Okay, so five books over 500 pages will end up being a conservative goal, as is my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 55 books. Confessions of a binge reader.
My fourth book over 500 pages this year was a Christmas gift from my mother, and incidentally, also a self published book. Its purpose for being reviewed on here is three pronged: 0ver 500 pages, it counts for my reading challenges (book recommended by a family member or a middle grade novel) and it is self published.
The Time Seekers, by D.A. Squires
A twelve year old girl, Alexandra, lives with her grandmother and service staff (who are naturally like family to her) in an old mansion in Maine, steeped in old money. She goes to a miserable school until her long lost family starts to show up in her life, from which proceeds a series of whimsical and magical events that pulls her family back together.
This story is female childhood wish fulfillment. A cool old house, a quaint village, an exotic pet that is practically human, finding and pulling together long lost family, and magic. So much magic. Even the places frequented in the old house would be where I would go: the conservatory and the library. Even has a dumbwaiter, which I had dreamed of having ever since I read Harriet the Spy at about that age. If I was reading this at the intended ages of grades 4-8 I would have wanted to crawl between the pages and live there for all eternity.
As an adult, it was a little less fun. Apparently my wish fulfillment patterns have changed as I have ambled into my mid-thirties and have developed an aversion to real pants and an un-caffeinated day. This novel lacked tension in parts and focused instead on the details of this very appealing childhood, like the pretty outfits worn and the quaint little shops. When it did have tension it was amped up in shorter bursts, which is probably ideal for a child audience. I know that I can’t take tension that has been too dragged out and my tolerance was less as a kid. I was struggling to stay engaged about halfway through but I did make it. But I guess I care more about other stakes than the ones that were at play here.
The ending and epilogue were jam packed with more enthralling and exciting events for a child. Just when you thought it was all great, most characters had something even more awesome happen to them in the epilogue. Kids like that kind of closure. And awesomeness.
I also thought that the decorative tigers in the book could have had more play than they did. I was waiting on all the animals to give me a surprising twist.
My assessment: perfect for a child, maybe a good bonding snuggle parent child read together, perfect for a kid to tackle their first epic sized novel. Not as appealing to me as a stand alone book as an adult. I might share this as a read along with my son when he is older and does not pick through the bookcase at night for Pete the Cat, Harry the Dirty Dog, Trucks, Piggies, Harold and the Purple Crayon, and a four pack of Mater books on colors, shapes, numbers, and opposites. I hope he likes magic like I do, but he is a lot like his father and he really wants to be involved in trips to Lowes and the dump. Just last week he was worried that his dimples meant his face had holes. I have some time to see who he will be.
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