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The Time Cavern Paperback – October 9, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
The Time Cavern is a concise, well-written, and endearing story. It's highly suitable for young adult readers: it was mature and clever, yet not overly complex. As an adult, I also enjoyed the book quite a bit -- it reminded me of the Encyclopedia Brown books I used to read when I was a kid, where the hero won the day through intellect and keen observation.
The story is one of exploration and friendship, as Aaron and Jake investigate the source of mysterious voices on the wind, and become entangled in the associated legend of an Amish boy who disappeared one hundred years ago. The story takes place in the quiet farmlands of Amish country, and Aaron learns about the Amish as he plays junior detective. The two friends' adventures are challenged by everything from the rural expansiveness of the country (how does a ten year old kid get all the way into town to look up a census report?) to various riddles involving chemistry, astronomy, mechanics, and history. While the plot might seem a bit obvious to an adult reader, there are definite twists to keep younger audiences enthralled. The characters are well defined and extremely likable, and reading the book invoked a feeling of tense exploration, just like what Aaron and Jake must have felt as they first entered the Time Cavern.
In a nutshell: wonderful, creative, and inspiring!
Setting / Descriptions: 5
Suitability to Audience: 5
Overall rating: 5 stars
An additional note for time-travel enthusiasts (I'm one myself, having written my own time travel novel) -- the Time Cavern introduces us to what might just be the most original time machine concept ever - not to give anything away, but if you're a nut about time-travel, this is worth for that alone.
This book had potential. It had concepts that any 11-year-old boy would be interested in and issues they can all relate to. The author has good storytelling instincts. Unfortunately, he lacks craft. (If the author should read this, I'd like to say that craft can be learned, but storytelling can not. You have talent. You just need to learn to write. Get a book. Take a class. Write a good book next time.)
The book was filled with little mistakes; sentences that didn't make sense, words that were in the wrong form, typos, etc. I found the use of the same boring word like big or large used twice in a sentence and multiple times in a single paragraph extremely distracting, and careless. The author's tendency to switch back and forth between the point of view character was confusing. I don't like reading a badly written book to my kids because it teaches bad writing.
Worst of all, the author fails to follow through on his themes. His primary theme is about the desire of a pre-adolescent to obtain greater personal freedom conflicting with a parent's fear that the child doesn't yet have the sense of responsibility to justify said freedom. The author begins to show the hero of the story learning that being honest with his parents and following through with promises is earning him greater freedom. But as the story continues, the hero just finds better ways to lie, even when the truth could have gotten him what he wanted. In the end, he doesn't learn. The idea that a hero learns and grows into a better person is important in any literature, but even more so in children's literature. Even my 11-year-old son picked up on this. He said he did not like the main character because he was rude to his parents (even though he is very polite in the pleas and thank you way) and he lied when he didn't need to.
This book came so close to being good, but because of lack of writing skill, it just didn't make it.