The Lens and the Looker
Written by: Lory S. Kaufman
# of pages: 322
Average Rating: 3.48/5
My Rating: 3/5
Read in May 2014
Summary according to Goodreads
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. The series takes readers along on the life-changing journey of three 24th century teens. While the three protagonists appear quite immature in the first half of The Lens and the Looker, this is not a series aimed exclusively at young teens. Lory Kaufman says he writes for readers 13 to 113, (and precocious 12-year-olds) This is borne out by the fact that about half the readership of the series is adult. What many readers say they love about this series is its wonderful mix of science fiction (the future) and historical fiction (the past). While there's time travel, there are also sword fights, and while there are detailed descriptions of ancient technologies, the story also includes many colorful characters who just happen to be artificial intelligences. There's allusions to a Romeo and Juliet love story and also characters who have murderous intentions toward the lovers. And the setting? Many readers are praising the accurately described historical setting of 14th century Verona Italy, where much of the story takes place.
I received a copy of this book to review as part of a blog tour, but that does not influence my opinion.
This novel is the first in a triology, but it was not a series I was interested in reading back to back. It is nothing against the story, but at the beginning of this novel there was such an info dump, and so much to wrap your head around, that I felt like I needed to write something light afterward. This trilogy is a post-dystopian fiction in the young adult genre, but it also has aspects of time travel.
I really enjoyed the historical aspects of this novel, as they take these teenagers back to old life in Verona. Reading about life and culture back then was an interesting addition to the novel, and added dimension to the plot. Another good choice the author made while writing this novel was having the story be told from third person. I enjoyed this because you got a deeper look into all of the characters thoughts, and how they reacted to the changes.
Hansum by far was my favourite character, and I am not usually one to choose a male protagonist over a female. I felt that Hansum had more character development, could be seen as more relatable, and also was just fun to read.
Overally I thought this book was very interesting and had a unique concept, and I would recommend it to readers that are looking for something different. Although I did not marathon-read the trilogy, I do plan on reading them this summer.