Series: The Verona Trilogy
Number in Series: 1
Release Date: August 1, 2012
Publisher: Fiction Std.
Genre: Young Adult/Science Fiction/ Dystopian/Historical Fiction/Romance
Synopsis from Pump Up Your Books
THERE’S HOPE FOR THE FUTURE, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE PAST?
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.
The Lens and the Looker takes place in the 24th century. We start things off with a guy named Hansum. He likes to start trouble and give his professors a run for their money. His professors think he needs to learn a lesson. The kids of this generation have it way too easy. No real responsibilities and no real work. So they send him to History Camp. History Camp is where they send kids to learn how things were back in the past. While at the camp Hansum, he meets two other kids named Lincoln and Shamira. The camp is just full of actors who want to teach the kids something. But the kids have a few things up their sleeve so they could be sent home early. Hansum's mom works for the History Camp, so he knows how to play the game. They sneak in technology into the camp (which isn't allowed) and trick the actors. So while the actors are trying to figure out what to do with the troublesome kids, they meet someone that wants to take them on a real adventure. They may have been sent into the past for real and they have to figure out how they will cope while waiting to be sent back to the future.
This book really took me by surprise. The concept was great. I love the mixture of dystopian meets history. It was brilliant. Hansum and his new found friends are all given jobs in the history camp. Hansum and Lincoln are being taught how to make glasses or “discs for the eyes”. But after their prank, they are taken back into 14th century Italy. They notice things will not be as easy as they thought. I love all things they had to face while stuck in the past. There skills with creating lens makes a huge impact in the past. While there, Pan (the technology genie) tells them to create the telescope. The telescope isn't to be created until hundreds of years from now. So this would force the History Camp makers to bring them back to the 24th century. It is quite a mystery wondering if the History Camp makers will show up or whether they will stop them. Their inventions could change the fabric of history completely.
We also have the story of the kids and the family they are living with. They are brought in as orphans to serve a family that is a bit down on their luck. All three of the kids have their own special talents. Their talents earn them much love amongst the family, but jealousy and greed amongst others. The kids have to team together to not only save the family, but each other.
I had a lot of fun with these characters. Hansum, Lincoln, and Shamira were a blast together. I liked them more and more as the book went on. Hansum was suppose to be the rebellious teenager. I wasn't 100% on board with that. I just didn't get why he was that way. It is never really explained. Same thing goes for the other kids. But I love how close they became. We also have Ugilino, he is in love with the Master's daughter, Guilietta, and he hates that she has taken notice of Hansum and not him. I felt really sorry for him in this book. He was treated so badly because of his looks and I think that is why he acted the way he acted. I hope to see more of him in the other books and that he can be redeemed. I wish I can tell you guys the whole story, but this is a book that can be easily spoiled.
Overall, I say check this book out. It does start off quite slow and it can be a bit verbose in parts. But it really picks up by Book 3 (the book is split up into books or sections). Section 3 is definitely the best part. This book is full of mischief, laughs, and adventure. It also has its fair share of gross out moments which were sometimes quite funny. I love this idea of mixing science fiction and history. I know sometimes time travel reads can get a little crazy and confusing, but this did a good job. Kaufman has a great writing style and I am looking forward to reading his other works. This book is imaginative and fun. Definitely worth reading.
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About Lory S. Kaufman