Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Review: The Time Travellers

Title: The Time Travellers (The Gideon Trilogy)
Author: Linda Buckley-Archer
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 2006
Genre: Junior Fiction, Fantasy

Peter Schock has been looking forward to spending the day with his father for the first time in what feels like forever, and he can’t help but feel angry when his father cancels at the last minute. Instead of going skiing, Peter and his nanny go to visit friends in Derbyshire. Staying at the Dyer’s farm, Peter meets the redheaded Kate, who is about his age. When Kate and Peter go to visit Kate’s father’s laboratory, something goes terribly wrong and they end up in an unfamiliar place. There, they meet the Tar Man, who takes the anti-matter machine that seems to have brought them to this strange land. At home, it was winter and now it is summer. Kate wonders if perhaps they were knocked unconscious and taken to Australia. Peter and Kate make the acquaintance of Gideon Seymour, former Cutpurse. Gideon’s strange and formal dress and mannerisms give the children pause, but surely the only explanation is impossible. When the children arrive with Gideon into town it becomes very clear that the anti-matter machine took them even further than they imagined- to the past! Kate and Peter have travelled back in time to 1763. Things become even stranger when Kate and Peter learn that they can ‘blur,’ by appearing in their present time as ghost like apparitions. Kate and Peter seem to have nothing in common, but together they’ve been thrown into the past. They will have to learn to trust each other if they want to make it home to modern England.

This book is also titled Gideon The Cutpurse, and the cover was enough to catch my attention. Two preteens find themselves in the 18th century, where they face the evil Tar Man, stifling period clothing, highwaymen, and unfair laws. The author did a good job of recreating the 18th century, although, as with a lot of time travel stories, the characters met too many important figures from that time period. The plot was original but dragged on a bit. However, the ending picked up and changed my opinion on the book as a whole. The discussion of time travel and how the children end up finding the time machine again was very clever. For the majority of the book, I though that it was an all right story, but doubted that I would pick up the sequel. The ending alone managed to convince me to continue with the series. I liked the majority of the characters, including Peter, Gideon and even Sydney, but I disliked Kate, who I first thought I would adore. Kate ended up frustrating me: I hated how she became angry with Peter when he stopped her from blurring away one time, but later on she became paranoid that he would leave her in 1763. This book reminded me of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, and I think it would be a good book for fans of that series. Great for young fans of fantasy, adventure and time travel.


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