Monday, May 23, 2011

Virtual Tour: The Lens and the Looker, Review

I'm participating in the virtual tour for The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman.

The Lens and the Looker (The Verona Trilogy, #1)
Author: Lory S. Kaufman
Publisher: The Fiction Studio
Pages: 336
Source: Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review.

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.

I don't believe I've ever read a novel like The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman. It was so unique- a blend of very old history and a very modern future in a story that actually made sense.

The world of this story is the coolest thing. There are about 300 million people alive only, it's the 24th century and to stop future generations from making mistakes, there are sites called History Camps which are cities in ancient times re-enacted. Kind of like a huge role play game. There is also some time travel and I thought that part was also very cool. Basically, a new memorable world that I love to read about.

The main characters didn't stand out as much as the side characters, for me. I didn't feel like I knew them very well. I knew one stressed out fact about each- Hamsum was clever, Shamira was artistic, Lincoln had a bad temper- but besides that I didn't understand much about them. The best character I think was the Master. He was a character that did many things considered morally wrong in today's society- drinking, beating, but you can't help but still root for him. He turned out to be a very complex character and I loved seeing him transform. He's truly a character that I want to see succeed. The villain is a character that I'd enjoy seeing die a gruesome death. I love to feel that way about characters. Lory S. Kaufman created a wide range of characters that were all different.

Most stories I read are character driven, but The Lens and the Looker is very much a plot driven story. There are tons of events or little scenes that drive the story. You never have the characters doing nothing and whining about their dilemma. There's always something that happens and the characters need to adjust to that something. The book is divided into 3 parts and I think it was done well that way. The problem of the story was basically everything I expected but there were many twists. Near the ending of the story, I was literally hooked. That's why I'm writing this review at midnight. At some point the story hit it off with an interesting climax, and the end definitely leaves room for more while being satisfying.

While reading the story, I noticed many similarities to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and there were many allusions to it. This was obviously purposeful and made the romance- yes, there was romance- more interesting. It wasn't too heavy nor a major focus, it was just something naturally happening while the plot was going on.

Overall, a good, imaginative read with time travel, romance, and danger. The Lens and the Looker has something for everyone! 4 stars,


About the Author...
Lory S. Kaufman

"I write Post-Dystopian fiction. After society’s collapse, which is imagined in so many great dystopian stories, humans will either fade into history, with the dinosaurs, or, if it learns the right lessons, society will go on to construct a civilization to last tens of thousands of years. History Camp stories are the exciting adventures of young people doing the latter."

History Camp Website

If you liked The Lens and the Looker, there's good news! The sequel, The Bronze and the Brimstone is coming out soon on June 7th.

The Bronze and the Brimstone (Book #2 of the Verona Trilogy)

What could go wrong in the 14th-century 
for three time-traveling teens? 
How about – EVERYTHING! 

Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln, three teens from the 24th-century, are trapped in 14th-century Verona, Italy. They’ve survived many deadly experiences by keeping their wits about them and by introducing futuristic technology into the past. Principal among these inventions is the telescope, which brought them to the attention to the rich and powerful. 

But standing out can get you into unexpected and dangerous situations. The nobles of Verona now believe Hansum is a savant, a genius inventor, especially after he brings them plans for advanced cannons and black powder. Being the center of attention is great, but the potential for trouble is now exponentially greater because people are watching Hansum’s every move. 

Meanwhile, artistic genius Shamira has fallen for a Florentine artist with bloody and disasterous consequences. Lincoln, considered an incompetent back home in the 24th-century, has blossomed – at least until he’s shot in the head with an arrow. And Hansum, after secretly marrying his new master’s beautiful daughter, Guilietta, is offered the hand in marriage of lady Beatrice, daughter of the ruler of Verona. To refuse could mean calamity for all the teens. 

Amazingly, none of this is their biggest challenge. Because a rash illness is spreading across Verona – and it is threatening to consume everyone. 

Do they have a future in this past? 

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