Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Time Keeper (Barbara Bartholomew)

The Time Keeper
(The Timeways trilogy, Book 1)
Barbara Bartholomew
Amazon Digital Services
Fiction, YA Sci-Fi
**** (Good)

DESCRIPTION: Jeanette and her younger brother, Neil, have been struggling to adapt to a changing life. After their parents divorced, they stayed with their father in Dallas - which wasn't so bad, until he brought home his new wife (who insists Jean should be wearing dresses) and her perfect, pretty daughter (who stole the boy Jean's always had a crush on, and half the other boys at school besides.) Now her best friend Tina's nagging her about the old Lansden House, a derelict hotel slated for demolition. Surely an architect like her father has some pull with the city to save the place! Jean just can't care about old things or old buildings. Nothing can bring back the past, or change it.
Exploring the old hotel, Neil and Jean discover a hidden doorway to a cavern with six strange glowing stones, so well hidden that not even the demolition company knows about it. When Neil runs away from home, Jean follows him there... and watches him step on the stones and vanish into thin air! Jean follows, and finds herself in frontier Texas. Only something's not quite right - the real frontier never had unicorns, nor did it have two moons in an unfamiliar night sky. Somehow, Neil and Jean have fallen into another world - and their efforts to return home only get them more lost, in a future where time travel is the ultimate crime. All the while, the clock ticks down to the demolition of the Lansden House... and the destruction of their only chance to return to when and where they belong.

REVIEW: A Kindle reprint of an older title, The Time Keeper offers adventure, danger, and conflicted characters struggling to figure things out before it's too late. In other words, it's everything a good young adult book should be. Neil gets a little annoying now and again, though since Jean's the hero it's appropriate for the kid brother to be irritating. She makes a decent protagonist, figuring things out fairly well on her own without having to be repeatedly bashed over the head with clues. Despite having two boys with her, Jean's the one who has to get them out of trouble, a refreshing change from some stories (even adult ones.) Actually, most of the characters eventually pulled their own weight, even the minor ones. It starts a little slow, but picks up nicely, clipping along to an ending that offered more conclusion than I expected, while still leading into future books. I lost an entire afternoon to it, meaning to put the Kindle down after just one more chapter. Considering that it was first published in the 1980's, it holds up pretty well. Hopefully, the next two books are also slated for eBook re-release, or I'll have to try my luck with the library.

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