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Tethers Paperback – June 6, 2013
Top customer reviews
The story follows two kids in their early teen years of the Victorian era, as they go on an adventure filled with mystery and fantasy after discovering an old journal in the house of a neighbor. The story moves along at a fairly descent pace, was interesting, and well researched. One of the things that pulled me into the story was the detailing of the Victorian setting and the characterization.
This novel is Jack Croxall's first publication and it does not disappoint. It will be interesting to see what he does next. I could easily see him continuing on with more books in a series based on the Tethers' characters, but hope that he will also branch out and create additional imaginative works.
Karl and Esther are very precocious characters. Smart and witty are just two of their likable qualities. These two are always looking for a chance to adventure out of the small village that they’ve only known their whole lives. From the very first page, you are easily pulled in by their friendly banter. As the story unfolds, you can’t help but wonder what will happen next. I found it hard to put down at times when I had to sleep for work.
I love all the elements that make up this book. There’s the fantasy side, but with science-fiction trait. Of course there is the historical aspect, as it’s set in the Victorian Era. It’s also very adventurous and thrilling at times, which is what our two main characters long for. A great start to a trilogy in my opinion, and I can’t wait to read Unwoven (The Tethers Trilogy #2). Definitely recommend!!
Only persons with special coloured eyes (one blue one green) can see what the stone shows, in this case Karl. Even though Karl is given prominence in the book I found myself warming to the fiery character that is Esther over the dull personality of Karl.....and 3/4 through the book I wish she was the main character. :-)
Sure, you have a journal with clues and puzzles, a magical sort of thingummy, conspiracies, villains, a quest, peril, and so on. And that's all done very well. We start a bit slowly, build up suspense and energy, move on to a dangerous confrontation, and then go on the run. Lots of twists and turns, messing about on boats, and even swordplay. It's all ripping, well paced, and generally well done.
But, the standout is our heroes - Karl and Esther. They're two kids on the cusp of adulthood stuck in the little town of Schraye. Karl may or may not want to take on an apprenticeship as a teacher. Esther struggles against the bonds of Victorian attitudes about spunky girls. When the mysterious journal appears, and flight is necessary, well the way forward, or at least out, is clear to both of them.
And the emphasis on each character's journey is not what you might expect. Karl is a bit shy, a touch hesitant, and maybe a bit of a momma's boy. His father died while bravely interceding in a mugging, and Karl struggles both under the weight of the loss of his father, and his doubt about whether he could ever be such a selfless hero.
Esther is smart, energetic, quick to learn, and athletic, with a big heart, natural empathy, and a loathing for the idea of spending her life as a server in the family pub. She is ready for adventure and escape.
So, our two main characters need to go on a great quest, and to me it didn't really matter very much how plausible or well plotted the adventure quest was. The fact that the author served up a fine tale ended up being just a bonus. I liked the easy and gentle friendship between Karl and Esther. Joining them as they navigated the backways from Schraye to another town was both uneventful and perfectly pleasant. That said, there are some dark and sad developments, since you don't want only a sunny little lark, and our heroes do have to be tested and forged.
Just a hint of confusion about their feelings for each other seemed age appropriate and added life and charm to the duo. They spoke openly to each other, avoided false dramatic angst, were supportive and understanding, and developed into a perfect team with complementary skills and aptitudes. Both characters are observant and are well spoken in a style and manner true to their ages and experiences.
The upshot is that this ended up being a suspenseful, charming, sometimes amusing, and always appealing buddy-adventure. What a nice find for an older middle grade reader.
(Please note that I found this book while browsing Amazon Kindle freebies. I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)