Sunday, July 10, 2011

♥♥♥♥♥♥: The Bronze and the Brimstone by Lory S. Kaufman

Release Date: June 7th, 2011
Publisher: The Fiction Studio 
Page Count: 336
Source: Complimentary copy provided by author, via Pump Up Your Book Promotions, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you both!)

What could go wrong in the 14th-century for three time-traveling teens? How about—EVERYTHING!

Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln, three teens from the 24th century, are trapped in 14th-century Verona, Italy. They’ve survived many deadly experiences by keeping their wits about them and by introducing futuristic technology into the past. Principal among these inventions is the telescope, which brought them to the attention of the rich and powerful.

But standing out can get you into unexpected and dangerous situations. The nobles of Verona now believe Hansum is a savant, a genius inventor, especially after he brings them plans for advanced cannons and black powder. Being the center of attention is great, but the potential for trouble is now exponentially greater because people are watching Hansum’s every move.

Meanwhile, artistic genius Shamira has fallen for a Florentine artist with bloody and disastrous consequences. Lincoln, considered an incompetent back home in the 24th-century, has blossomed—at least until he’s shot in the head with an arrow. And Hansum, after secretly marrying his new master’s beautiful daughter, Guilietta, is offered the hand in marriage of lady Beatrice, daughter of the ruler of Verona. To refuse could mean calamity for all the teens.

Amazingly, none of this is their biggest challenge. Because a rash illness is spreading across Verona—and it is threatening to consume everyone.

Do they have a future in this past?
What Stephanie Thinks: If you recall my review for Kaufman's first in the Verona Trilogy, The Lens and the Looker, you remember I was highly disappointed with the young adult/fantasy/sci-fi/romance novel. The second book in the series, The Bronze and the Brimstone, is only slightly less displeasing; my reasons for scorning it are almost identical to those of the first book, but I do think this one's plot is more well-developed and exciting.

My biggest problem is the contradictions the story poses. There are "adult" topics covered that wouldn't seem to appeal to teenagers. I'm not saying teenagers like pure content, but if soap-opera-esque romance is put into a book, it should specifically be romance, not young adult romance. On the other hand, another reason teens won't be able to relate to this book is because of the author's childish way of writing. I can better-recommend Kaufman's voice and style to middle grade children, not to young adults. If you look at today's biggest young adult titles, none of them are written in an adult's style. They're written in a young adult's style (hence, the name), by an adult. This is difficult because most adults can't voice a teenager's thoughts. That's why they stick to writing regular fiction, not young adult fiction.

Aside from Kaufman's writing style (which I complained about verbatim in my other review), I will say the plot of the sequel actually had me holding on. Unlike the predictable Romeo and Juliet fantasy in the first book, this one actually is original and marginally more enjoyable. I recommend reading this book for fantasy and time travel lovers, but not too enthusiastically.

Radical Rating: 6 hearts: Satisfying for a first read, but I'm not going back. ♥♥♥♥♥♥