Review: The Obsidian Blade by Pete Hautman

Sunday, May 12, 2013

In line with the release of The Cydonian Pyramid, the sequel to The Obsidian Blade, here's my review of the first book in The Klaatu Diskos trilogy by Pete Hautman! Have you read The Obsidian Blade already? If yes, keep your eyes peeled out for my review of The Cydonian Pyramid come release day this May 14!

The Obsidian Blade (The Klaatu Diskos, #1)
Title: The Obsidian Blade (The Klaatu Diskos #1)
Author: Pete Hautman
Publisher: Candlewick
Date of Publication: April 10, 2012

Kicking off a riveting sci-fi trilogy, National Book Award winner Pete Hautman plunges us into a world where time is a tool — and the question is, who will control it?

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.

Purchase from Amazon | The Book Depository


My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

First and foremost, thank you to Erika of Candlewick Press for being so generous and providing me with a review copy for the 2013 YA and MG Time Travel Reading Challenge. Thank you for feeding the time travel junkie in me! With that, I assure you that my opinions are still completely honest, regardless of the copy being provided for review.

As a fan of the time travel genre, I expected to completely fall in love with this book. However and unfortunately, I did not. I did like it, yes, and I am intrigued by everything and how the diskos work and WHAT FREAKIN' HAPPENED but it didn't wow me. I had some issues with the book, which I'll discuss in a bit.

I couldn't pinpoint it at first but I felt like there was something off with the narration. Something that made me not invested in the novel. It's set in the 21st century but it didn't feel modern. I felt like I was reading something ancient. But then computers are already in existence. Then a few chapters in, I realized what it was. It's in a rural setting. That made life feel a bit slow, where nothing happened. Moreover, the main character, Tucker Feye, started as thirteen years old in the novel. So it felt like a bit of middle grade (MG) at the start. Which is fine by me as I read MG but I'm informing you guys. After my epiphany, I got used to the storytelling style and had no qualms whatsoever.

The mystery of the time traveling mechanism was intriguing and I was so curious as to how everything works. Pete Hautman successfully built up the ante and I just want to know what's happening as we're kept in the dark for so long. The opening of each chapter was SO COOL too. We were shown glimpses of the far future, of technology beyond our imaginations, and it was so interesting.

As for the characters, I love Tucker, Lah Lia and Kosh. Definitely Kosh. Tucker loves his parents so much that he stumbles to the future for them. Lah Lia's a treasure trove of information we haven't dug into yet and I can't wait for the next book to unravel everything she knows. Kosh, Tucker's uncle, was all tough exterior but definitely a softie inside. The way he cares for Tucker when his parents left, it was so sweet and paternal. I also love how Kosh is not as bad as everyone thinks he is. He was a delinquent in his teenage days, yes, but he's a responsible adult now. Kosh was missing for the most part of the novel and I miss him! I definitely want to see more of him in the next novels.

So the issues. What are my issues with the book? I don't know if Pete Hautman intended this since it's for children and teens but I felt that the book was sort of preachy. So yes, I'm not exactly a religious person but Tucker spent a time in the time of Jesus during his crucifixion. Granted, Tucker's dad was a preacher and they talk about God a lot, I think some readers might not appreciate this aspect much. However, Hautman did a nice twist to this portion of the novel which kind of makes me ask if he's actually religious or agnostic or whatever. So not only does The Obsidian Blade sound preachy because of this but there were some ideas in which the book was grounded in that might not ring good with others.

Lastly, I know this is the first book of a trilogy but damn if that ending felt ominous. It wasn't much of a cliffhanger but I honestly thought there will be more of a resolution. But hey, isn't that good? The adventure continues in the next book! I do admit that I got confused by everything that's happening near the end of the novel. There were just too many time traveling going on and too much information. I had to back up every now and then or just accept everything in strides as I was reading. It might be just me though. Me and my tired, sloppy brain.

Anyway, I think that about covers it about my thoughts on The Obsidian Blade. I do want to read The Cydonian Pyramid, especially that it's told in Lah Lia's point of view, but I'm not entirely excited as well. While I am intrigued, I guess I have been so spoiled by my contemporary reads that I'm sure it's gonna take some time for me to adjust once again to the passive storytelling format. I recommend The Obsidian Blade to time-travel junkies like me and to readers who love MG-YA cross-overs. Check out my review of The Cydonian Pyramid in two days!

About Pete Hautman

Pete Hautman is the author of Godless, which won the National Book Award, and many other critically acclaimed books for teens and adults, including Blank Confession, All-In, Rash, No Limit, and Invisible. Mr. Was was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America. Pete lives in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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