Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Explosionist

Author: Jenny Davidson
Pages: 448
Published: HarperTeen, 2008
Genre: Historical fiction/Mystery
Cover Score: A
Overall Grade: B

15-year-old Sophie lives in a dangerous time on the brink of war; full of terrorism, dark secrets, politics, and betrayal. A bomb that goes off near Sophie's school sets off a chain of mysteries, including a dark prophecy made by a psychic medium that is murdered shortly after. Does the medium know anything about the bombings? Is Sophie's handsome chemistry teacher (who is very knowledgable about dynamite) involved? Sophie and her friend Mikael need to get to the bottom of the mysteries, in order to save themselves--as well as the rest of Europe.
My thoughts: The Explosionist is a heavy book. Not only is it a long book, but it is also dense. Ms. Davidson has packed tons of information in here, which creates a complicated plot that can be confusing to the reader from time to time.
However, The Explosionist was extremely well-written. Ms. Davidson clearly put in a lot of research to perfect the historical details of her book, and it paid off. As I flipped through the pages, I felt like I was submerged in Sophie's 1930's-Scotland. Every action and character came to life in my head.
I loved how Ms. Davidson created an alternate-universe Scotland brimming with complex politics, the possibility of war, betrayal, technology, and psychic happenings.
I just felt like there was too much going on: the bomb going off over near Sophie's school, the romance aspect, the murder of the psychic, Sophie's connection with the spirit world, the possibility of war, a school that brainwashes girls...I felt like a lot of this material went uncovered in the end, adding to my unclear confusion. After the long lead-up and the murder and explosions, the mystery aspect of the book kind of faded away.
Nonetheless, I look forward reading the sequel in hopes of clarification and more heart-pounding adventure.


La Coccinelle said...

I found this book confusing, too, and I absolutely hated it. It was more like an information dump than a story, and the fact that the mystery sort of petered out (when there were still a whole bunch of pages left) didn't impress me at all. While I did enjoy the alternative-timeline aspect of the book, I wasn't impressed by the unrealistic characters or the writing itself.

I did love the cover, though. Too bad the girl looks nothing like Sophie!

daydreamerN said...

I have hear good things of this book. I liked your review. I feel you said a lot about the book. I do think that I will read it .