Friday, May 31, 2013

ARC REVIEW: The Wells Bequest by Polly Shulman

The Wells Bequest
by Polly Shulman
 Release Date: June 13th, 2013
This ARC was provided by the publisher at my request.

Leo never imagined that time travel might really be possible, or that the objects in H. G. Wells’ science fiction novels might actually exist. And when a miniature time machine appears in Leo’s bedroom, he has no idea who the tiny, beautiful girl is riding it. But in the few moments before it vanishes, returning to wherever—and whenever—it came from, he recognizes the other tiny rider: himself!

His search for the time machine, the girl, and his fate leads him to the New-York Circulating Material Repository, a magical library that lends out objects instead of books. Hidden away in the Repository basement is the Wells Bequest, a secret collection of powerful objects straight out of classic science fiction novels: robots, rockets, submarines, a shrink ray—and one very famous time machine. And when Leo’s adventure of a lifetime suddenly turns deadly, he must attempt a journey to 1895 to warn real-life scientist Nikola Tesla about a dangerous invention. A race for time is on!

In this grand time-travel adventure full of paradoxes and humor, Polly Shulman gives readers a taste of how fascinating science can be, deftly blending classic science fiction elements with the contemporary fantasy world readers fell in love with in The Grimm Legacy.

Leo: The main character, Leo is pretty level-headed for a teenaged boy. He's sweet and swooning over the girl he likes, and smart to boot. He comes from a family of incredibly intelligent people where he's a bit of an outcast, not because he isn't smart, but because his brain works in different ways. However, when he's visited by his future self, his life becomes a tad bit more interesting as he learns about a library that will change his life. He's a likeable kid, cautious and respectful of things like Time Machines and Death Rays... you can't help but admire those qualities.

Jaya: Headstrong and defiant and the girl that Leo is swooning over, Jaya is a character from The Grimm Legacy, the companion book to The Wells Bequest. At first I was worried I wouldn't like her, since headstrong girls are often obnoxiously portrayed in books... but I found Jaya completely likeable.

Simon: Simon is the villian of the story, but one could more aptly call him "The Teenaged Boy of the story" and be totally accurate in their description. He's actions are ruled totally by hormones, unfortunately, he just so happens to be a bit more connected than your average teenaged boy, so he can cause a bit more trouble.

For me, this book cleared up the issues I had with The Grimm Legacy, I didn't read this one thinking, "Wow, they just solved that HUGE problem really easily..." I felt like a little more time was taken in this one to really craft each encounter that the characters had. This story was cute, the adventures were well paced and I truly enjoyed their historical and present-time interactions.
All around, a lot of fun, and I can't wait for more in this series from Polly Shulman!

After reading this book, I've also decided I need to figure out a new rating rank that is around 4 Squeeds, but instead of saying (but probably wouldn't read again) it needs to say (and will absolutely read this to my children). :)

This is a book I highly recommend to not only friends, but also to the teachers I know. The combination of classic literature along with historical figures will entice any kid to want to learn more about these topics. Much like The Alchemyst series by Michael Scott, this is the kind of book that is going to make kids sit up and take interest in the past.

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