Sunday, August 02, 2009

Book Review: Timescape by Robert Liparulo

The first page behind the copyright page says "STOP! Read House of Dark Shadows (Dreamhouse Kings Book 1), Watcher in the Woods (Dreamhouse Kings Series, Book 2), and Gatekeepers (Dreamhouse Kings Series, Book 3) before continuing!" This warning absolutely must be heeded...this fourth book makes very little sense if you have not read the series from the beginning. While you can probably enjoy the little vignettes as the family has micro-adventures in other time periods by traveling through portals, you definitely won't appreciate the overall thread of finding and rescuing the family's mother from wherever she has gone.

There is non-stop action to be found. Quite literally. Even the few hours when everyone is supposed to be sleeping are full of adventure. The 305 page book covers just short of 24 hours of real time. During this 24-hours, the family barely escapes from the future where they are chased by mutants that fling spears at them; saves Nana from being pulled into a portal; finds that Jesee has been stabbed and his finger cut off; escapes from the sinking of the Titanic; handles the mystery of the teddy bear; sneaks in to visit Jesee in the hospital; barely escapes from Vikings and Berserker warriors; attends a full day of school; travels back in time to meet Jesee as a young boy; and follows the evil Taksidian and gets caught in his trap. It is hideously unrealistic that young children could endure this much drama and physical danger in 24 hours, especially since they are injured repeatedly.

While this book is allegedly Christian fiction, it is not obviously religious. I'm not even sure which characters are supposed to be Christians. David (who has the bizarre nickname "Dae"... does a name as short as David really need a shorter nickname??) sometimes repeats to himself "strong and courageous" from 1 Chronicles 22:13, and someone utters a prayer using the word "Lord". But that's it in terms of Christian influence. And then there are the movie references, which far outweigh any Bible references. Movies/books mentioned: War Games (25th Anniversary Edition), Eagle Eye, Titanic, Mission Impossible (Special Collector's Edition), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Single Disc), Avatar: The Last Air Bender, Jaws (30th Anniversary Edition), I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, High School Musical (Encore Edition), Star Wars Trilogy, The Incredibles (Two-Disc Collector's Edition), Spy Kids, All About Eve (Two-Disc Special Edition).

The book ends with questions for a discussion group.

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