03 May 2011

Tween Tuesday: The Blackhope Enigma

"Tween Tuesday" is a weekly meme hosted over at GreenBeanTeenQueen.  If you're looking for a good middle grade book or have a review to share, be sure to check it out!

This week I wanted to share Blackhope Enigma as my "tween" pick.  I'm not sure that this is "supposed" to be a tween book, but the characters are 14 years old and the storyline is quick-paced with adventure and mystery all mixed into a cute story.  The book definitely lacks the sexual overtones, violence, and crude language of many YA books, which (for me) made it appropriate for MG readers.  I wouldn't hesitate to offer this book to a reader 10+.

Blackhope Enigma by Teresa Flavin
(c) August 2011 by Candlewick Press
(UK release 2010)

Goodreads description:

When Sunni Forrest’s stepbrother accidentally transports himself into a Renaissance painting, she and her friend Blaise set out to bring him back. They find themselves in a strange world of labyrinths, monsters and pirates.

Can they evade their greedy pursuers? And will they ever find their way home?


Thoughts, Musings, Ramblings...

The Blackhope Enigma is a fun mystery that all starts when Sunni’s stepbrother, Dean, accidentally transports himself into one of Fausto Corvo’s magical paintings. Sunni, determined to get him back, follows the labyrinth path and joins him in the picture, leaving Blaise standing alone and shortly thereafter being shuffled out of the room by a guard.  Determined to get Sunni and Dean out, Blaise finds a way into the picture with them, despite the media and police crowds searching for two lost kids.

In a fast-paced story, Dean, Sunni, and Blaise have to work their way through a maze (literally and figuratively) to escape from the paintings within the painting and make their way back home.  Of course, it’s easier said than done most of the time.  The three encounter a fun cast of good guys, bad guys, and everything in between as they battle deadly creatures, sail on the high seas, and trek through a deserted island—all in the hopes of finding a way back to their own world.

The book has its share of predictable and slightly cheesy situations, but they don’t interrupt the flow of the story or detract from its overall telling.Teresa Flavin has crafted a fun story that many readers will enjoy.It’s full of fast-paced adventure and mystery with just a splash of magic and history.Readers will be drawn in by her descriptions of this magical world (or worlds) within the painting.

The premise of this book really struck me as original. I don’t think it can even really be compared to any books I’ve read lately and I struggle to draw a comparison between this book and many others. It’s not quite time travel yet it doesn’t really have a real fantasy feel to it.For me, that just shows how well the story is woven together to seamlessly incorporate elements of contemporary, fantasy, and historical stories. I also really loved the descriptions that Teresa provided as they moved between worlds within the paintings, describing the white paint that covered the magic world that existed under the exterior painting.

There were a few points at the beginning where I felt like things were almost going too fast for my liking.We meet our characters and next thing you know they’re in the painting! I wouldn’t have even thought to look for Dean in the painting and it was surprising (and maybe a tad unrealistic) how quickly Sunni figured it out.Once the actual adventures began inside the painting, I definitely found myself settling into and enjoying the story, but the beginning just seemed a tad rushed to me.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this. It was a fast-paced readI think I would recommend it to “tweens” (or young teens) as a good read.  I think it would appeal to a wide variety of readers since it incorporates elements of many different types of stories.

(Oh, and as an added bonus, you can actually download teaching resources for this book! How cool is that?! Maybe that’s just the former teacher in me...)

*Disclaimer: I received this eGalley from the publisher via NetGalley for my honest review. The source of this book in no way affects my opinions thereof.

7 comments:

Karen said...

Sounds like something I would love! I love stories where characters are transported to other places. Thanks for reviewing!

melissa @ 1lbr said...

Huh, I've never heard of this book before. I'll have to see if I can get my hands on it sometime. Sounds a little bit like The Shadows by Jacqueline West (at least the painting part, though it's not time travel).

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

I haven't heard of this before either. I like the idea of being transported into a painting-I always wished that would happen to me when I was a tween!:)

Karen said...

Sounds like something I would love! I love stories where characters are transported to other places. Thanks for reviewing!

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

I haven't heard of this before either. I like the idea of being transported into a painting-I always wished that would happen to me when I was a tween!:)

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