(The Dawn of Mammals series, Book 1)
DESCRIPTION: Park ranger Hannah thought it was going to be an ordinary field trip, leading a group of teenagers into the Badlands to search for fossils with their teacher and a paleontologist. She wouldn't have even been there if her co-worker hadn't tricked her into taking the job. But something unusual happens: a broken ledge reveals a shimmering ripple that pulls Hannah, teacher Bill, paleontologist M.J., and several teens hundreds of thousands of years into the past. Stranded in a world that has never known a human footstep, the group struggles to survive in a world only known from spotty fossil records, a world of strange beasts and strange constellations - and terrible saber-toothed predators.
REVIEW: It was a discount Kindle download that promised action and danger in prehistoric America. That's about what it delivers... but pretty much all it delivers. The characters aren't especially deep or intriguing, most of the teenagers remaining little more than names with only the vaguest of (somewhat stereotypical) traits attached. Then again, the grown-ups aren't much more dynamic, particularly M.J. That leaves the plot to carry the reader forward, which it manages to do, if only just. Much of the book is more about survival than facing down the titular predator. It's not necessarily dull, but it often lacks tension and real interest. The climactic finale plays out in a rush, and the ending feels unresolved as it leads to a cliffhanger, not a conclusion - which felt rather like a cheat, as it was finally picking up to the level of action and danger it promised in the title and blurb. Aside from the vague question of where they go next and what happens now, there's no real plot thread or story arc to compel me to read further. There's no puzzle to solve about the time travel, no greater goal, so without caring much about the fairly flat characters, I have no real incentive to follow this series any further. It's not a terrible read, but it just didn't grab me, nor did I ever feel it was going anywhere I particularly needed to follow.
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