Sunday, December 4, 2011

Blog Tour/Review: The Lens and the Looker

The Lens and the Looker (Verona, 1)  by Lory S. Kaufman, 2011. 336 pages. Published by The Fiction Studio. Source: Pump Up Your Book Tours/Author.
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.
First Sentence:
One of Hansun's earliest memories was of his mother telling him he was just like his name sounded in the old English, handsome.
A few pages into The Lens and the Looker and I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to finish reading it. It wasn't that it was a poorly written, I just couldn't bring myself to care about the characters...especially Lincoln who I seriously wanted to shake and yell at him to grow up and stop being an idiot. With the rocky beginning I was surprised by how much I came to really enjoy the story that Mr. Kaufman laid out.
One of the things that I found to be the most interesting about The Lens and the Looker was when Arimus showed up. At first I wasn't to sure what to make of him, but he definitely livened up the story when he transported the kids to ancient Verona after their failed stunt to get kicked out of History Camp. while the History Camps were interesting I really liked begin to truly like this book after they wound up in the 1th century because I thought the author did a really nice job of describing the setting and how things were then compared to now.
At first glance, neither of the three leading characters, Hansum, Shamira, and Lincoln, really present you with personalities that would leave you rooting for them. which is pretty much how they got themselves sent to History Camp, where one is to learn how to work hard and better appreciate the things that they have. While I may not have liked them in the beginning they did manage to grow on me as the story progressed and they slowly began to change for the better and accept their new situation.
     Hansum, would be what most would call a "charmer"; able to talk his way out of just about anything (even sweet talking A.I. units into doing what he wanted). It was kind of funny how his schemes were the cause of them winding up in the actual 14th century Verona (yes, I snickered).
     Shamira, was by far the least irritating of the characters. I thought she was also by far the most interesting to read about, and I even didn't mind the fact that she was an artist- especially since I usually don't like characters that are artists (I don't know why they just usually drive me mad).
       Lincoln, was very nearly the reason I was questioning whether or not to finish The Lens and the Looker. What made him such an impossible character to like in the beginning is that he was spoiled, pampered, and just a general pain. Given that I pretty much despised his character in the start of the book, he did quite a bit of changing so that by time the end rolled around he wasn't too bad.

One of my favorite things about The Lens and the Looker was the History Camps. I thought it was an interesting way to teach delinquents, or in the case of Hansum, Shamira, and Lincoln to better appreciate privileges and the things that they have in the 24th century that they live in. The only thing that kind of didn't work out with these camps was that they were not exactly as rough as the time in which they were supposed to be modeled after; even so, it was definitely interesting.
     While I enjoyed reading The Lens and the Looker there were a couple of things that kept me from completely loving it, but mainly one that really made me almost give up on reading it. And that would namely be all the mentions of a certain character's, Ugilino, use of a chamber pot...can you say over share. I so did NOT need - nor want- to know what he did with it or what Mrs. della Cappa did with hers. I can understand wanting to add a little more realism by not avoiding throwing in characters use of the bathroom, but thought that maybe it was taken a bit far.

Content (will contain spoilers; highlight to see):
I was kinda shocked by the amount of swearing in The Lens and the Looker. When I first got it it liked like it was going to be fairly clean in the language department, but there was a fair sprinkling of the c*r*, sh** and the like.
As for sexual content, there was mention of how a certain prince was wont to seek his pleasure with the ladies, and how he wanted to "have" Guilietta against her will.

Final Verdict: The Lens and the Looker was and was not exactly what I was expecting, and took me a bit to get into.

The Lens and the Looker earns 3.5 out of 5 pineapples.

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