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The Lens and the Looker (The Verona Trilogy #1)

3.37  ·  Rating Details ·  483 Ratings  ·  151 Reviews
It's the 24th century and humans, with the help of artificial intelligences (A.I.s), have finally created an almost perfect "post-dystopian" society.To make equally perfect citizens for this world, the elders have created History Camps, full-sized recreations of cities from Earth's distant pasts. Here teens live the way their ancestors did, doing the same dirty jobs and ex ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published December 13th 2012 by Fiction Std, E Book (first published January 14th 2011)
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Copy obtained through the GoodReads First Reads program. Disclaimer: I'm an adult who still enjoys reading YA, so I know I'm not the target audience.

I think the intended age range would likely enjoy the book. The three main characters (Hansum, Shamira, and Lincoln) have enough of an edge that they're interesting, but they aren't "bad influences". The idea of the History Camp is a good one, and the lessons the kids learn are gradual, realistic ones. As an introduction to sci-fi, it's like easing
An Odd1
"The Lens and the Looker" (History Camp 1) by Lory Kaufman could be x-rated for chopped-off finger and sword-slain soldiers. I like the premise, rebellious adolescents find out how good present lives are compared to a dirty smelly dangerous past. But they never learn self-reliance, how to reason and decide individually, discover and act on strengths, find and bolster friend's frailties in teamwork, expose and exploit enemy weakness. They always follow rules and their AI tutor. Research details a ...more
Mar 26, 2011 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book in a Goodreads First Reads contest.

Hansum, Shamira, and Lincoln are hard cases, kids who don't follow the rules. So these kids are sent to History Camp to learn how good they have it. But something odd happens at History Camp, and the are taken back in time to 1347 and they have to live through the REAL history. How will they survive and how will they impact the future.

I want to start off saying I really enjoyed this book. I really found the story captivating. The style of
Cheryl Christensen
This is a book that really touches me. I love historical fiction and futuristic stories. This book is the best combination of both. What are historical re-creations but a way to understand things about the past that are not a part of our everyday lives? It is a great way to learn, especially for our youth. There are many state and national park sites across the land that do just that.

We have many youth programs designed to help those who strain against the institutions of our day, who refuse to
First impressions: The book starts in the 24th century, which is completely fascinating. I loved the descriptions of the A.I. teachers and nannies. The world was so interesting that I wish we'd spent a bit more time there.

Lasting impressions: The detailed lessons on lensmaking, though at times a little tedious, were mostly fun to read. Where else can I learn how glasses are made while reading a cool story? The mix of real history with the fictional story was enjoyable.

Conflicting impressions: I
Jessica Bierschied
THE LENS AND THE LOOKER, by Lory Kaufman brings you to the perfect world, post-dystopian where nothing bad can happen. Trouble making kids don't get detention, they get History Camp, a place from the past with all the details included. The three trouble-making kids make too much trouble in History Camp and end up in the past, for real. I was engaged the whole time waiting to see what was going to happen! This was a great read!

I loved the idea of time-travel. That is what caught my eye when I wa
Sarah Snyder
Apr 19, 2011 Sarah Snyder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In The Lens and The Looker we have a combination of subplots going on that all weave together to form a remarkable story of love, friendship and responsibility. The book’s description states that there are three main characters; seventeen-year-old Hansum, who becomes Romero, fifteen-year-old Shamira (Carmella) and fourteen-year-old Lincoln (Maruccio). However, the storyline focuses more on Hansum than the others. You learn the most of him and he is the easiest to sympathize with. Plus he is the ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle Book Briefs
I am a huge history nerd, so this book is right up my alley. It's the first book in a trilogy about history camp. This is such a cool idea, its set in the 24th century and to help shape up delinquent youth, they send them to history camp to learn about how people lived and worked in the past. It kind of reminded me of Colonial Williamsburg in the US. It actually sounded like a really cool experience, and not a punishment, but like I said- I'm a nerd. The three main characters end up actually get ...more
Oct 16, 2012 Ellie rated it did not like it
Unfortunately, I couldn't finish this book. The concept sounded fantastic! But it really couldn't keep me engaged.

Right from the beginning, you're supposed to believe that the main character is a clever, mischievous young man--intelligent, smarmy, attractive, and manipulative. I didn't see that. A little bit more of "show, don't tell" would have been good, since I came away feeling that I was being told what to feel about the main character.

But then there was that description of the lathe. The s
Randy Bartley
Mar 21, 2011 Randy Bartley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a little outside my normal library but my son recommended it to me, which was quite rewarding insofar as I normally am doing the recommendations.

What i particularly enjoyed about the book was that the characters were down to earth; there were no real villains or angels, just people in a situation in which they had to find a way to initially survive and then prosper, using their innate intelligence, obviously their advanced knowledge, and yes, some magic, to posively affect their r
Apr 07, 2011 Sherri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book, and am anxiously awaiting the next in the series. I have seen the comments others have made about not spending enough time in the characters real world, but I totally disagree. As the book progresses you learn a lot about the 3 main characters and the way they evolve and step up to the situations they find themselves in. They learn to trust each other and work together to survive in the true 13th century, and deal with all the things that happen to them, of which there ...more
Oct 18, 2011 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes time travel
Recommended to Donna by: Goodreads
Do you like books about the past? Books about time travel? You should love this book.

A brief overview:
Hansum, Lincoln, and Shamira are three kids from the 24th century who are what we would call 'problem children'. They don't pay attention in school and cause problems wherever and whenever they can. They are juvenile delinquents in the making. As a punishment, they must "do time" in a history camp. A
re-enactment of a time when life wasn't so easy. The kids are sent to a camp representing Veron
May 29, 2014 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven’t read anything like this book before the concept is fresh and exciting. Set in the future but played out in the past it was a perfect mix of what the future holds but how the pasts plays a huge part in the future. I loved the idea of using the past as a form of discipline, teaching kids that they have it pretty easy now days. Sometimes a writer adds to much detail or not enough but Kaufman adds just the right amount of detail that make everything much more interesting. I am not a fan of ...more
Feb 18, 2011 Sam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great modern book, I was lucky enough to get an early copy from a friend of mine and fell into the story after the first page. I recommend it to all readers, young or old, Sci-Fi, romance or just escapist. This is definatly (along with 1st Hungar Games book) my favorite book in the last 5 years. Now to tell the truth, I don't tend to like modern books (past the 90's) because of their lack of drive, I mostly read the classics and old Sci-Fi. But this book has drive and is diffinatly the ...more
Victoria Brinius
Jun 30, 2014 Victoria Brinius rated it it was amazing
This was a great intro to the series. I loved the history of Italy, and it was interesting to think about what technology will be like in the future. There are so many things that can be changed during time travel. This reminded me of the movie "Peggy Sue Got Married". When Peggy Sue told Richard Norvik about future inventions. It was bad enough from the 60's to the 80's. However this author transcended time, inventions, famous philosophers, and even Columbus's famous trip of 1942. The informati ...more
Apr 23, 2014 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was excited to read this trilogy because it involves time travel. I don't know why but I love the idea and the possibilities that it brings.

This trilogy is special because it is the first book reviews that my son and I are doing together.

Me: This is a post dystopian novel that involves time travel. I really like time travel books so I was in at that moment.

Airborne: I would say it is more utpoian than dystopian. Because dystopian is more like the novel 1984 where they are monitoring you 24/7 w
Mason Christiaans
Jun 12, 2013 Mason Christiaans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank-you so much for the 3 books Mr.Kaufman. I really enjoyed reading the lens and the looker and leaning about how people lived in the 14th century. Did you have to research about how the lathe worked? Did you use the characters romero and guilietta to symbolize romeo and guliette? thanks again for the books.

-Mason Christiaans
May 12, 2014 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"THE LENS AND THE LOOKER, by Lory Kaufman brings you to the perfect world, post-dystopian where nothing bad can happen. Trouble making kids don't get detention, they get History Camp, a place from the past with all the details included. The three trouble-making kids make too much trouble in History Camp and end up in the past, for real."

Sounds like a great concept and although it's a young adult book I was expecting to be entertained. Sadly, the writing is terrible and plodding, the plot is mini
M.M. Hudson
When I originally was asked if I would read and review this trilogy I was excited because I like these science fiction, travel type books. I am also somewhat of a history buff so, this appealed to me.
However, to begin with, I have some issues with this first book.

The first several chapters is the set up in order to get to the meat of the book. Although I understand it was needed, it also was a slow beginning and if I wasn't truly interested in these characters, I probably would have stopped ther
Lou Aronica
Jan 10, 2011 Lou Aronica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yes, I'm the publisher, but I wouldn't be the publisher if I didn't think this was a five-star book. This is a terrific combination of speculation, research, and character interaction. The major characters are all teens, but there's plenty here for adults to read.
Bluerose's  Heart
The Lens and the Looker starts out in the future. This part of the book passes quickly, so I was curious to see more of that world. I was especially curious to learn more about the A.I.s(artificial intelligences). Life in this time period involves history camp, which sounded kind of neat, except for the fact it was used as a punishment.

It's not until about a fourth of the way through the book that true time travel happens and it was then that the book grabbed my attention more. It was interestin
May 21, 2015 Jaime rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting post-dystopian story of a non-Jetsons future with A.I. (I read the backstory on the author's site and it was a fun, informative read).

Hansum lives in 2347 Common Era (CE), which I believe is millenia after humans nearly drove themselves to extinction (although from mentions of the lack of religion, it might just be 2347 BC named as CE). Every human has an artificial intelligence nanny from the moment they're born. Population is controlled to where engines, transportation,
Brooke Bumgardner (Brooke Blogs)
Review originally posted on Brooke Blogs on 06/26/2014.

The Verona Trilogy by Lory S. Kaufman really blew me away. I thought the books sounded interesting, but I had no idea the journey I was about to take in reading them. The Lens and the Looker was so fascinating, right from the very beginning. I love the world that Lory built in the 24th Century. As brief as our stay in that time period was, it was really neat to read about. I really liked the concept of the history camps/hard time history cam
Jun 12, 2014 LAWonder10 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Lens and the Looker is totally a pleasant surprise!…Not at all as I expected! This is a well-written fantasy for YA. It is written in three different book segments within this one book – “Hard-Time History Camp”; “Hard-Time Reality”; “Stranded”. It is a dystopian and historical tale in one. It begins in the 30th century then includes time travel. I really thought it was going to be another Dystopian/Sci-Fi.

17 year old Hansum, Shamira, – approximately 15 year old-, and 13 year old Lincoln wer
Michelle Mccormick
Hansum, Shamira, and Lincoln are the "hard cases" from the 24th century. They are self entitled spoiled teenagers who meet up when the three are sent to "History Camp" because of their behavior. The "History Camp" were designed to 'take' the kids back to the past and have them work the jobs and live in the conditions of their ancestors in hopes that they will learn and not make the same mistakes again. Unfortunately these three are especially naughty and sneak in Pan, a magic genie toy. With his ...more
The Lens and the Looker has such a great concept: kids from far in the future get stranded in the distant past. I was really excited about the concept, it seemed like fun, and the future world that they start the story in was pretty interesting; unfortunately the rest of the story is very mundane. The three adolescents from the future end up in 1347 Verona, Italy as servants. I was immediately disappointed by this situation because all that they did for the most of the book was cook, clean, and ...more
Jun 11, 2011 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
The premise of this book was quite intriguing, so I had high hopes to see how this concept of "History Camps" played out using the city of Verona in the year 1347. What I did not really understand was why Hansum and Lincoln were specifically cast as lens-maker apprentices. Kaufman goes into extreme detail regarding the intricacies of making lenses for eye glasses with rudimentary tools of that time period, and quite a bit of the book is devoted to the education of the process and the modernizati ...more
Paula Ratcliffe
Jan 24, 2013 Paula Ratcliffe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
When you are a misbehaving teen in the 24th century your punishment is History Camp. There kids live out a period in time with no A. I there to guide them. Three teens Hansum, Shamira, and Lincoln end up in Verona Italy, which teachers who enact scenes for them to learn. These three need to learn how to behave but when these three strike out against the program they are kidnapped and sent to the real Verona Italy in 1347 where they either adapt to where they are or they will die.

This book was in
Philantha Lestrange
Lens and the Looker was quite enjoyable. Although this promises to be a "post-dystopia" novel set in the future, it was mostly focused on the life in the past. I know a lot of readers had an issue with this from the reviews I've read, but I think it was just okay for me. The "future" element wasn't really taken away from the book; there was Pan and they have those futuristic gadgets with them as well.

I had a hard time categorizing this book, though... is it historical fiction? Science fiction? R
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"I write Post-Dystopian fiction. After society’s collapse, which is imagined in so many great dystopian stories, humans will either fade into history, with the dinosaurs, or, if it learns the right lessons, society will go on to construct a civilization to last tens of thousands of years. History Camp stories are the exciting adventures of young people doing the latter." -Lory Kaufman

On the artis
More about Lory S. Kaufman...

Other Books in the Series

The Verona Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Bronze and the Brimstone
  • The Loved and the Lost (The Verona Trilogy #3)

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