Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Escape From the Past by Annette Oppenlander Book Review

Escape From the Past by Annette Oppenlander
Genre: Historical Fiction, Medieval, Teens, Young Adult, New Adult

Synopsis: When fifteen-year-old nerd and gamer Max Anderson thinks he's sneaking a preview of an unpublished video game, he doesn't realize that 1) He's been chosen as a beta, an experimental test player. 2) He's playing the ultimate history game, transporting him into the actual past: anywhere and anytime. And 3) Survival is optional: to return home he must decipher the game's rules and complete its missions--if he lives long enough. To fail means to stay in the past--forever.

Now Max is trapped in medieval Germany, unprepared and clueless. It is 1471 and he quickly learns that being an outcast may cost him his head. Especially after rescuing a beautiful peasant girl from a deadly infection and thus provoking sinister wannabe Duke Ott. Overnight he is dragged into a hornets' nest of feuding lords who will stop at nothing to bring down the conjuring stranger in their midst.

Book Review:

The author has painted a vivid picture of what it was like to live in the year 1471 in medieval Germany. As Max says later in the story. It sucked.   Lack of medicine, hygiene, food, and general comfort are only a few of the things that made life harsh. There was also the helplessness of being stuck between feuding Lords, and the abuse of the lower classes.

The story is well written with descriptions and the pace is up and down. It isn't all dark.  Some humor is thrown in. The characters grow and change as they should.  Cliff hangers leave you on edge.

On the downside:
I am not the reader for this particular book. It's like having a fabulous spaghetti sauce and someone says "I don't like mushrooms."  That's not to say it's a bad sauce. I just don't like mushrooms and that's how it is with this novel. It's a good story, but I did not like the implied and impending rapes. I know it was part of the time, but I if I'm reading,  I want to escape. Rape, unfortunately, still happens today and is common. I guess you could say I'm sensitive to the topic and I was disappointed  the rapist did not get  his comeuppance. 

I couldn't get into this novel because I could never get past the question why. You're playing a game. What are the rules? What are the objectives? There were no clues. He was there and had to find a way to survive. On the side, he was helping others to survive too. The lack of objective and clues grated on my mind. 

And yet, if you asked me what would I do to change it, I'd say nothing. I have no idea as to how she would improve it. The author painted a clear picture of the characters, their challenges, and their growth. Overall, it's a good adventure story.  

 Author Biography Annette Oppenlander writes historical fiction for young adults and anyone who loves stories set in the past. When she isn’t in front of her computer, she shares her knowledge through writing workshops and indulges her old mutt, Mocha. In her spare time she travels around the U.S. and Europe to discover amazing histories. The mother of three ‘former’ teens, Annette lives with her husband in Bloomington, Ind.

Follow on Facebook, and on Twitter @aoppenlander


I was thrilled to have the opportunity to ask Annette a few questions about her thought process on this novel. Click here for interview.

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