Monday, June 3, 2013

Peregrine Harker and the Black Death


Peregrine Harker and the Black Death by Luke Hollands
3/5 stars
Sparkling Books Ltd, 2013
149 pages
MG Historical Adventure

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

I'm not entirely sure what attracted me to this book but I thought it sounded like an exciting adventure story and that sure was the case! This book isn't very heavy on characterization or world building but every chapter ends with suspense, propelling you forward to the next one, much like the penny dreadfuls that are the preferred reading material of the titular character.

Peregrine Harker is a Victorian London orphan whose head is easily turned by the fearsome mysterious dangerous adventures of fiction, something that hinders his ability to truthfully report at the newspaper. His last chance is to investigate the disappearance of tea on its journey from India to England. Although the assignment seems straightforward, it is actually a tangle of conspiracies that may send Peregrine to his death.

As I said, this book is very heavy on plot and adventure, which will appeal to some readers but was not what I wanted. Although the title "Black Death" may imply the plague to some of you, it actually has a different meaning, which is promptly revealed. I wish it had had more to do with that as I find the time period absolutely fascinating but the Victorian era has its moments too especially when exploring new kinds of technology.

My big wish for this book would be for the characters to have some more depth. Instead it was all very surface level as Peregrine frantically moved from place to place, trying to track down the evildoers. He meets a host of people, some good, some with evil intentions but they are also very shallowly drawn.

Overall: I think this will be a fun read for some younger readers but I don't see it having much appeal to older readers.

18 comments:

  1. Heavy on plot and adventure can be a good thing.

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    1. There have been books where I wanted more adventure but in this case, I wanted more of the characters.

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  2. I like it when books end chapters in such a way that you cannot help but to keep reading! That's a shame that there wasn't more depth, though.

    Nice honest review :)

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    1. I could barely put this down-it was that enthralling!

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  3. I'm not sure if this is something I would read, but I know my son likes stories that are more adventure and would probably get a kick out of it. I will keep an eye out for this one for him. Great review.

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    1. Would love to know your son's thoughts if he does give it a try-I think it is more stereotypically a "boy" book.

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  4. Yeah, it sounds like a younger read, I see it's an MG book. I don't know if I've ever asked my son if he cares about character development, but it shouldn't be overlooked just because it's an MG book. Still, some MG readers' attention is kept better with lots of action as opposed to world building and character development. We can wish for it all, right? Sorry it wasn't better.

    Heather

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    1. I know that a lot of readers love action the most-I just thought this book could have been more appealing to me if the characters had had more depth.

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    1. Peregrine is 13 and the writing tone/style seemed very MG to me so that is how I classified it.

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  6. I prefer a bit more character development in my books, but I can see how a lot of younger readers are able to read this kind of story more easily, it hold their interest more. This is a time period I love to read about the story sounds really good!

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    1. I think this would be better for younger readers as its intended audience-I've just read so many other stories that this one doesn't add anything new for me.

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  7. Any book that says "Victorian London" draws me in, but I agree that character development is also key!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

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    1. I love that time period too-reading that always makes me take a second look!

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  8. I'm not a historical read but I do love the Victorian era. Love a great plot but great characters are also important.

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    1. I would advise you to skip this one-there are loads of others with this setting but also more developed.

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  9. I love Victorian London, but "will appeal mostly to younger readers" comment probably means I'm okay with skipping it. Thanks for your review!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. Yeah, I think you're making the right decision here-there are other books with the same kind of setting but better.

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