(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review).
(This review may contain spoilers).
I did think the idea of this book was a really neat one, but it was another book I felt would have benefited from being expanded on.
While the book was quick and easy to read, I felt it only touched on the surface of the world. I liked Wen as a character, but I would have liked some more detail about his relationships with his family members. It would have been good to see a bit more in the way of foreshadowing, as I felt most of the information only cropped up right when it became relevant to the plot.
I liked the idea of the books in the library and it was also good to see that Wen started out as being skeptical. I did feel there were things that didn’t really pan out, though, and I would have liked to see a bit more in the way of conflict when Wen went back in time.
I didn’t feel it made a lot of sense that Wen’s grandfather passed on the task to him, as there wasn’t much explanation given to Wen and I had the feeling that he was being given the bare minimum he needed to carry on the work. I would have liked to see his grandfather taking on a more mentor role.
There were some hints of potential conflicts, but I felt those weren’t carried through the course of the book. And the chapters were quite short; which wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, but there were very few natural breaks where the chapters ended.
I liked the fact that Wen had a four-legged partner, but I was a bit disappointed not to get much in the way of answers about everything. There were a few clever scenes in the book… and it was particularly good to see the use of such an iconic piece of art history.
I don’t think this is a book that would hold a lot of interest for my nine-year-old niece, but I think it’s a good read for younger children. There wasn’t a lot in the way of conflict or tension and I think it definitely would have been better expanded. I would read the next book/s in this series, but I would like to see more development.