Monday, February 7, 2011

Review: Tomorrow's Guardian by Richard Denning

Title: Tomorrow's Guardian
Author: Richard Denning
Genre: Juvi, Sci-fi, Action, Adventure
Perfect for: reluctant readers who love time travel tales mixed with a bit of history
Star Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Taken from Goodreads"When schoolboy Tom Oakley discovers he can transport himself through time, he draws the attention of evil men who seek to bend history to their will. 'Tomorrow's Guardian' is the 1st book of the Hourglass Institute Series. It is a Young Adult Science Fiction adventure."

I have a soft spot for time travel stories. There's just something about them that I've always enjoyed, whether it be traveling through flumes with Bobby Pendragon or traveling through time and space in a TARDIS, I've just always liked them. That being said, I enjoyed reading 'Tomorrow's Guardian' by Richard Denning. It has a good mix of adventure, history, and comradery and should catch the eye of the pickiest readers-- young, pre-teen boys-- while still being a fun read for other sci-fi buffs.

If you're a stickler about writing styles, then I have to warn you. While Denning is a fine writer, it gets a bit 'blocky' in places. For example, there are certain pages that are filled with monologues of text or that have a great deal of description that we really don't need as readers. 

Aside from that minor issue, however, his dialogue was spot on. There are a handful of instances where you will find yourself laughing or at least smirking at the characters interaction, especially when it comes to my personal favorite character- Septimus Mason.

Speaking of Septimus, it's hard to believe that characters so drastically different could work so well together on paper, but they do! Denning has a wide range of ages spread throughout his novel. For example, main character Tom is an 11 year old English boy who wants nothing more than to be normal. Septimus Mason, the Han Solo of the novel, is a quick witted Welshman in his mid twenties (and my favorite character).  Then we have the three heroes taken out of their time, two military men who fought in very different wars and a maid who started a great historical fire. Their ages vary, but even so, they all get along so well on paper! I don't remember a scene where it seemed odd that 11 year old Thomas was hanging around with people who were far older than him. Of course, this could have to do with the fact that Thomas reads older than he is and as he learns more about his destiny, he steps up and takes the lead.

One thing I have to point out is that this novel is written by a European author.  There are some terms and phrases that those outside of Europe may not understand.  If you are like me and watch a lot of BBC shows, then these references shouldn't phase you.  Younger readers or those who don't partake in the fantastic entertainment coming from the BBC might want to keep Google handy for some terms that pop up in this novel.

As opposed to time traveling through made up worlds, the majority of the time travel that takes place in 'Tomorrow's Guardian' is done to historical venues. We see a battle between the Brits and the Zulu's, a sea battle set during World War II, and even the great London fire. I enjoyed the variety of the various historical locations, even if I didn't know a lot about some of the battles witnessed by Thomas and the gang.  Where will Thomas go in future books? We can only imagine!

'Tomorrow's Guardian' is best suited to a reader looking for an action packed time travel adventure. It's not something I'd recommend to older teens unless they are into sci-fi or time travel, but if you're looking for a good read for a pre-teen or tween-- keep this in mind!  The action elements are attention grabbing, the characters are people I'd love to be friends with, and overall, this time travel romp is just plain fun to read!  This book gets 3.5 out of 5 stars from me!

You can grab a copy of 'Tomorrow's Guardian' on  And don't forget to check out the author interview and fantasy cast posts for this book!  

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