Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman

     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.
-- Taken from the History Camp website

     I was beyond impressed with The Lens and the Looker. Kaufman did a wonderful job setting up the world of his story and creating dynamic characters. His writing really made the book what it is. Kaufman puts you in the story with ease through the language he uses; his style isn't what one would categorize as pedantic, but it does set the mood beautifully. Because the story takes place in Verona, Italy, you get a sense of the Italian language when he throws in a few words or when he uses words that were common from a time period of the past.
     My favorite thing about this novel was probably how well Kaufman managed to integrate all the minute parts of his story. There really was something for everyone (adventure, suspense, romance...) without any one aspect taking over.
     The characters in The Lens and the Looker were very easy for me to relate to. For the most part, they were down to earth and interesting.
     Shamira was my favorite. She has so many talents and she really seemed to accept her new circumstances. I loved how strong of a character she was. Throughout the novel, Shamira is one person that all of the others can count on. Even though she is from the 24th century, she fits in well with the 14th century just as well. Plus, who wouldn't want her amazing artistic skills?
     Lincoln and Hansum were great too. Lincoln was absolutely hilarious! I loved how he thought everything was "Zippy!" Hansum was cool because he was kind of the big brother sort. He, Lincoln, and Shamira weren't actually siblings, but Hansum did treat them as if they were some of the most important people in his life.
     By the end of the novel, all of the characters really grew into themselves. The Master was far deeper than he seemed at first (and far more of a softy than he liked to show). Guilietta proved that she wasn't just another pretty face. She was a great character. I loved her because of how caring she was.
     Mr. Kaufman is a Master Writer. He created a lovely cast of characters that just felt so... human. I have no doubt that The Bronze and the Brimstone will be a fabulous read as well!
     Rating: 7

*The fact that I received this book from the author did not influence my opinion of it in any way. This was my honest review.


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