2 out of 4 stars
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Andrew, John, and Sarah are school friends on summer break. Andrew finds a mysterious, disc-shaped object when playing soccer one day. Not knowing what it is, he puts it in his bag while the three explore the Red Forest nearby. Suddenly, they find themselves back in medieval times at the castle of Lord and Lady Grey. Having just begun exploring the object's powers, the three friends realize the future looks bleak, but they just might have the power to change it. Will Andrew, John, and Sarah save the day?
The Object: First Contact by Matthew Caesar is the first in a series of young adult science fiction/fantasy books. Targeted at teenagers, there are only mild profanities and non-gruesome violence. There is some romance; but, with little in the way of explicit scenes, it should be suitable for the age range.
I enjoyed being with the teens as they traveled back in time. After all, who doesn't love lords, ladies, kings, and sword fighting? The object was a great spin on the experience, and by the end, they had just begun to explore its abilities. I'm looking forward to finding out what else it's capable of.
In order to be authentic, the author does use some Old English, like thee and art. It seems to be a more simplified version of Old English and is quite understandable while still lending an air of authenticity to the book. If, though, some children are confused, Mr. Caesar gives a medieval word key to explain this language better.
In this book, details abound. When a character gets dressed, we are privy to the exact sizes of the clothes he or she wears along with the colors and styles. In addition, each time someone goes to ride a horse, we learn their colors, their size, and their name. Every single time. This level of detail was overwhelming and added unnecessary length to the story.
Furthermore, while the details were over-explained, in other instances we are told instead of shown. When the kids dream of the future, we're simply told they dreamt instead of taking us through the dream. At one point the teens are arguing, and we are told: "...they started to shout and argue with each other, it really got quite heated." I wanted to hear and see the argument instead of simply knowing it happened.
Lastly, the book was not edited well. I found numerous errors, and they were distracting. The author had a tendency to overuse punctuation including semicolons and commas. There were errors in capitalization as well as homophone errors. For example, we are told a character "...picked up the large blue sports bag and closed the; front, red, glossy, door, behind him." All in all, it needs another round of proofreading.
To summarize, I rate The Object: First Contact 2 out of 4 stars. The amount of detail, telling instead of showing, and errors were too unsettling to warrant a higher rating, but the concept is worth a reworking of the story. I recommend this to teenage readers who can overlook errors and don't mind excessive details.
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