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Pastworld Hardcover – September 29, 2009

3.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up—In 2050, civilization has become sterile, controlled, peaceful, and very, very boring. In an effort to capitalize on the ennui of the rich and famous, Buckland Corporation has created the ultimate vacation destination: Pastworld, a city modeled after 19th-century London where visitors also known as "gawkers" can immerse themselves in a Victorian world complete with grueling poverty, near-primitive medicine, lawlessness, and a casual disregard for human life. When 17-year-old Caleb Brown enters Pastworld with his father, one of the theme park's creators, he is unwittingly embroiled in a Scotland Yard investigation of a series of Jack the Ripper-style murders. Befriended by a young pickpocket and a beautiful girl with amnesia, he fights for his life and future in the dark underbelly of Pastworld. Readers who enjoyed Eleanor Updale's "Montmorency" series (Scholastic) will find this novel equally suspenseful and gripping. This spellbinding page-turner will keep readers on the edge of their seats.—Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Beck takes the idea of historical fiction transporting readers to another time and literalizes it in this intriguing bit of science fiction. In the not-too-distant future, the city of London has been transformed into a massive Victorian theme park where Gawkers (tourists) can rub elbows with the grimy beggars and haughty gentry (most licensed to live out their roles) that visitors expect. Of course, no nineteenth-century London would be complete without a mysterious murderer lurking in the shadows, nor an innocent beauty in need of rescue. But the savage Fantom and delicate Eve seem to operate outside of the corporate-controlled construct of Pastworld, and Beck weaves a suitably foggy, intricate story around them. Rote characterizations and chunky dialogue dilute this jaunt into the past via the future, but much in the same way that Pastworld delivers Gawkers the expected delights of living historical fiction, so does Beck reward his readers with the requisite Victorian elements, that despite a lack of originality, are no less satisfying. Grades 7-10. --Ian Chipman
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 880L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; First Edition edition (September 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599900408
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599900407
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,310,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Pastworld is a "theme park" set in the Victorian times of London. The visitors, called Gawkers, get submerged in that lifetime. They must follow strict rules to keep to the authenticity.

The story is about Eve, a girl who was shut away in a house in Pastworld and only let out with her guardian, who runs away to join the circus. She doesn't remember much of her childhood, but she dreams of being free. The story is also about Caleb, a visitor to Pastworld whose life is turned upside down when he's a witness to a murder. Before long, he is labeled as the murderer and his father is kidnapped right before his eyes. He is taken in by a pickpocket named Bible J. And then there's the Fantom. He is a serial killer with a gruesome calling card.

These three characters are all involved in some way - a very shocking way!

PASTWORLD was definitely...interesting. Working for Disney, I saw that this was about a "theme park" and was excited. But I wouldn't exactly call Pastworld a theme park; it's just a city set in the past.

You could definitely tell this book was written by a guy, since it was really gory. I wasn't expecting that, but it didn't turn me off from my reading. Sometimes, I didn't really care about the characters. While I wanted to care about Eve, I didn't feel like there was enough about her for me to feel sympathetic about. That being said, this was a good science fiction/mystery book. I spent a lot of the storyline trying to figure out what was going on, and I would say that about two-thirds of the way through, I finally figured it out. And it was a good twist!

I feel that the ending wrapped up too quickly, as I would have liked to have read more about what happened at the end scene with the Fantom and Eve. Still, a good read overall, though.

Reviewed by: Andrea
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Lots of good about this book. Interesting premise, well-done background and description of the creepy amusement park setting.

The only downside is what I complain about all the time. Too many words. Many of the passages and scenes felt repetitive. I lost forward motion in a few places. Sort of like slogging through the swamp hoping to find the elusive rare orchid. I persevered, but I really wish it was cut by a few thousand words. The ending was neither surprising nor dramatic given the premise.

If this were a self-pub, then I could be more forgiving, but it's published by Bloomsbury. What exactly are their editors doing? Clearly not cutting the chaff from a book that would have been better with a scalpel-like editing. After all, the Fantom would have done so.

So I'm waffling here. Good enough to finish because of concept and delivery, but not good enough to be enthused.
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Format: Hardcover
Pastworld is a "theme park" set in the Victorian times of London. The visitors, called Gawkers, get submerged in that lifetime. They must follow strict rules to keep to the authenticity.

The story is about Eve, a girl who was shut away in a house in Pastworld and only let out with her guardian, who runs away to join the circus. She doesn't remember much of her childhood, but she dreams of being free. The story is also about Caleb, a visitor to Pastworld whose life is turned upside down when he's a witness to a murder. Before long, he is labeled as the murderer and his father is kidnapped right before his eyes. He is taken in by a pickpocket named Bible J. And then there's the Fantom. He is a serial killer with a gruesome calling card.

These three characters are all involved in some way - a very shocking way!

PASTWORLD was definitely...interesting. Working for Disney, I saw that this was about a "theme park" and was excited. But I wouldn't exactly call Pastworld a theme park; it's just a city set in the past.

You could definitely tell this book was written by a guy, since it was really gory. I wasn't expecting that, but it didn't turn me off from my reading. Sometimes, I didn't really care about the characters. While I wanted to care about Eve, I didn't feel like there was enough about her for me to feel sympathetic about. That being said, this was a good science fiction/mystery book. I spent a lot of the storyline trying to figure out what was going on, and I would say that about two-thirds of the way through, I finally figured it out. And it was a good twist!

I feel that the ending wrapped up too quickly, as I would have liked to have read more about what happened at the end scene with the Fantom and Eve. Still, a good read overall, though.

Reviewed by: Andrea
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
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Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
This book was definitely...interesting. Working for Disney, I saw that this was about a "theme park" and was excited. But I wouldn't exactly call Pastworld a theme park...it's just a city set in the past.

You could definitely tell this book was written by a guy. The book was really gory. I wasn't expecting that, but it didn't turn me off. And I didn't really care about the characters. While I wanted to care about Eve, I didn't feel like there was enough about her for me to feel sympathetic about.

That being said, it was a good mystery book. I spent a lot of the book trying to figure out what was going on and I would say that about two-thirds of the way through, I figured it out. And it was a good twist! I feel that the ending wrapped up too quickly though. I would have liked to have read more about what happened at the end scene with the Fantom and Eve.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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