There's hope for the future, but what about the past?
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.
The three teens in this book are your typical interpretation of spoiled teens. They have never had to endure any real work or hard times. In the future from which they come, everyone has their own guardian in the form of artificial intelligence. Because of their rude and snarky attitude they get separated from their families and guardians and sent to a history camp to learn their lesson and basically be scared straight.
It took me a while to get into this book and so I had a hard time just sitting down and reading the whole thing. That being said, this book definitely takes you on an adventure. Hansum is the oldest teen and he really shows it by taking charge. Shamira, is this tough artistic girl going through a rebellious period in her life. I think a lot of teens her age would relate to her character. My favorite main character, though, was Lincoln. He was funny and sarcastic and didn't hold his tongue. Throughout this book I found myself relating to him the most. In so many situations they went through he reacted exactly like I would have. I feel like all the characters really grown, develop and find themselves throughout the story.
The plot of the book revolves a lot around the history of Italy in 1347. There is some romance but Kaufman makes it a minimal part in the book and definitely gives it a fun, light feel. Lory Kaufman focuses a lot on detail. There are parts where they are learning to master the art of lens crafting and he explains everything in such detail. I particularly found this made the novel difficult to read for me sometimes but thinking about it now, it would be great for middle grade teens interested in historical facts. There were detailed parts of the architecture that I really enjoyed.
All in all, following these teens on their adventure into the past was an entertaining read. I will be continuing their adventure in the second book, The Bronze and The Brimstone. The Lens and The Looker was a new experience for me. I recommend this if you enjoy books that delve more into history and particular time periods.