Sab's Reviews > The Marbury Lens

The Marbury Lens by Andrew  Smith
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Apr 06, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: surreal, ya-fantasy, ya-dystopia
Read in January, 2010

This isn't YA dystopia in the way, say, The Hunger Games is, but it fits in the category because, while present day London (where the book is set) isn't much different from today, the alternate world of Marbury is quite definitely experiencing its own apocalyptic horrors.

The Marbury Lens is a strange book that tries to do a lot of things and only gets a few of them right. The world of Marbury itself is fascinating, as is the fact that everyone there has a twin here, but if your Marbury twin is dead Marbury is black to you forever.

When our hero finds the glasses and puts them on, he immediately becomes his Marbury alter-ego,who in this case is leading a scrappy band of refugee kids through a deadland battlefield. Worse, when our hero's best friend from London, Connor, puts on the goggles, he discovers he's a thug in a band of roving attackers, set chasing down our hero and his escapees.

Still, every time something interesting would happen in Marbury, the hero would take his goggles off and the reader would be treated to a chapter of teenage angst in London while he tried to decide whether to put on the goggles again or toss them for good.

The fact that we never find out what Connor's backstory is in Marbury (even Connor himself never figures it out) is problematic to me, and the constant "hide the glasses! dump the glasses! no, wear the glasses!" ethical conundrum got pretty old pretty fast.

Still, apocalyptic world that can only be glimpsed through special goggles -- cool.
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