sal. Miranda struggles with the notion of time travel (even though it is repeatedly explained to her by two different people over the course of the novel), but she slowly begins to realize that it is the only explanation for the mysterious notes and how the sender knows about things that have yet to happen and even knows some things that no one should know. She’s also struggling with losing her friend Sal and trying to make friends with the girls in her class, some of whom she thinks are rather petty. Plus, she’s been helping her mom practice for The $20,000 Pyramid, which is a challenge in and of itself. But through all of these experiences, Miranda is learning that sometimes the things we don’t seem to understand are the most plausible explanations, if only we are willing to let go of our pre-conceived notions about the world.

Other related materials: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle; First Light by Rebecca Stead; Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead; Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson; Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin; Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata; Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm; Penny From Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm; Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo; Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo; Rules by Cynthia Lord; The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech; Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt

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Odessa Again Review

odessa_againOdessa Again by Dana Reinhardt

Wendy Lamb Books, 2013. 978-0385739566

Synopsis: Fourth grader Odessa Green-Light lives with her mom and her toad of a little brother, Oliver. Her dad is getting remarried, which makes no sense according to Odessa. If the prefix “re” means “to do all over again,” shouldn’t he be remarrying Mom? Meanwhile, Odessa moves into the attic room of their new house. One day she gets mad and stomps across the attic floor. Then she feels as if she is falling and lands . . . on the attic floor. Turns out that Odessa has gone back in time a whole day! With this new power she can fix all sorts of things–embarrassing moments, big mistakes, and even help Oliver be less of a toad. Her biggest goal: reunite Mom and Dad. – from Amazon.com

Why I picked it up: Who wouldn’t want to go back in time to fix embarrassing moments or get in some extra studying for a test?

Why I finished it: Divorce is a topic near and dear to me because my own parents are divorced and I never had books when I was younger that really dealt well with the topic. Reinhardt does a great job of exploring the frustrations of children in newly divorced families and the adjustments that have to be made to make everything feel more normal again. On one hand Odessa wants things to change: she wants to be able to have her own room, she wants her friend Claire to talk to her again, she wants cute Theo to notice her, and she wants her brother to be less annoying. On the other hand, she wishes things had stayed the same: mom and dad living together in the same house, not mom in one house and dad and his new fiancé Jennifer in another. Odessa’s new-found power to go back in time at decreasing intervals initially begins as a somewhat selfish endeavor, but the power of a do-over inspires Odessa to help her brother and to realize the importance of being there for her younger sibling as he goes through the same frustrations. I liked the honesty of Odessa’s character, her desire to do the right thing (mostly), and even if the reader is not familiar with divorce, they can definitely relate to the struggles in her school life. Her friends Sophia and Claire contrast nicely and provide a good outlet for Odessa as she figures out what to do about her brother, her parents, and the secret floorboards in the attic. This book is a wonderful first venture into tween literature and I look forward to see if there will be any more.

Other related materials: Bigger than a Breadbox by Laurel Snyder; Waiting for the Magic by Patricia MacLachlan; Double Dog Dare by Lisa Graff; Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo; A Smart Girl’s Guide to Her Parent’s Divorce by Nancy Holyoke; It’s Not the End of the World by Judy Blume; Hatchet by Gary Paulsen; What in the World do you do When Your Parents Divorce?: A Survival Guide for Kids by Kent Winchester; Homesick by Kate Klise; Sister of the Bride by Beverly Cleary; Strider by Beverly Clearly, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky; My Parents Are Divorced Too: A Book by Kids for Kids by Melanie Ford, Steven Ford, Annie Ford, and Jann Blackstone-Ford, illustrated by Charles Beyl; Divorce is not the End of the World: Zoe and Evan’s Coping Guide for Kids by Zoe & Evan Stern

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