The Time Quake, the final book in the Gideon Trilogy- By Linda Buckley-Archer
I won't lie, I picked up The Time Travelers, part one in the Gideon trilogy, mainly because it had awesome cover art. James Jean is such a deadly awesome artist, and I was so excited that he'd illustrated a middle school book, I just had to read it.
As a first book, The Time Travelers was a bit cumbersome. The story was a lot of fun and I was digging the characters, but I found her style was a bit stilted. It was almost as if she was attributing a 7 year olds' way of reading to her 9-13 year old age category. Lets face it, Harry Potter wasn't talking down to kids and they ate it up like candy, so why should anyone else have to?
The second book, The Time Thief, was a huge improvement. She seemed to have found her stride and the book was sounding a lot less like a young children's book and a lot more like a confident middle school book. The time travel aspect was getting just the tiniest bit complicated but I liked where she was going and enjoyed the time flip from the first book.
The Time Quake, the third and final part of the series was definitely her piece de resistance. All the complicated ins and outs of the time travel were set up, so although it remained complicated, it was by no means confusing, the characters were finally and fully fleshed out in a revealing and interesting way, and the adventure was fast paced and page turning. Full confidence was given to her audience, and not only did she not dumb it down but covered almost adult level historical material, in such a way that many kids will thank her for.
Although not one of my all time top ten middle school series, I look forward to Linda Buckley-Archer's next book or series. She's definitely an author to look out for.
Published by Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing, October 2009
P.S- I have to point out that Entertainment weekly's review tag line for these books "for kids who love Harry Potter" is a bit of a stretch. It's not in anyway similar either in it's subject matter or the way the story is told. Obviously a kid who read Harry Potter (i.e 90% of children) could love this book, but I wouldn't say it's a given. And it certainly wouldn't be my number one suggestion to a parent who was looking for their kids next great read based on the fact they loved Harry Potter. So be warned!