Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Obsidian Blade

The Obsidian Blade by Pete Hautman
3/5 stars
Candlewick Press, 2012
308 pages
YA; Science-Fiction/Fantasy

Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

When I started reading this, I only got through the first two pages before having to put it down and wondering if I had made a mistake in requesting this. The language, featuring many made-up words, was not working for me AT ALL and I was very confused.  However I don't think two pages is a very accurate representation of the book as a whole so I kept going.

Still it did warn me because I ended up being very very confused. The beginning was okay, planted in a contemporary setting with teen Tucker who lives with his reverend father and stay at home mother. Then one bizarre day, his dad disappears, returning a few hours later a changed man with a strange girl. Over the next few months, Tucker sees his father and mother radically change before leaving him in the care of his uncle. Then the book gets really bizarre as Tucker begins to slip through time, going both very far into the past as well as the future. I can in no way sum it up because I am not really sure I understand what happened myself. I did feel like the book ended on a cliffhanger, which is appropriate as this is the start of a trilogy.

While the first section of the book is just a contemporary, I found it the most engaging as I am familiar with the language and descriptors for that world. As we journey through the book, we meet so many other people and places that I was just overwhelmed.  Furthermore, sometimes we only spent a little bit of time in each location, meaning that just as I was getting my bearings, we moved somewhere else. It might have helped to take some notes or draw a timeline but well I don't want to work that much while I'm doing my fun reading. If you do choose to read this, don't be shy about giving that technique a try!

Overall: Probably better suited for someone who enjoys science-fiction more and has the patience to wade through the many changing settings.

Cover: I have seen this classified as science-fiction but I feel like the cover is more fitting for a fantasy, which I feel this book definitely features.


  1. Hm. I don't read much sci-fi, so I feel like I might be easily confused by the terminology and the constant switching of locations as well. I've read a couple books where I felt compelled to jot down a timeline to keep things straight, and that always makes for a challenging read. Thanks for the review!

  2. Time travel books I adore. But if not handled well they can get really confusing and irritating. I have had my share of such stories :)Your review helped me in prioritizing this book .

  3. I get confused easily whenever I read books with their own made-up words too! I remember reading Across the Universe (another sci-fi book, actually!) and being confused whenever they said "frex" only to realize later on that it was a swear word haha x) Sci-fi isn't usually my genre, but I LOVE reading about time travel so I'm actually still a little bit intrigued! :)

    Awesome honest review, B! And thanks so much for the jotting notes idea too -- if I ever do decide to read this, I'll definitely try that idea out! :) <3

  4. I'm going to be reading this soon--thanks for the informative review. I think with stuff like this it's better to be prepared going into the book than to be surprised by it.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden


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