Sliding Beneath the Surface [The St. Augustine Trilogy: Book I] (英語) ペーパーバック – 2011/9/2
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Just as Jeff Golden is about to start classes at St. Augustine High, he finds himself up to his eyeballs in paranormal experiences that are rooted in one of Florida's most important historical events. Scared out of his wits, he relies on his friend, Carla Rodriguez, and Lobo, an old Native American shaman, for help. Despite this guidance, things get even worse, making Jeff realize he is in danger of losing his sanity and even his life. Finally, forces he doesn't fully understand push him to leap headlong into the unknown in order to save himself. In doing so, though, Jeff risks something even more valuable to him than his own existence.
Premise: Jeff Golden and his friend, Carla, turn to Lobo to get help for Jeff's headaches. They find themselves caught in a world where the past comes to life in unique ways.
The narrator has a really awful habit of saying things like "Don't ask me why" - a lot. A few times is understandable but hardly a chapter goes by without him thinking something to that effect. I wanted to reach in and say, "Nobody asked you anything, fool, move this narrative along." If having the narrator talk to you doesn't bother you, then you'll probably just fine with the book. I like teenagers but I don't want to be trapped in the head of one, which is essentially what the author strives to do. (It's done reasonably well, but as a narrator, Mr. Jeffaddresses the reader WAY too much. Did I mention he talks to you? Yeah, see how annoying that can be?) If it were done only in the beginning as a sign that the narrator's finding himself, fine but this happens 97% of the book - and the last 3% are author notes.)
Pacing was painful and slow - I'm not a history buff and while some descriptions of items such as coins were neat and obviously well done, getting there was arduous. I was reading on a kindle and it literally took 30 ish% of the book before Jeff and Carla even got into their quest conversation with Lobo. It took until about 70% before Jeff stops "fighting the problem" which lead to a lot of early conversations that traveled this basic path: Lobo - you should... Jeff - Why? Carla - listen to Lobo. Jeff - Why?
A few places in both dialogue and description I felt the narrator slip away and sound like a middle age guy.
The Good/ pts I'm neutral on
It's a unique and awesome way to describe history. I'd acutally never heard of St. Augustine before hearing of the book, but it seems like the perfect setting for such a book.
The descriptions are very thorough. While that made the climax and battle scene awesome it slowed down everything else.
Dialogue is for the most part pretty authentic.
I'm not overly fond of time travel books because I think few ever explain it well. This one doesn't bother trying to explain the whys and wherefores of time travel which is fitting and a good choice on the author's part.
It ends well. From about 80-94% on the kindle (battle) the book was exciting and quick moving, exactly what you want from a book. Ending a book well is a key point in one's overall impression because it's the last word.
Would I read a sequel? Probably. That's where a good ending comes in handy. It leaves one feeling like there's hope for sequels. There was a tremendous amount of setup, some necessary and some not, but hopefully, book 2 will skip all that and get to the good stuff quicker.
Would I buy a boxed set if it was ever available? No.
Would I recommend it to kids who like history? Yes.
Would I recommend it to people who like only historical fiction? Maybe. They might find the paranormal bits too annoying.
Would I recommend it to people who like only paranormal? Probably not, you've got to have some part of you that appreciates history. Those heavy handed historical descriptions would likely bore you.
Is it kid-safe? To a degree. There are some curse words, but probably no more than they've heard in their first grade class.
Conclusion: If the things that annoy me don't bother you and you do like history and paranormal stories, this might be a totally awesome read for you. To me, it was okay. I enjoyed the battle at the end. It's a series that starts slow but shows some real promise in the end.
The main character Jeff is hilarious even when he is freaking out. If I wasn't laughing I was saying OMG that can't be happening, then laughing again at something else that was said or done soon after. Carla, his friend, helps him get to the root of his problems when Jeff starts to have painful constant headaches and dreams that wont go away. She brings him to her friend Lobo (an old Native American Shaman)who seems mean and rude, but leads Jeff down a path that will uncover the puzzle behind his troubles.
The story is written in Jeff's POV and the story is well written from beginning to end. I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series to see what adventure Jeff and Carla embark on next.
Overall, I really enjoyed the story. I was fairly confused at first, but everything eventually locked into place. The story telling seemed as delicate as the carved balls in the story, and at times I felt like I was missing a piece, but then it all slid into place.
There were a few annoying things that kept me from giving it a 5 star. One of which is using OK so much. Its just a pet peeve, as I prefer okay. Another was near the end with the studdering from cold. I've never seen it done like "cccold" instead of "c-c-cold",and at first I didn't realize it was from shivering and I thought the editor went on lunch and missed a lot of typos. There were a few other small things, but not nearly as distracting as the two examples given. This book also didn't seem like a YA book. To me that fine, as I've technically aged past that group, but he characters seemed much older than their given age, which did throw me off at first.
Overall, I did enjoy this book, and would suggest it for anyone that would like a paranormal twist to a historic storyline.
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