Friday, 2 August 2013

Kid's Korner Review: Tethers by Jack Croxall

Kid's Korner is a new weekly feature here at Once Upon a Series where we will be reviewing children's fiction. Whether you're looking for something to read with your little ones (especially with the school holidays now upon us) or just enjoy this type of fiction yourself, hopefully this feature will help to inspire your reading choices.

In addition, this review is special today as it’s a joint-review, you’ll cotton on as you read! Can I, Amy, just quickly say thank you to Rita for doing this joint-review with me today! It’s been really fun & I loved it! I hope you, readers, do too!

I know ratings don’t always belong first but I’d like to mention that on Goodreads
 Rita gave Tethers a 3/5; I rated it 4* out of the same amount. Did either of us have to round? You shall see! But anyway, this is why its a good 'Kid's Korner' choice... I hope you like this review and if you choose to read any of our Kid's Korner selection, that you will (or any children you might have will) enjoy reading them!

Publisher – Self-published
Publication Date - February 5th 2013
Paperback or Kindle Edition – 228 pages
Genre – Young Adult (Historical/Fantasy)
Source – Rita received this for review, I received it from a free kindle promotion on Amazon.
Rating – (actually both of us gave Tethers) 3.5 out of 5 | My GR rating (now for referring to myself in third person)
Reviewed by – Amy (regular co-blogger, also blogs at Amy Bookworm/ Rita @ Weaving Pages (who agreed to do a joint-review as a one-off!)

Book Info –
In the wake of a cold Victorian winter, Karl Scheffer and Esther Emerson discover an anonymous journal filled with strange passages and bizarre scribblings.
The journal soon draws them into a covert and sinister conspiracy, a conspiracy centred around an otherworldly artefact with the power to change everything …
Karl and Esther have spent almost every day of their thirteen years in the quiet market town of Shraye. Stifled by their rural surroundings and frustrated by their unfulfilled ambitions, they find the allure of the journal’s mysterious pages impossible to ignore. The book seems to be beckoning them away from Shraye, away from their homes and towards the coast where an unsolved disappearance has set in motion a dark chain of events.
The voyage the teenagers soon find themselves undertaking is one of desperate importance and true peril; it will change the way they see the world, and each other, forever.

Our Thoughts - 
Rita: What did you think of accents in Tethers?
Amy: I'm not really sure what it added, I thought it was appropriate most of the time but sometimes I just wanted to forget that, it was obvious 'telling'. I like it when I guess the area, and also the time. I am not a history expert so I'm not sure how accurate it was... But for me, it was mainly an asset but I'd understand if it wasn't to everyone's preference (especially international readers!) What was your opinion?
Rita: Personally, the accents really got on my nerves. I ended up being a grammar freak and started replacing Nowt with nothing and Summat with something (In my head of course) I understand that it helped with making the characters seem authentic, but I felt that I would rather read without the accents!

Amy: Summat annoyed me if I'm honest, it doesn't even seem similar... Then again, I think the only reason 'nowt' does is because it makes more sense than 'owt' for anything. The bottom line is, that added up & I know about it! I'm clearly not from the right place ;) Or maybe it's just the wrong century I'm in! Actually, Tethers was great as it transported you but you didn't really want to be in the Victorian England. In many books it's glamorized, Jack Croxall really didn't do that, he made it clear- and this stuck with me- the struggles people, especially women faced. I felt sorry for Esther as she struggles, even early on, with the sexism of Victorian Society. Why shouldn't she get equality? Do you have any particular feelings on Esther or this topic?
Rita: I agree. Jack Croxall definitely didn't glamorize Victorian England which was a good thing, because Victorian England definitely wasn't glamourous. I found myself liking Esther better than Karl. I HATE any kind of sexism so I loved the fact that Esther took care of herself and it was she who learned to fight. Not Karl. In all honesty, Esther was probably better than Karl in some aspects, so I agree that she should be treated the same as him.
Amy: I'm not sure who I preferred, I think I liked that Karl was obviously boyish in some ways, he'd get himself into scrapes & I've been told many times that scientific minds are associated with males more. Karl was bright, and he was brave too. Esther appreciated his help, sometimes needed it but sometimes didn't. Never was she the damsel in distress. But I disliked Mr Cauldwell with a passion- he pressurized Karl & I definitely have a soft spot for him, but not one that makes me crush on him or anything! I'm definitely not but talking about this, do you think you'll come to like Karl more? Would some romance in the sequel help his crush-ability, and the book itself, or not in your opinion (readers, there wasn't any I believe)?
Rita: Karl was bright, and he did do many things that helped the group. I also agree with the fact that Esther was never the damsel in distress. Well, I don't think she'd even let herself be! Mr Caudwell was a bit....weird shall I say (I liked Harland much better!). I didn't dislike him but he was never openly warm and he was a bit stiff! I did like Karl but he wasn't a character that made a huge impact on me. I may come to like him more, but I don't really think any romance would help. This is because I think any romance at this moment in the series would be kind of comical and cheesy. Since Karl and Esther are only 13 at the moment (In my opinion) I think they are a bit too young and it would make me cringe... What do you think about any romance?

Why didn't you read the Epilogue??? I had to
because CAN'T  not read a part of a book!
Amy: The reason I mentioned romance is because I refused to read the epilogue but often when I think of epilogues I think of quite a bit of time passing... So maybe Tethers' sequel will carry on quite a bit after the last proper chapter (advice to others: stop there to avoid the cliffhanger :L) & they'll be more grown up in which case I think it would be a natural progression. They will definitely become closer together, I predict, but they never will actually interact in the way even 13-year olds, or younger, do often now! You know how I mean... Many start relationships young but I can't imagine any flirting really. They'll either just be content in their company & Karl probably will continue to not be book-boyfriend material in my opinion or there will be a hint of romance which I would be more interested to see in this setting & with these characters than anything else. I don't think it's necessary and it all depends on how it's executed- it could be cheesy but as I don't really know much about Tethers 2 this is really just speculation. Brainstorming, I love it.
Rita: Maybe there will be some time passing between Tethers 1 and 2, and I wouldn't mind if there was some romance then. Still, I honestly can't imagine Karl being on my list of book boyfriends...! The pacing of Tethers got better towards the end. I felt that it took a while to get into the story, so I was a bit Meh. at first but I did come to the conclusion that I liked Tethers. In my opinion it would be around 3.5 stars (What about you?) because I didn't feel that it was anything to amazing, I just like it. I can't put a finger on it but maybe something was missing, did you feel the same way?
Amy: Karl might be too tall for me ;) Nah, I wouldn't say no because of that! I don't think he needs to have that kind of appeal. Readers will like him anyway, and the friendship is still refreshing... If it didn't continue to be I'd be disappointed &would want romance, I'll have to face it, I do like romance :P I wasn't sure how well Tethers would fare in a review if it had one, I've been known to just bang on about cliffhangers & not mention a lot else so I have no regrets. I didn't have particular problems with the beginning but I felt it was mainly OK. At the start I felt more of the atmosphere, even as they were along the canal. The right amount of scenic information was provided & I think everything included then was necessary enough to not be a waste. But a problem I did have with Tethers was the fact at some points too much of the scenery was described & it went over my head. I prefer to feel the atmosphere & that was given earlier on- as soon as they start describing machinery, the exact placement of this cog & that lever... Blah, blah, blah. I just... That's what I didn't like! It wasn't a "Meh" book, I definitely really liked it which should be a 4 star but I'm also leaning closer to 3.5*...
I mentioned pacing because it hadn't felt particularly gripping. At first I want to read it for a buddy read & I was trying to read at a rate faster than is usual for me. But that fell through & I didn't know what to do! Then apparently my Mum had started it (she sometimes reads my kindle books as they transfer to the iPad Kindle app she has, it's sometimes even before I have... or not at all) so I suggested we read a long. I read via kindle & she read via iPad. That's what I think made me read it the most! Then I realized how much I liked sharing this book & my opinions, so I decided to discuss & review it with you!
Rita: Note to Self: Do not let Amy read Cliffhangers. I do like some romance, but it is nice seeing some friendship instead of romance! Like I said, the pacing wasn't the best at the beginning but then I can't say that it became AMAZING...! It also had the right balance of scenery but I agree with the fact that I like to feel the atmosphere rather than go into every single detail!

Summary (provided by Rita):
I did feel that the story wasn't really that gripping, it was more an enjoyable read that I just sort of liked (3.5 stars!) I don't have anything else to add! Its loads of fun doing a joint review! Much easier as well!...This truly does speak for Amy as well. (OK, maybe Amy got a GIF to speak for her really!)

1. Tethers
2. Sequel to follow (Tethers #2)


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