Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Fairest Star: Friends & Enemies Part III by David Field

The Fairest Star: Friends & Enemies Part III by David Field
Geared Towards: YA
Published By: Athena Press
Publication Date: November 2008
ISBN: 978-1-84401-363-8

I was asked to review this book, and at first I was going to send along my thanks but also decline the offer. The book's cover turned me off right away, and as a rule of thumb I usually steer clear from the fantasy genre. Yet, when I read through the synopsis a second and third time, I couldn't help but feel like this Field guy just might have something here. So, I agreed to review the book. I think what really did me in was the fact that I just had to read more about how a kid from the 21st century could take his cell phone back to the 16th century. Try picturing it. It's really quite funny; wouldn't you say?

Actually getting in to the book and following along was another story all together though. I found that not having read the first two books to the Friends & Enemies series really put me at a disadvantage because this wasn't a stand alone book. This, from what I could tell, picked right up from where the second installment left off. I was at a total loss when it came to keeping all the characters and their stories straight. Thank God for the list of characters included at the beginning of the book because I had to switch back and forth to and from those pages constantly. Didn't really make for an incredibly pleasant reading experience, but it helped in a huge way compared to if the list hadn't been included.

I think that if a reader has already taken the time to read the first two books in this series he'll most likely enjoy reading this final part. I found it hard to get in to because I couldn't keep up, as already mentioned earlier. But as far as stories go, it was pretty exciting- full of action, adventure, and appeal. Then there's the bit which initially caught my eye, the technology from today in yesterday's world. Maybe I'm being too hard on it, but while I found the concept intriguing initially, I found it to be a little too far fetched in the end. It was a fun twist, but when push comes to shove I couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that the phones would actually work in the year 1599. Not just work, call back to modern time! Using a GPS from the future to help guide the horse in the past was also a bit bizarre for me. I guess it all depends on how you look at it, and maybe if I were actually of the age this book is marketed to, I'd not think twice about it.

As Tommy (from the 21st century) and Eloise (from the 16th century) try to hunt down the priest, Drogo, to exact revenge for his taking Eloise's mother's life, they must also fight for their own lives and those of their friends. There's also a brewing romance, but it's winsome- not like so many of the relationships portrayed in YA fiction. Even in books geared towards pre-teens and teens, today the focus on sex or sexiness is more often than not actively written if not implied. However, the hero and heroine in this story have a sweet and innocent relationship that shows their affection without overdoing it. It was quite refreshing. It was also nice to see the author keeping their relationship believable in the sense that Eloise, despite her love of the modern day life, was born and bred a girl of the sixteenth century. In that day and age, today's advanced relationship styles would have left the people aghast. So it was believeable to see Tommy and Eloise showing their attraction in a much more delicate light.

All in all, I would recommend this book. I would do so though while making note that the reader should be sure to start out with book one. This is a series with too much going on to simply skip straight to book three.

OUR RATING: 4 hearts

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