Thursday, April 23, 2015

DNF YA Review: Temple Boys


Temple Boys by Jamie Buxton, February 10, 2015. 288 pages. Published by Roaring Brook Press. Source: publisher.
Jerusalem: year zero. A gritty, vivid, startlingly original reimagining of the world's most famous story, told from a street kid's point of view.

Jerusalem, year zero. Flea belongs to a gang of teenage vagrants living in the shadow of the Temple, living on their wits and what they can beg or steal. When a man called the Magician arrives, bringing talk of miracles and revolution, Flea and his comrades latch onto the newcomer in the hope that he'll offer them a secure home. As events accumulate and powerful forces gather around the Magician, Flea notices rumblings of discontent among his followers. Is the Magician the savior he claims to be, or a fraud? Does Flea hold the fate of the Magician—and possibly the world—in his hands, as he begins to believe? Temple Boys vividly conjures up ancient Jerusalem and the Biblical era and boldly re-imagines the western world's most famous story from the point of view of a teenage boy. 
First Sentence:
The cold woke Flea and drove him out of the shelter.


Guys, I really, really wanted to like The Temple Boys. I even gave it over a hundred pages and still found myself, um well, procrastinating on reading this one and when I did read it, I could barely make it through ten pages at a time.

While the story itself interested me, it was the way the story was told mixed with the writing that ended up making this book not for me. First off, I was not a fan of the way the author changed the (historical yet true) story of Jesus and turned him into a magician. Secondly, I was not a fan of his writing style because it felt like the author was trying to speak solely to male readers. Sure, The Temple Boys followed a group of teenage vagrants but the writing could have been better. I cannot even explain how exactly it felt like it was aimed more at boy readers, just that it was. Now, normally I enjoy these gritty books but this one was not working for me.

I'll elaborate on the boy-book angst. Don't get me wrong, I quite enjoy reading about male protagonists and, yet, I found myself unable to really get into this one (which was disappointing to say the least). My problem with the way the story was told was that, like with commercials, you can just tell with someone is targeting boys and that is just how I felt here. Personally, other than the voice of the book, of which I did not like, I just did not care for the overall direction of the book and how everyone was portrayed.

While I was hoping to like Temple Boys it was, alas, not meant to be as you can. Even though I ended up not liking it to the point of DNF-ing it, I will give this book one point in its favor. The author did do a great job of capturing the tension within Jerusalem leading up to the death of Jesus. I would say that Jamie Buxton excelled when it came to making the atmosphere jump off the page and get into your brain. Sadly, that is the only good thing I can say about what I did read of it.

Final Verdict: The Temple Boys- Well... gritty yet a poor turn on Biblical history.

The Temple Boys earns

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