Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Review: The Obsidian Blade

The Obsidian Blade 
by Pete Hautman (Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube)
Series: Klaatu Diskos #1
Published: April 10th, 2012 by Candlewick
Pages: 320 (Hardcover)
Genre: Sci-Fi
Source: Borrowed from library
The first time his father disappeared, Tucker Feye had just turned thirteen. The Reverend Feye simply climbed on the roof to fix a shingle, let out a scream, and vanished — only to walk up the driveway an hour later, looking older and worn, with a strange girl named Lahlia in tow. In the months that followed, Tucker watched his father grow distant and his once loving mother slide into madness.

But then both of his parents disappear. Now in the care of his wild Uncle Kosh, Tucker begins to suspect that the disks of shimmering air he keeps seeing — one right on top of the roof — hold the answer to restoring his family. And when he dares to step into one, he’s launched on a time-twisting journey — from a small Midwestern town to a futuristic hospital run by digitally augmented healers, from the death of an ancient prophet to a forest at the end of time. Inevitably, Tucker’s actions alter the past and future, changing his world forever.

The Obsidian Blade by Pete Hautman was an exciting read that gripped me from beginning to end. The premise of the story is fairly simple: sometime in the future people built portals called Diskos that travel to various locations and times throughout human history. And now, some of the people from those times are finding the portals. The story follows Tucker Feye as he discovers and eventually learns the nature of these portals.

The settings of the book were all really unique and interesting. I loved how Hautman tied everything together by having characters from different eras interact, and by showing how the characters affected history in unexpected ways. Another thing that I thought was really cool was the way that Hautman would have Tucker be present for major historical events, but not explicitly state what those events were until after he figured it out. This added a bit more of a puzzle to the book and drew me in more as I tried to figure out what the events were before their reveal. One other aspect that I really liked was that the Diskos were a constant in the various events Tucker witnessed. These details contributed to the consistency of Tucker's world, which was good because it felt like I understood the world, even if I didn’t always understand what was happening in it. When reading sci-fi and fantasy, good and consistent world building is really important to me.

This book has a really great premise that was executed in a believable way. Compared to other time travels stories I've read, The Obsidian Blade wasn’t overblown. Like, when it turns out that the main character was actually Abraham Lincoln and FDR at the same time or something. Hautman's characters weren't just passive observers in the worlds they entered, but they weren't always influential players in the various events either. There was a good and believable balance.

While reading The Obsidian Blade, I definitely had some serious head-scratching moments, but in a delightfully puzzling way that only left me asking for more, not frustrated by having no answers. As the first in a series, it was a nice introduction to the characters and the world and it makes me want to read the next book. It introduced a lot of things that I feel will be important in the future books, but alone, The Obsidian Blade does have a lot of unanswered questions and I can it being really confusing for some readers. As it stands I think this book was worth the read. It may not be the best book to stand alone so I’m really looking forward to reading the other books in the series.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars
If you like sci-fi/fantasy, and don't mind unanswered questions or seemingly forgotten details, definitely check it out from your local library.

Other Titles in the Series: 
Book 2, The Cydonian Pyramid, is set to release in April 2013.

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