Monday, July 19, 2010

Black Powder

Black Powder
by Staton Rabin
Margaret K McElderry Books, 2005. 245 pages, YA Science Fiction

If you were an exceptionally scientifically adept 14 year old boy and your forever best friend had been gunned down by his own gang, what would you do? Langston Davis is devastated. Then Mrs. Centauri, Langston's science teacher, invites him over to see her new invention, a time machine. Langston knows this is the answer to his grief. Go back in time to 1278, find Roger Bacon and convince him not to publish his black powder formula. He only has a few days before the asteroids will shift and he won't be able to get back home. Without permission, he uses the machine, leaves a shell of himself to take his place in the present while he is gone and quickly leaves for England 1278.

This was a fence sitter book for me. I didn't really like it BUT it did have its moments. Reading the author' explantions for writing the book did help a bit in trying to understand her vehement stand on gun issues. Unfortunately, I felt the author was trying too hard to make the story work. The constant reminder that Langston was black, dialogue that just didn't seem to flow, phrases stuck in to sound "cool" and the many plot jumps (I don't mean time travel jumps) without explanations as to what was happening or how we got there, made this a questionable read for me. There was just a bit of language. All that being said, there were some nice philosophical thoughts near the book's end about freedom and making a difference. mpb

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