The Time Travelers (Gideon Trilogy #1) Book Review

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  • Star Rating: 4 out of 5
  • Kids: Yes!  This is a kids book, anyway.
  • Do I recommend it? Yes!  I love this story!  But, like Eragon (the Inheritance cycle), I don’t know if the series continues well.  I’ll update when I get there.

Part I: For y’all who have yet to read it

This is another book Ana was hooked on first.  My curiosity got the better of me, and once I picked it up, I could not put it down.  The author has an intriguing story and she presents it very well.  There’s enough mystery to pull the reader in, but not too much that it leaves the reader in the dust (which is what happened when I accidentally started with the wrong book of The 39 Clues).

The one major problem for me is that Mrs. Buckley-Archer cannot pick a POV (Point Of View)!  Oh my goodness, the POV changed so randomly.  First we’re inside Peter’s head, then Kate’s, then back to Peter for half a chapter, and then we’re with Gideon for a paragraph!

Peter, the main character who’s 12, is a bit of a brat, but it makes for a fun unfolding of a friendship.  Kate comes from a more traditional family, which is nice for a change in young people’s literature.  I love Gideon’s character (more on that in Part II).  We see parts of the villains’ backstories.  They are dreadful; they broke my heart.  Consider yourself warned.

The majority of the book takes place in 18th-century London.  It’s not too violent, but it is historically accurate (think crowds gathering for hanging, guns, and a fist or several).

Last warning:  You will want to read the next book!  Go ahead and buy the next one so it’s ready!

Part II: Some random analyses, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!

The characters were all well-developed.  There isn’t much of an arc with most of them yet, but there are two more books coming.  I really like how the book mainly focused on what Peter and Kate were experiencing, but how we know that the story is really going to be about Gideon.  For the record, Gideon is officially added to my mental book heart throb list.  He also had a dreadful backstory.  It’s interesting how both Gideon and the Tar Man both had such terrible childhoods, and how each came out of it.  Gideon, though he got into some trouble, has a great heart.  The Tar Man doesn’t know mercy.

The scene that Gideon, Peter, and Kate rescue the others from the highwaymen was interesting, especially regarding how Gideon presented his plan.  Gideon spoke so matter-of-factly, like there was no doubt the God of ancient Gideon really delivered the Midianites into his hands.  Then, the Parson used a scare-you-out-of-hell sermon on his captors.  Both I’d bet are historically accurate.  Add onto this how the Parson responds to one of them as he’s escaping.  The Parson did not show the love of Jesus at all, also accurate in the religious setting of the 1700s.

I could do a much better job of explaining how a phone works to Gideon than Peter did!  Just leaving that out there.

I wish that there was some more explanation to how this touching the king worked.  We got the information we needed but I don’t know how this king’s evil will go away.  Next book?

I did not see the ending coming!  I knew that the Tar Man made it to modern day, but I didn’t know that Peter would not make it.  It was annoying that he didn’t make it because of a sentimental hug, but I’m glad he’s flying with Gideon.  I can’t wait until I can get my hands on The Time Thief!

Photo cred:
http://www.amazon.com/Time-Travelers-Gideon-Trilogy-Book/dp/1416915265

Eragon Book Review

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  • Star Rating: 4.5 of 5
  • Kids: Yes, if their reading comprehension can take on this length
  • Do I recommend it? Yes, but I haven’t read the rest of the series yet.

**Update: I have continued to read the series, and I do not recommend the series as a whole.  The books go steadily, but drastically, downhill from here.**

Part I:  for y’all who have yet to read it

My sister Ana (my twin-not-twin) had read Eragon a few weeks before, and she was hooked.  So I finally I had to pick it up myself.

I, too, was hooked.  All of my free time went into finding out what happened next.  The ending was satisfactory (I can’t say anything more here), and I still wanted to read the next one (Eldest).

Now, I did not like the way the love interest was handled.  When I found out that Eragon was written by a teenage guy, Christopher Paolini, I was shocked.  The story is fantastic; I expected it to come from a old guy (just being honest).  However, when it came to the “love interest”, the author’s youth made sense.  Not only was the “love” not true love, but I don’t think that it’s good enough to be compared with chick flicks’ idea of love.

Paolini was obviously inspired by Tolkien.  The way the different races (dwarf, elf, etc.), the land, and the history are portrayed screams The Lord of the Rings.  Yet, Paolini writes like any modern author.  Eragon isn’t like The Lord of the Rings, don’t get me wrong, I just see the inspiration (Aragorn > Eragon).  Eragon is fast-paced and travels deep into the main character’s thoughts just like any modern novel.

Part II:  Some random analyses, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS! 

Saphira is my favorite.  I loved getting to know the dragon.  She is fantastic.  I thought it was rather obvious that she would get to breathe fire during the climax, but it was cool nonetheless, with the Isidar Mithrim shattering and all.  I loved watching her and Eragon’s relationship grow.

I also really like Eragon’s family.  He’s an orphan, but he doesn’t live a rotten life like Annie or the like.  Garrow and Roran are rather normal.  They have great strengths along with faults.

Whenever a major character dies, I analyze the death to see how it contributed to the story.  I’ve found that many authors kill characters because they think they should or because they enjoy it.  Garrow’s death was done well.  His death really added to the plot and kept the story moving.  Without his death, there’d been no need to revenge it and go after the Ra’zac with Brom.  Paolini made a good choice, even though killing parents is becoming rather cliché.

Murtagh was an interesting character.  I had a lot of trouble understanding him.  As I’m reading through the rest of the Inheritance cycle, Murtagh grows even more interesting and I’m figuring out how he works.

As Ana originally pointed out to me, Eragon loses consciousness a lot.  It’s a bit annoying, but I don’t see much of a way around it.  Any ideas (answer in the comments)?  It’s about as annoying as the first couple of Harry Potter books.

What did you think of Eragon?  Answer in the comments!  Please don’t release spoilers without warning.

Counted Worthy Book Review

  • Star Rating: 4.5 of 5
  • Kids: No, but it depends on the maturity of the child. I do recommend it for teens, but be aware that there are some heavy death themes.
  • Do I recommend it? Yes.

Part I:  for y’all who have yet to read it

I decided to read Counted Worthy by Leah E. Good because I saw on therebelution.com where Brett Harris, co-author of Do Hard Things, recommended it. Do Hard Things changed my perspective on the rest of my teenage years, and my life as a whole.  Those of you who have read it can see the Harris brothers’ ideas all over my blog.  It’s like a Thomas Jefferson/John Locke relationship. I’m Jefferson and the Harris brothers are Locke: they inspired a lot of my thinking.

Counted Worthy is a great book.  I think it’s a good read for anybody, but especially Christian teens.  This isn’t an A-B-Cs of the gospel presentation; its primary audience is young people of the church.  It’s kind of like the film War Room.  While anyone could get something out of it, its primary audience is the church (Priscilla Shirer commanding the enemy’s presence out of her home isn’t what we typically jump onto unbelievers).

Those who are extra-sensitive need to be aware that it is an emotional story.  I didn’t cry because I’m not an emotional gal, but had I been, I would’ve caused a flood.  Leah Good does a FANTASTIC job with character developments and character arcs, which means that the intense emotions Heather (the main character) feels, feel real to the reader.

I’ve found that much of young adult literature written today isn’t wholesome or helpful.  It seems that many authors think that if the story is exciting or romantic, no matter  what the story line is, it’s good enough for teens to read.  Leah Good has written a solid book for teens.  It is exciting, but it also builds us up for our lives when we’re not reading.  Support quality Christian literature by reading Counted Worthy.

Part II: Some deeper analyzations (there will be spoilers)

Heather’s character was deep, consistent, and fairly realistic.  Inconsistent characters are my biggest pet peeve when reading books, and knowing that Good was a young author, I was extra critical.  She did a phenomenal job.  Heather’s arc about coming to peace with her mom’s death was executed excellently.  Heather’s arc about her place in society was also written fantastically, but it was slightly unfinished.

Counted Worthy doesn’t need a sequel, but the door was left WIDE open for one.  I saw this jewel on the Rebelution’s site:

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Whoo hoo!  That’s exciting!  I’m already looking forward to reading it!

Back to a review on what’s currently published:

Bryce was another well-written character.  We, the as the readers with Heather, were able to see both sides of him, yet I feel like there’s more I could learn!  His consistent mannerisms and quirks added to his loveable-ness.

I appreciated Heather and Bryce’s relationship.  It’s unrealistic to have two teenagers of opposite genders to have a close friendship without affection.  On the other hand, I don’t want to read a mushy “love” story.  Leah Good did an excellent job of showing the “affections” (for lack of a better word) Heather had for Bryce (and vice-versa) without diving into the dating game or drama.

Miss Lucy was yet another character who really showed Good’s skill at character creating.  The supporting cast were all well-crafted.  They blended together to represent the church, the government, or the slums, but they were also individuals with individual personalities.

I was confused for a while at the setting of the book.  Good did a great job of not being too descriptive and letting the story unfold slowly, but I needed a little more toward the beginning.  The opening scene of book-sorting sufficed for a little while, so I really shouldn’t complain.

Heather’s dad’s death was traumatic.  Part of me wanted to say that Good shouldn’t have gone that route, but upon further consideration, I realized that it was essential.  We, as the readers, lived what the population saw on television that started the next war.  We lived the completion of Heather’s character arc.  Then afterward, Good didn’t dwell in that devastation.  She picked back up two days later and went straight to hope.

Counted Worthy Book Review @ Unreached by the Frost

Counted Worthy on Amazon graphic and other Counted Worthy graphics from http://therebelution.com/blog/2014/11/introducing-counted-worthy-a-novel-by-leah-good/#.VjaFoPmrTIX