Category Archives: Time Travel

The Queen must die – K.A.S. Quinn

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The Queen must die by K.A.S. Quinn. (Chronicles of the Tempus; book 1), Published by Corvus (Atlantic Books), 2011. Paperback, 298 pages.

From the publisher:

…Why is Katie Berger-Jones-Burg under a sofa in Buckingham Palace? The last thing she can remember is reading in her bedroom, trying to block out the sound of the TV. Now she is in London, at the height of Queen Victoria’s reign. Something very strange is going on.

Together with her two new friends – Princess Alice, the young daughter of Queen Victoria, and James O’Reilly, the son of the royal doctor – Katie must discover why she has been sent back in time. And who are the weird and frightening creatures who seek her out? The key, it seems, lies with the enigmatic Bernardo DuQuelle. As the dark forces moving through the royal household begin to take control, Katie and her friends uncover a plot to assassinate the Queen and unearth an even darker mystery…[Suspicious figures huddle in the gas-lit streets of London. And Katie is not the only time-traveller in the city… ]

Reviews and praise:

“Completely gripping, this rollercoaster time travel adventure takes Katie, a contemporary New York teenager, back right into the heart of Queen Victoria’s reign. Landing unexpectedly in the Buckingham Palace bedroom of Alice, Queen Victoria’s younger daughter, Katie is swiftly caught up in a terrifying world of dishonest courtiers plotting unspeakable acts with the help of powerful helpers with extra powers. The details of the life of the Victorian Royals, and especially Prince Albert’s passion for his original project of the Crystal Palace are brilliantly evoked while the adventure spearheaded by three exuberant children rattles along at a cracking pace” Lovereading4kids.co.uk

What did I think about this book?

I confess to having spent rather a long stretch on my sofa in the sun, reading this from cover to cover and luxuriating in the world the author has created. I loved it – I am not sure whether I am addicted to books set in Victorian London or whether there is a trend to use this setting in children’s books at the moment…maybe both. It means that there are some great books being written about this era, however this is very different than others set in this period, because this is set inside Buckingham Palace. This means there aren’t a lot of Dickensian allusions and impoverished characters, although there are plenty with sinister motives and villainous characters with evil intent. Katie Berger-Jones-Burg’s 21st Century New York life, and her dismay at the seemingly shallow obsessions of her ‘Mom’ are contrasted nicely with the formal and ‘proper’ nature of Victorian life at Court and couldn’t be more striking (and amusing!) However the similarity between Katie and Princess Alice are obvious – both have mothers that aren’t particularly maternal, and both have to live their lives relatively independently and are lonely. The time travel mechanism is handled well and it’s believable enough, especially if you are a reader who believes in the power of books as a means to escape. The reader is immersed in a great deal of historical material without feeling they are having a history lesson. It is fascinating seeing this time period through the eyes of Katie, who is like a modern day tourist guide to the past. Some of the things American readers might find amusing won’t have the same impact with a New Zealand audience, but it’s so well done, you can laugh along with Katie as she experiences cricket, victorian clothing and underwear and  chamber pots under the bed.

This book is the first in a planned trilogy, with the second book “The Queen at War” released recently. I wish I could convince more boys to read stories where the main character is a girl as this was a great read and highly recommended for the 10+ crowd.

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Jack you’re not an ordinary boy…’Sorrowline’ an exciting adventure

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Sorrowline by Niel Bushnell. (The Timesmith chronicles), Published by Andersen Press, 2013.  331 pages. Available in NZ bookstores RRP $20.95.

“You have a rare gift Jack: you’re a yard boy, a voyager through graveyards. You can travel through the Sorrowlines. They’re tunnels, tunnels through time. Every grave, it’s connected to the date of the person’s death by a Sorrowline. Yard Boys like you, Jack – they can open up a Sorrowline and travel along it, right into the past.”

Synopsis:

Twelve-year-old Jack Morrow is used to life being complicated. His mother died five years ago, and his father is now headed for prison. But then Jack discovers he’s a Yard Boy – someone with the ability to travel through Sorrowlines, the channels that connect every gravestone with the date of the person’s death – and he is quickly pulled into an adventure beyond anything he could have possibly imagined. Finding himself in 1940s war-torn London, with his then – teenage grandfather, Davey, Jack soon realises that his arrival in the past has not gone unnoticed. The evil forces of a secret world are determined to find him – and to find out all he knows. As Jack struggles to survive, he comes ever closer to unlocking the dark secret at the heart of his family, and to – just maybe – changing his own destiny…

Book trailer:

What did I think of this book?

There are quite a few original elements that make this different from other time travel books, but plenty of things that will make readers feel they are in comfortable and familiar territory. The time travel method of traveling back to a period of time tied to a person’s date of death is new – it makes for some excitement in the story because if the characters need to travel to a particular date then they need to find a gravestone first (or get chased around a graveyard while they look for one!)  The other thing that is noticeably different about this story is that the period in which a lot of the book is set is in the 1940s during the Blitz in London. This seems very vividly drawn and well described and adds another frisson of fear into the story – before the villain catches up with our hero Jack, he could be blown to bits by a bomb or trapped in debris or a burning building. It is here that Jack meets his own Grandfather as a young man and Jack learns more about his family.

The contrast between Jack’s seemingly ordinary life in 2013 London couldn’t be more different than what he experiences in the past. It is here that we find the fantastical elements of an alternate world story with many interesting characters with unusual roles both good and bad along the way.

I think this will be a hit with many of my students – the blend of fantasy world, time travel and modern day adventure will appeal to the kids who enjoy Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and Kane Chronicle’s type adventures.

A theory of Time Travel – if you are interested in the science behind the “time travel paradox” you might find this YouTube video of an interview with Dr Ronald Mallett (a theoretical physicist) interesting. I found this brief article from brainpickings.org here: “Einstein, Goedel, and the science of time travel (or Meeting your future grandchildren in a rotating universe) by Maria Popova, brainpickings.org 19 July 2012″.

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Fix the past to save the future….Infinity ring series

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Reading “The Storm begins” recently (the first book in the History Keeper’s series by Damian Dibben), reminded me that I have yet to read any of the books in Scholastic’s new Infinity Ring series. I thought this 7 book series, aimed at 8-12 year olds would be a great read for some of my more reluctant readers as the books tie in with a very exciting online game.

From the publisher:

“History is broken and three kids must travel back in time to set it right. Told in seven books and seven interactive online game episodes, Infinity Ring invites readers to travel back in time to fix the “Great Breaks,” moments in history that have gone terribly wrong. Each book in the series contains a free “Hystorian’s Guide,” a collectible map and game guide that provide readers the information they need to set history back on track in the fully immersive Infinity Ring online game experience. The Infinity Ring online game continues where the book leaves off. Each online game episode, while standing on its own as a complete adventure, ties in to the on-going plotline of the Infinity Ring books. In the online game, players explore realistically designed historical locations, while meeting and talking to historical figures.” (Source: PR Newswire).

The books:

Book 1 A mutiny in time by James Dashner 2012

When best friends Dak Smyth and Sera Froste discover the key to time travel — the Infinity Ring — they’re swept up in a centuries-long secret war for the fate of mankind. Recruited by the Hystorians, a secret society that dates back to Aristotle, the kids learn that history has gone disastrously off course — and it’s up to them to fix it, with the help of teenage Hystorian-in-training Riq. First stop: Spain, 1492, where a sailor named Christopher Columbus is about to be thrown overboard in a deadly mutiny.

Read the first chapter here

Book 2 Divide and conquer by Carrie Ryan 2012

Hundreds of ships carrying thousands of Viking warriors are attacking medieval Paris. The Parisians are fighting back, but they can only hold out for so long. And that’s bad news — especially since Dak has been captured and forced to work with the invading army while Sera and Riq defend Paris from within. No matter which side wins, the kids will lose . . . unless Dak can find an ally among some of history’s fiercest warriors. Join Dak, Riq, and Sera as they attempt to defeat the SQ and fix the next Great Break in history.

Book 3 The trap door by Lisa Mcmann …due to be published February 2013 (Lisa is the author of “The Unwanteds” – a book I loved and thoroughly recommend for younger Hunger Games fans.)….

What do I think about these books?:

The premise of this time travel series with the “Hystorians” trying to fix breaks in history, sounds very similar to that of the History Keepers. I loved the History Keepers and I really love time travel books that delve into history. These sound awesome – and I love any series that is a great hook for readers.  We have books 1 and 2 already on high rotation in the library and book 3 and the subsequent volumes are on standing order through Scholastic NZ.

It’s time for a new hero…The History Keepers

 

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The storm begins (The History Keepers book 1) by Damian Dibben, Doubleday, 2011.

This book cover looks like a great movie poster to me, so it was no surprise to learn that the movie rights have already been sold and that the author is also a screenwriter as well as book author. (After reading the book I KNOW this would make a great film…and I hope it doesn’t take too long to be made)

From Goodreads.com:

When Jake is kidnapped by strangers on a stormy London night he discovers his loving parents have been leading a double life and are now missing, lost somewhere in history. He is plunged into a world of secret societies, dangerous double agents, and a terrifying countdown to oblivion. Transported by a Spanish galleon back to 19th century France, he finds himself in the headquarters of The History Keepers – a remarkable league of time-travelling special agents. The History Keepers preserve the true course of history against those who would change it for their own gain, such as the diabolical Prince Zeldt. Driven by a sense of adventure and a desire to reunite his family, Jake makes the most thrilling – and dangerous – decision of his life.

From the book cover UK edition:

Imagine if you lost your parents – not just in place, but in time. Jake Djones’ mum and dad have gone missing and they could be anywhere in the world – at any time in history. Because the Djones family have an astonishing secret, which for years they’ve managed to keep – even from each other. They belong to the HISTORY KEEPERS: a secret society which travels through the centuries to prevent evil enemies from meddling with History itself. In the quest to find his parents, Jake is whisked from 21st Century London to 19th century France, the headquarters of the mysterious History Keepers, where he discovers the truth about his family’s disappearance – and the diabolical Prince Zeldt’s plan to destroy the world as we know it ..

What do I think about this book?:

This is a great, fast moving adventure of the swash buckling variety with lots of action, heroic acts and a bit of humor. I really could see this as a movie unfolding before my eyes as I read.  Perfect for Year 5 – Year 8 readers (both boys and girls) who want a good adventure story with plenty of action.

This is another title where the publishers are counting on the reading public’s thirst for more books along the line of a certain young wizard who shall not be named as he has hung up his wand and invisibility cloak…however I am happy to explore any potential “read-alike” books, as the Harry Potter series is a great “hook” for young readers.

The difference here is that this is a time travel book (but without too many sic-fi overtones) rather than a magical fantasy. Like the main character the reader is jostled along without everything being revealed at once and it is both an intriguing and a thrilling ride. Rather than time travel where the story zips backwards and forwards between historical periods, this is relatively easy to follow and because most of the action takes place in one period of history you get to experience it in some depth without the description being too heavy for young readers. After reading the book I saw more in common with the pace of a Pirates of the Caribbean/Percy Jackson movie than Harry Potter.

I read this in two days and look forward to reading the already published sequel: History keepers – Circus maximus.

Exciting new series for Percy Jackson fans

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Just thought I would share the announcement about a very exciting new series, that should appeal to Rick Riordan & Michelle Paver fans, hungry for more ancient adventure. The first book in this new series “The Colossus rises” will be published by HarperCollins Children’s in February. The stories are based on the seven ancient wonders of the world. Peter Lerangis is an author who has written titles in the popular ‘The 39 Clues’ series (The Sword Thief and The Viper’s Nest) and one book in The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers series (The Dead of Night).

From Goodreads on “the Colossus – book 1”:

The day after twelve-year-old Jack McKinley is told he only has months to live, he awakens on a mysterious island, where a secret organization promises to save his life-with one condition. With his three friends, Jack must lead a mission to retrieve seven lost magical orbs, which can save their lives only when combined together. The challenge: The orbs have been missing for thousands of years, somewhere in the ruins of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. With no one else to turn to and no escape in sight, the four kids have no choice but to undertake the quest. First stop: The Colossus of Rhodes.

View the exciting book trailer:

Website and free ebook download:

The website for the series is full of extra content, videos and an interactive map of the seven wonders. Explore it hereread about the first book and explore the link to download a free PDF or EPUB prequel novella “The select” here.

“From the lost journals of the Seven Wonders saga comes the story of Burt Wenders—one of the first of the chosen kids to be marked as “The Select.” In this thrilling prequel to Book 1, delve into the mystery and the magic of Seven Wonders, the brand-new adventure series from Peter Lerangis, the bestselling author of several books in the 39 Clues series.

It’s the year 1894, and thirteen-year-old Burt and his father are on an archaeological expedition gone wrong. After a tumultuous voyage, Burt, his father, and the remaining crew find themselves stranded on what seems to be a deserted island. That is, seems to be deserted until Burt starts hearing music that no one else can hear . . . and blacking out with no explanation. Maybe there is something to Burt’s father’s expedition after all? All but tortured by his surroundings, Burt ventures to find out. He can only hope to survive.”

High praise from Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series “A high-octane mix of modern adventure and ancient secrets, The Colossus Rises is Lerangis’s most gripping work yet. Young readers will love this story. I can’t wait to see what’s next in the Seven Wonders series!” 

What do I think about this book?: 

If you love the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series, then this will appeal to you. I will review the book fully once it is published and will definitely be ordering this for our library!

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Books of beginning series – brilliant for fantasy fans!

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The Emerald atlas (2011)

The Fire chronicle (2012)

Book 3 (as yet un-named…) (2014) I can’t wait to read the conclusion!

All written by John Stephens and Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers.

The Emerald Atlas was described by the publisher as Narnia meets Philip Pullman’s His dark materials trilogy…this sets the bar very high for readers, however it did not disappoint and I have enthusiastically been recommending these books to my year 5 and 6 readers who enjoyed Harry Potter, the Narnia Chronicles and Percy Jackson.

From goodreads.com: 

The Emerald Atlas brims with humor and action as it charts Kate, Michael, and Emma’s extraordinary adventures through an unforgettable, enchanted world. These three siblings have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage. Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about.

Until now. ..Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey through time to dangerous and secret corners of the world…a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem.  And—if an ancient prophesy is correct—what they do can change history, and it is up to them to set things right.

Book trailer:

Continue reading Books of beginning series – brilliant for fantasy fans!