The Queen at War (Chronicles of the Tempus) by K A S Quinn
|The Queen at War (Chronicles of the Tempus) by K A S Quinn|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: This is the second part of the Chronicles of the Tempus and once again it's an exciting time travelling adventure. Darker than the first novel this is a good story but perhaps too disturbing for some younger confident readers.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: February 2013|
Katie Berger-Jones-Burg is puzzled. Living with her former pop-star mother in a New York apartment she is having strange visions. It seems she has forgotten all about her previous time travelling adventures (in The Queen Must Die) although someone appears to be trying to send her some clues to prompt her memory. Her friends from Victorian England, Princess Alice and James, are facing difficulties of their own, with a very sick friend and also the threat of war. They need Katie's help, but how can they get her to travel back in time to them?
There are some series of books that you can begin at any point without too much trouble. This is not one of those books! You need to have read the first book in order to understand what's going on here. The book dives straight in, without any explanations of previous events, so new readers would be left floundering, wondering what on earth is going on! For those of us familiar with Katie and her friends we, instead, are wondering why Katie seems to have forgotten everything about her previous adventure, and will she ever remember and be able to get back in order to help her friends?
James' sister, Grace, is very sick with TB, and it is for her benefit that he and Princess Alice decide to go to Bernardo DuQuelle to ask for his help in getting Katie back into their time. DuQuelle agrees, although it seems his intentions have less to do with helping Grace and more because of an agenda of his own. Once Katie is back the friends must invent an elaborate ruse to allow for Katie's presence in the palace (for Princess Alice, if you remember, is Queen Victoria's daughter), and the usual issues with Katie not quite fitting in provide some humour for the story. There are, however, quite a lot of dark and disturbing moments through the book. I think it's worth mentioning because with the first book I would have suggested younger confident readers around 9 or so could read it quite happily, but this time I'd be tempted to suggest it's more suitable for older children, perhaps 12 and over, unless your child isn't easily disturbed. There's a gruesome murder scene, and then with a lot of the action taking place on the battlefield in Russia there's a lot of disturbing imagery there too. I found the story to be quite dark and unsettling at times.
The friendships between Katie and Alice and James are well portrayed again, and there's a new friendship for Katie that develops through the story and leaves an interesting thread hanging ready for the third book. We are also introduced to two characters, Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole who are, obviously, both real historical figures. I liked the way they have been imagined in this story and history buffs might enjoy going away afterwards to look up more information about them. They seem to be more involved in Katie's relevance to the situation than Katie first thinks, but their roles aren't, in this book, fully explained, so perhaps they'll be back in book three.
The science fiction element to the story was sadly, once again, not the strongest part of the plot for me. I really enjoy all of the historical aspects (surprisingly, since I was a dunce at history at school!) but I find the sci-fi side doesn't quite hang right as yet. I don't know if it's that as readers we don't yet have enough information as to what's properly going on, and perhaps this is on purpose for some grand reveal in the third book, but I felt all the way through that I was missing a chunk of vital information. I don't completely understand the warring factions who are not of our world, and quite what they are doing with Katie or why. Hopefully all will be made clear in the third book, (and I shall be very upset if it isn't!) but for now it's one of those rather frustrating time travel conundrums that you just have to accept!
Although I was hoping for more explanation it was still a great adventure story with lots of great historical details, some funny moments, and good, strong characters. If you haven't begun the series yet go and grab yourself the first one quickly, then give this one a try too.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Queen at War (Chronicles of the Tempus) by K A S Quinn at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Queen at War (Chronicles of the Tempus) by K A S Quinn at Amazon.com.
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