Kelly's Reviews > Phantom Universe

Phantom Universe by Laura Kreitzer
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's review
Feb 29, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: ebooks, young-adult, sci-fi, read-in-2012
Read from February 28 to 29, 2012

Before we get into this review, I'm going to take a moment to talk about pirates. I have a long standing love affair with fictional pirates, provided they have good hygiene and don't have scurvy. In fact, I've made it one of my missions in life to educate people on the dangers of scurvy (and good oral hygiene but that's only because I read The Postman when I was young and impressionable and the talk of the survivors dying of "raging oral infections" stuck with me in a BIG WAY! *shudder*). Now, I don't actually know much about scurvy except that you get it if you don't eat enough vitamin C and it makes you lose your teeth. Therefore, the sum of my PSA is "eat oranges, don't get scurvy". Ta-Da! Words to live by, people. Words to live by.

But we were talking about pirates, weren't we? Now, my ideal type of pirates tend to be strong, clean men who often work without their shirts and bathe regularly. Due to the fact that they're usually displaced noblemen with a chip on their shoulders they have access to plenty of oranges and they NEVER get scurvy. The pirates in this book weren't quite in that realm, I must admit. They were a little on the dirty side and, as it turns out, none of them were displaced noblemen. How disappointing.

Admittedly, the pirates played a smallish role in this book. We were also given men who dealt in human slavery (jerks), time travel (err... what?), a dystopian society (err... double what?), and a girl who was taught that talking leads to beatings. The time travel part took me a bit by surprise. I probably could have gleaned it from the cover but... I'm apparently not very observant.

The beginning of the book takes place in 2010 with flashbacks to Summer's life as a young slave. It chronicles how she came to be in the hands of slavers and how her spirit was crushed and she learned to stop talking to protect herself. Then some big stuff happens and suddenly she and a few of her fellow slaves find themselves 200 years in the future in a world that has changed drastically from what they knew. Picked up by a group of young soldiers, one of whom begins falling for Summer almost immediately, they're shuffled off to interment camps for the people who keep popping up from the past.

Part of me can see why Gage falls for Summer so quickly. She's physically fragile, emotionally damaged, and she has no sense of self-worth. He feels a need to protect her and show her that she's more than just a slave girl who was an oddity because she refused to speak. Summer slowly lets down her walls and allows Gage to get close to her. I'm personally a huge fan of insta-attraction and I think it was well done here.

Plot wise, we have a mysterious group who keep popping up to try to capture Summer (for reasons that aren't revealed until close to the end), a futuristic government that doesn't quite know what to do with the multitudes of people suddenly appearing out of thin air, and another group that looks like it's trying to help those displaced in the great time-travel debacle. While I enjoyed parts of the book, I was really taken aback by the time travel. I honestly didn't realize that the first part of the book took place in modern time (I'm sorry, when I hear "pirates" my knee-jerk reaction is that it's the 1800s) and to suddenly have the setting shift dramatically and have to learn the history as to what led to this new world government was a bit jarring. I adjusted to it and I ended up enjoying the book but I did have to shift mental gears halfway through.

Overall interesting, if at times a bit chaotic, you'll enjoy this book if you go into with an open mind. And if you don't think that pirates only plundered the seas in the 1800s. There's huge setup for later books, so don't expect everything to be made clear when you reach the end. Still, I had fun reading it.

-Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal

Reviewed for Smash Attack Reads!

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