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The Navigator Hardcover – January 9, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–8—This fantasy by Irish author McNamee introduces Owen, whose father has died mysteriously, and whose mother has sunk into a depression. Out in his wilderness hideaway, he catapults into a time vortex where he meets a girl named Cati and her fellow Wakeful. Their eternal task is to fight the Harsh, a powerful ice people who upend time, running it backward so that humans no longer exist. Owen, Cati, and other Wakeful set out to find the Puissance, the place where it is foretold that the Navigator, a legendary figure, can defeat the Harsh and restore proper time. Readers who head for D. J. MacHale's "Pendragon" (S & S) and Garth Nix's "The Keys to the Kingdom" (Scholastic) series may like this one as well, but it sometimes strains credibility. The idea that time is moving backward (from modern to medieval times by novel's end), but that all humanity immediately disappears (even though there were humans back then) is hard to accept. And while Owen and Cati are plucky adventurers, the descriptions sometimes fall flat, and the transitions are occasionally abrupt. Consider this title an additional purchase; acquire where Kenneth Oppel's Airborn (HarperCollins, 2004) and similar titles are popular.—Caitlin Augusta, The Darien Library, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Owen often escapes his widowed mother's house for his den, a cozy hideout along the banks of the river. One day he spots a strange man in a faded uniform staring across the river. As Owen creeps up on him, the world plunges into total darkness. When the darkness lifts, the man tells Owen, "It has begun." It appears that Owen has an important role to play in an eons-long battle between the Resistors and a group of villains called the Harsh, who freeze everything they touch. The struggle is at a crisis point; the Harsh have managed to start the Great Time Machine running backward. The concept is somewhat sketchy, but McNamee, who wrote the adult book Resurrection Man (1994), keeps the action vivid and exciting, giving readers little time to worry about details. An editor's note indicates that the interesting cast of characters will return for more adventures. Lynn Rutan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 820L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books; First Edition edition (January 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375839100
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375839108
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #914,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By LonestarReader on May 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a book I HAD to finish reading before I could go to bed last night.

Owen is different. He doesn't fit in at school and his mother is suffering from a mysterious mental disorder. Owen's father commited suicide and he hears people in town say, "Like father, like son," "He'll go the same way." Owen does suffer a crippling phobia of water. The sight of the harbor or a river makes him tremble.

He finds refuge in his "den," a small clearing in the woods where he has built a fort with odds and ends of furniture and items he scavenged from the town junk yard. He is in his den one afternoon when the light in the sky changes and in a flash, Owen's world disappears.

He encounters a person calling himself Sub-Commandant who is part of the Resisters and who has called the Sleepers to wake up because The Harsh have caused Time to start moving backward and are getting ready to attack. Wha-huh?

Well, think how Owen feels!

This was a terrific adventure story. There is a missing artifact, an epic journey and the hope that "The Navigator" will appear to restore the flow of Time and get the world back on track. Three young ones and a world to save--great stuff.

The fantastical apparatus of this world such as the power source "Magno," the brass observation tower "Skyward," the "Q-Car," and goggled bad guys operating dragonfly-styled flying machines put me in mind of Flash Gordon serials. Illustrator, Jon Goodell has done a lovely service illustrating some of these technological wonders.

There was still an unresolved mystery in my mind about a minor character in the beginning of the book. I think this means more stories are coming.

I love Irish storytellers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 31, 2007
Format: Audio CD
The Navigator is a very good book. I really enjoyed listening to it; I listened to it in one day. The descriptions are very good and I feel like I'm living it.

The Navigator is about a boy named Owen who meets these people called the resistors who are resisting against the Harsh who are trying to take the world back to before their where people at all.

Overall it was a very good book and I can't wait for the next one in the series!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Bookworm Speaks!

The Navigator by Eoin McNamee

****

The Story: One day the world around Owen shifts oddly: Time flows backwards, and the world and family he knew disappear. Time can only be set right when the Resisters vanquish their ancient enemies, the Harsh. Unless they are stopped, everything Owen knows will vanish as if it has never been...And Owen discovers he has a terrifying role to play in this battle: he is the Navigator.

The Good: At first glance, this book can seem like an ordinary youth adventure story. It has all of the ingredients. Outsider kid who doesn’t fit in, turns out he has an extraordinary destiny waiting for him and gets swept up in a new dangerous world. Not an incorrect formula, but one has to work hard to make their particular version of this story unique. In this case, the author did work hard to make his vision unique.

Bookworm is not entirely sure but he has read several books by Irish authors, like Eoin McNamee, and he has noticed a common theme. Irish authors tend to focus on more ethereal concepts in their writing. It not is that hard to come to that conclusion. Ireland is an ancient land, steeped in history and legend, and the people who live there are breed of their own. The stories they tell are more about emotions and abstractions. This is evident in the Navigator. There is not a lot of exposition in the text, it is more feeling and imagery. This sets it apart from other books in this genre as youth fiction tends to be very straightforward. This is a fact and not a positive or negative. This creates a novel that is more about feel rather than thought which makes it contrast in a pleasing way with many adrenaline junkie festivals that make up a large percentage of youth fiction.
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Format: Paperback
Owen is ostracized by the other children around him for his father's death long ago, a presumed suicide that resulted in his mother being thrown into a haze of depression from which she cannot escape. By his young teens, he's quietly self-reliant, managing the house on his own and taking care of his mother who is forgetful and not always lucid. He spends his time wandering around the terrain outside of his house, by a river and an abandoned old building that was once a workhouse.

One day, Owen meets a strange man near the river right before witnessing a strange flash of darkness. The man, who introduces himself as the Sub-Commandant, explains to Owen that the mysterious flash signifies that a group of creatures known as the Harsh have succeeded in turning back time to before human habitation, so that they can live alone in solitude and turn the Earth to a barren, ice-encrusted waste. Owen does not believe the Sub-Commandant at first, but when he runs away to find his home, he is faced with nothing but ruins.

The Sub-Commandant brings Owen back to the Workhouse, which Owen learns is situated on an "island in time" that the Harsh cannot touch, and home to the Resisters, a rag-tag fighting force whose purpose it is to defeat the Harsh and prevent them from tampering with Earth's timeflow. Owen quickly becomes swept up in the affairs of the Resisters, who do not understand why he did not disappear along with all of the other people and signs of human life in the world. Some even suspect that he is a Harsh spy, and mistrust him. Along the way he meets with several compelling characters, including Cati, the Sub-Commandant's daughter, and Dr. Diamond, an expert in the science of time.
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