Review: The Lens and The Looker by Lory S. Kaufman

Lizzie     Oct 10th, 2011     Dystopian, Fantasy, Reviews     0 Replies

Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Fiction Std (March 16, 2011)
Source: Received from publicist
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1936558025
ISBN-13: 978-1936558025

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.

When I first started reading this book, it wasn’t all that interesting to me. I thought the premise sounded genius, absolutely fantastic. The concept of History Camps was so cool, something that, even though it is reserved for misbehaving children in the book, I would love to go to! I mean, living as they did in the fourteenth century, but without the concern for disease! Maybe I’m weird but I think that would be so cool.

But the beginning just wasn’t interesting to me. It took a little less than a hundred pages for the story to finally pick up and then I couldn’t put it down.

I liked that the story didn’t focus on just one character throughout. It touched on the perspectives of Hansum, Shamira, Lincoln, and even others who appear during the book. It did so in a way that it wasn’t confusing but rather refreshing. There are so many YA novels out there today that don’t even bother giving you a glimpse at other character’s point-of-views, or do so in a distracting and confusing way.

There wasn’t as much as action as you’d expect, seeing as it takes place in a time where survival was a struggle year round, unless you were handsomely wealthy. However, the action that was there, was executed finely and had me on the edge of my seat.

Allow me to touch on the cover for a moment, too. It’s definitely eye-catching but at the same time, it is almost kind of . . . classic. I can’t even find the right word for but it reminds me of book covers from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s which is a great thing to me. I adore it, and the cover of the sequel, The Bronze and the Brimstone, which I’ll also be reviewing soon.

Lory is an author that can’t wait to read more of. Even though I don’t know too much about the fourteenth century, I felt like I was right beside Hansum, Shamira, and Lincoln as I read The Lens and The Looker. He’s great at creating visuals and I’m excited to see where the story goes next.


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