Monday, June 6, 2011

Review - The Lens and The Looker by Lory S. Kaufman

There's hope for the future,
but what about the past?

The Lens and the Looker: Book #1 of the Verona Series (History Camp: the Verona Trilogy)

TITLE:    The Lens and the Looker
AUTHOR:    Lory S. Kaufman
INFO:    Paperback, Fiction, 322 pages
PUBLISHED:   The Fiction Studio, 2011
SOURCE:   Received from Publisher for Review and Book Tour


FROM THE AUTHOR'S WEBSITE:  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.

MY TAKE:    This is an exciting new series in the YA genre that will appeal to readers of various ages.  I think it's another one of those stories that shouldn't be "pigeon-holed" into just one genre or classification.  While it's being marketed towards YA readers, I think dystopian, historical fiction, time travel, romance, adventure and science fiction aspects are also well represented in this work by Lory S. Kaufman.  As an adult who enjoys all of these genres, including YA; I found this to be a great read.
I'm an avid reader of historical fiction.  When I saw the description of this story, I jumped at the chance to be part of the blog tour.  One of my favorite books/movies is Timeline by Michael Crichton.  It involves a group of archaeologists who are thrown back into medieval France and must learn to survive without their modern amenities.  This story reminded me of that in a vague way and I am happy to say I'm not disappointed.  It's a fresh take on the "fish out of water" syndrome. 

A History Camp where youngsters are taught to learn from the mistakes of the past is a fantastic idea.  I love that our three main characters are pretty much hard-ass delinquents who are spoiled and quite jaded.  They do their best to get in their own way and cause even more problems for themselves and the adults who are trying to help them.  It was fun watching the three of them grow and change their perceptions of themselves and the privileged life they came from.  None of them were especially likable at the start.  I found myself caring what happened to them quickly as the story progressed and their hardships began piling up on them.

The extensive research done by Mr. Kaufman is very apparent from the beginning.  He mixes historical facts in with the fictional tale seamlessly.  I learned a lot about Verona and much of medieval life without feeling like I was being "taught".  The story was enjoyable and educational and I became attached to many of the people who made the tale come alive for me.  While Hansum is the one we spent the most time with in the story, I am hoping to hear more from Shamira and Lincoln in the upcoming books.

I highly recommend this story and the entire series. The The Lens and the Looker  is available now.  I look forward to continuing on the adventure with Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln in the next installment The Bronze and the Brimstone - available TOMORROW ~ June 7th! 

Out of 5 JEWELS, I give it:
WHERE TO BUY IT:    Amazon and The Book Depository

You can learn more about the author and the series by visiting:

I'm excited to also be on the tour for the second book in the series: The Bronze and the Brimstone  on June 24th.  Be sure to check back in to see what's next in this exciting Verona Trilogy.
The Bronze and the Brimstone: The Verona Trilogy, Book 2

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~~~~~ Disclaimer:  All opinions expressed on this blog are 100% my own.  I do not receive monetary compensation for my reviews but do utilize affiliate links.  I may receive books in  order to facilitate a review, but this does not guarantee a good review - only a completely honest one.  Each review post denotes how I obtained the book.

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