Friday, January 18, 2013

Blog Tour Stop: Review - The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman

BOOK #1 of The Verona Trilogy:

Young Adult, Post-Dystopian Fiction

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 was hoping to win a copy of The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman in a Goodreads giveaway some time ago, but was not so lucky. So when I saw the chance to participate in a blog tour for the Verona Trilogy I jumped on it.

Hansum is what they call a "hard case". He's incredibly bright but he just doesn't.... get it. Know what I mean? He takes for granted the things that he has and the life that he lives because he never knew the struggles and the hardships of centuries before. So he, along with 2 other "hard cases" are sent to History Camp to learn to appreciate the way that they live.

Only... Hansum brings along something that influences the trio to more or less kick the beehive and cause trouble to the enactors at the camp. Shortly after they are spirited away to ACTUAL 1347 Verona, Italy and are forced to apprectice with someone who is DEFINITELY not an employee in a History Camp. Scared and left on their own they have to figure out how to assimilate and get along with Medieval times and do what they can to get by until it's time for them to go home.

The book was exciting. It got right in to the swing of things from the very beginning when Hansum is sentenced to 2 weeks of History Camp. No time is wasted on getting him there and then the fun begins.

Hansum is a very likeable character. That may be because he knows how to charm the pants off of anyone he comes in contact with... or the fact that he's quick witted and good in a pinch. He may be a hard case, but no worse than a lot of teens in the days we live in now who take advantage of the things that are given to them. Shamira also doesn't seem like much of a hard case. She's quiet and reserved and a brilliant artist. She's a quick learner and eager to help those around her. Lincoln irritated me at first. Immature and rude, but what 14 year old isn't? He certainly proved himself later on in the story and actually became quite likeable. And an invaluable apprentice to the Master the trio was serving under.

The secondary characters in the story are very endearing and you can't help but smile at Master della Cappa. You can't help but hope that Hansum and Guilietta get to be together despite the fact that Hansum is a servant and Guilietta is the Master's daughter.

Honestly, I never thought I'd enjoy reading about a lensmaker as much as I did. Granted, at the beginning while they were describing the process I kind of skimmed over that. I'm not good at reading lengthy directions (personal flaw, what can I say) or instructions. But other than that the book was a very fast read. It was an interesting look in to Medieval Verona and it was fun to imagine what life was like for the teens in that time. I'm very excited to really get in to book two, The Bronze and the Brimstone to see what happens to our "hard cases".

I'd recommend this book to absolutely anyone. Once you get pulled in to the story you'll find it hard to make your way back out until the book is over.

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