Time Trap by Richard Smith
|Time Trap by Richard Smith|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Very enjoyable time slip adventure which gives a vivid picture of the hazards of life in Victorian London. Supported by an interactive website, this is a great read. Richard Smith popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 332||Date: November 2012|
|External links: Author's website|
Who was Hector Lightfoot? And why did this 19th century soldier and engineer disappear in such mysterious circumstances? And who are the two ghosts inhabiting his house in 21st century London?
Jamie and Todd are thrown into the mystery when they spend a weekend in London with Jamie's Uncle Simon who lives in the house that once belonged to Hector Lightfoot. Simon takes the two boys to see Hector's recently-discovered underground lab at the British Museum. When the building is struck by lightning, the two boys are sent back in time to the year 1862. They know that their only chance of returning home is to find Hector. But where is he? And can they avoid being sucked into a life of crime while they search for him?
I thought Time Trap was an absolutely riproaring adventure, full of fun and danger. The plot rushes along and poor Jamie and Todd barely get their breath back from one crisis before they are plunged headlong into another. They are robbed, beaten up, chased and scammed, but they manage to get past everything that is thrown at them, so desperate are they to get home. I really enjoyed the relationship between these two boys - they are not best friends forever or anything like that. They argue and bicker and neither is above dropping the other into the proverbial. This is because Todd belongs to a gang in their own time that won't let Jamie in. And Todd doesn't do anything about Jamie getting bullied by some members of this gang. In fact, Todd was only on the trip to London in the first place as a kind of bribe - Jamie was hoping that Todd would persuade the others to let him into the gang. It's cool to see this conflict playing out and resolving because the two boys are put into a position where they only have each other.
Victorian London is beautifully evoked. It rises from the pages in all its danger, smoke and disease, but also in its energy and sense of progress. There is a great deal of detail, all accurately researched and readers will learn a lot about this period, from gin palaces, pickpockets and cholera to the invention of electricity and scrummy lamb chop dinners. Every street and every building mentioned is real and Smith has created a website where readers can follow the story through all the locations in which it is set through a kind of virtual reality tour. It's great! And if they follow this Time Trap Trail, they can send off for a personalised Time Trap Adventurer's Certificate. How cool is that? And of course, you could use the map to find the locations in real life on a trip to London.
Given the interactive website, I do think it is a shame that Time Trap isn't available on Kindle or as an app for the various platforms. It's the ideal candidate - readers could have both book and map to the fore on their various devices as they complete the suggested time trails. I think it says something for Time Trap that this is the only criticism I want to make.
Recommended as an enjoyable time slip adventure for pre-teens and tweens.
Those who enjoy time travel adventures will love The Obsidian Mirror by Catherine Fisher.
You can read more book reviews or buy Time Trap by Richard Smith at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Time Trap by Richard Smith at Amazon.com.
Richard Smith was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
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