May 19, 2011

The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman

The Lens and the Looker is book one in the Verona Series (History Camp:  the Verona Trilogy)

Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln are three teenagers who like to create chaos wherever they go.  They don't like to follow rules or listen to their elders and for that reason, they are sentenced to a session at History Camp where for the next two weeks, they will live in 14th century Verona, serving their time while living the hard reality of another.

Arriving at their destination, the three work to upset the balance of their teachers and enactors.  Working as "apprentices" to an eye glass maker, the three play a few pranks and earn the wrath of their elders and are sent to bed without any supper.  However, before they can decide if they have pushed the gambit too far, a mysterious man, who speaks in rhyme and prose, appears and whisks them through a time travel portal and takes them to the real Verona, a place where their are no teachers to stop the program and protect them.  The three must learn to survive until the mysterious stranger arrives to take them back home.

Again, they are placed in the care of an eye glass maker and his family.  Believing they aren't really in dangers harm, the three conspire to do the same and bring the attentions of the teachers to their aid.  However, there is no one listening and when accidents befall them, they realize that they are in this for real and only their wits will keep them alive.  Changing the course of history, the three begin to realize that if they make the wrong choice or influence the wrong thing, then maybe they will undo their own existence and change history forever!

I really enjoyed this book and the characters portrayed within.  The concept of History Camps is a rather interesting one and the ability to go back in time and experience life first hand would be a very creative way to spend your time.  I enjoyed the characters and the humour that ensues.  I found everyone to be believable in their roles and the history that is dispersed throughout the pages, concerning ancient Verona, were most enjoyable to read.  It's like getting a history lesson without even realizing it!

There are a few minor expletives, but nothing that defracts from the enjoyment of the story, and the violence is mild to moderate.  The background description of their place in history was well done and I could almost imagine myself walking through the streets of the market.  The mystery of how the children will return keeps you reading to see where their antics are going to lead them next as well, their coming into their own was well-balanced and read well.  At first you disliked the spoiled, rude, obnoxious children but as the story progresses you watch them mature and come to love them, even Lincoln, whose sassy mouth continously lands him into troubles of some sort or another.

I cannot wait to read the next book in the series, I would recommend this for young adults and anyone who enjoys fantasy and history combined.  I think author Lory Kaufman has done a magnificent job of creating a fantasy that can give us a break from our reality for a few hours. 

SYNOPSIS:
It's the 24th century and humans, with the help of artificial intelligences, (A.I.s) have finally created the perfect 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 experiences 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.Like in all groups of youth, there are those who rebel, “hard cases” who just don’t get it. In this first installment of a trilogy, three spoiled teens from the year 2347 are kidnapped back in time to 1347 Verona, Italy. There they are abandoned and left with only two choices: adapt to the harsh medieval ways, or die.

 ** Disclosure: I did not accept any compensation from the sponsors other than review copies, my views are my own, reviewed by me..as I see it~!! **

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