Pastworld

Ian Beck, Author
Ian Beck, Author . Bloomsbury $16.99 (355p) ISBN 978-1-59990-040-7
Reviewed on: 11/23/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
Paperback - 355 pages - 978-1-59990-529-7
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-0-7475-8173-4
Open Ebook - 978-1-59990-697-3
Paperback - 355 pages - 978-1-4088-0226-7
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London in 2048 has become one vast Victorian-themed amusement park (there's even an “artificial fog bank”) under the control of the powerful Buckland Corporation. Caleb Brown, 17, and his father, one of Pastworld's architects, are attacked and separated as soon as they visit the exclusive tourist destination. Accused of murder and on the run, Caleb is quickly drawn into Pastworld's underbelly; at its center is the mysterious Fantom, a crime lord with a bloody reputation. Caleb's fate eventually becomes entangled with that of Eve, a beautiful teenage circus performer with little memory of her past. The theme park strives for absolute authenticity, and Beck (The Secret History of Tom Trueheart ) relishes in some grisly details (the laws in Pastworld are antiquated as well, and certain crimes are punishable by public execution). As the central protagonist (besides a security officer who is drawn into solving Pastworld's dark mysteries), Caleb is remarkably passive; only Eve takes control of her destiny, rejecting her predetermined role as victim. Though the story has its flaws, steady action and an inventive concept keep this a fast-paced adventure. Ages 12–up. (Nov.)

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