I’ve had quite a bit of time to read this weekend and I had the fortune of choosing somewhat short books to dive back into the joy of reading. So, without further adieu, here is another review for you.
Title: The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis
Author: Sharon Ledwith
Young adult urban fantasy (or in this case time travel) is one of my favorite genres to read and I wasn’t disappointed with the first book in Sharon’s (supposedly) super long series. The Last Timekeepers was published by the YA imprint of my publisher so we’ve chatted a bit and she has a rather ambitious plan for the series (5 books for each of the 5 main characters). Twenty books is a lot of work but I’d stick around for it. She’s made history accessible and I would definitely recommend this for young readers in upper middle school and high school.
The Last Timekeepers introduces us to Amanda, Ravi, Jordan, Drake and Treena, Jordan’s Uncle John and their mysterious teacher Melody who become the Last Timekeepers. A food fight at school draws the gang of unlikely teammates together and as punishment they must help Melody clean up the backyard of the newly inherited house in town. Early on, they discover the 7th Arch of Atlantis, a time portal which snaps them up and whisks them away on the first of many journeys. They’re sent back to stop evil from changing history and their first mission takes them to the early 13th century to save none other than Robin Hood. The narrative for the first book is from Amanda’s point of view which is interesting since she is deemed the Scribe and is in charge of interpreting where they’ve gone and what they need to do to keep the timeline intact. Amanda is a pretty quick thinker which helps get her and her newfound friends out of some pretty tight spots. I enjoyed the fact that Sharon wasn’t afraid to get a little dark with the story line. The new Sheriff of Nottingham (their time traveling nemesis) isn’t afraid to bring teenage kids to make his point. Luckily, Amanda swoops in to save the day.
Overall, it was a really fun read and kept a good pace. I would have liked to see the gang find the arch and learn about their destinies as the Last Timekeepers a wee bit sooner but I know with any first novel, especially one in a series with fantasy elements, there has to be some build up for world building. I was a little uncomfortable with the kids calling their teacher by her first name but that was probably just me.. All of the characters had distinct personalities and character quirks that I’m excited to see explored in more depth.
I liked how Sharon used pieces of the Robin Hood legend to build the characters in the past and how throughout by the team spreading the heroics and good deeds of the myth they knew actually evolved into the names of legend known today and reported throughout history. She did her research well. I’m also a big fan of Robin Hood (I loved the BBC series) and was very happy to see characters I’d become acquainted with in the series show up in the book. The only real complaint I had was at times I felt the “ye olde” dialogue took me out of the story. For me, it stilted the flow of the reading experience. I understand why she did it (to keep the time period accurate) but I think she could have eased up on it just a tad.
Despite the few tiny quibbles, I thought it was an extremely strong first foray into her world. I eagerly await the prequel and book 2 to see where Amanda and company end up next.