The Bronze and the Brimstone by Lory S Kaufman
It’s recommended you read The Lens and the Looker before this one.
What could go wrong in the 14th-century
for three time-traveling teens?
How about – EVERYTHING!
Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln, three teens from the 24th-century, are trapped in 14th-century Verona, Italy. They’ve survived many deadly experiences by keeping their wits about them and by introducing futuristic technology into the past. Principal among these inventions is the telescope, which brought them to the attention to the rich and powerful.
But standing out can get you into unexpected and dangerous situations. The nobles of Verona now believe Hansum is a savant, a genius inventor, especially after he brings them plans for advanced cannons and black powder. Being the center of attention is great, but the potential for trouble is now exponentially greater because people are watching Hansum’s every move.
Meanwhile, artistic genius Shamira has fallen for a Florentine artist with bloody and disasterous consequences. Lincoln, considered an incompetent back home in the 24th-century, has blossomed – at least until he’s shot in the head with an arrow. And Hansum, after secretly marrying his new master’s beautiful daughter, Guilietta, is offered the hand in marriage of lady Beatrice, daughter of the ruler of Verona. To refuse could mean calamity for all the teens.
Amazingly, none of this is their biggest challenge. Because a rash illness is spreading across Verona – and it is threatening to consume everyone.
Do they have a future in this past?
I was looking forward to reading this one after finishing the first book. I wanted to know what was going to happen to the three. Although it was good, and the ending made me want to scream, I thought the book could have been a bit better.
The plot was still well done, and although it focuses a lot more on Hansum again, Shamira has now her own storyline (it’s a short one, unfortunately) and Lincoln still has a small role – I wished he was more into this book, he’s fun to read and adds more life to the book because of his personality. I think, if he was paired up with Hansum from the start, the plot could have taken a different twist, but also would have been a much more enjoyable read.
Not to say I didn’t like Hansum, although I’d rather started disliking him towards the second half of the book when he started to turn a 360 and started to act like a jerk. It’s understandable, since all he wants to do is work but also spend his life with Guilietta (which seems to be extremely difficult to do, and you can feel his frustration). However it’s good to see all three characters have maintained their maturity and their character development in this book is very well done and well written.
What I enjoyed the most was the rich historical detail this book had. It certainly looked like there was a lot of work put into this so the reader will experience a much more authentic setting and it’s a well done job. From the characters clothing, to what they eat, and to what they use in everyday life is set in fine detail.
As mentioned before, this book could have been better. I thought it dragged a bit in certain areas. Although it’s interesting on how the making of gunpowder is made, and how a cannon is constructed, this is where the detail is just so minute it feels like you’re reading a textbook on “Life and Times in Historical Italy” than anything else. It might be interesting to some readers but for those that just want to get to the action, this part of the book is slow and can get dry. To me it felt like there were endless pages on how the construction was done, and I had to put the book down several times to slap myself awake. As much as I love detail and the fine parts, this was just too much for me.
Also although the target audience is for young adults there is a level of violence and language that may not be so good for younger readers. Plus there is some content that could be questionable. There was one particular violent moment involving a donkey and I’m still wondering why Hansum needed to do this to prove a point. It’s certainly uncharacteristic of him and I wonder if that was even necessary.
The ending of the book was good as it felt like the action was all saved for the last few pages. It was an intense emotional roller coaster. The reader will be stunned, sad, angry, and relieved. All in just a few pages. That those few pages got me to feel this way in less than fifteen minutes it took me to read them is just brilliant. It was absolutely well done.
Despite this being dry in some parts, it was well worth the read. Rich in historical detail, with a good mix of action, romance, and drama, I am definitely looking forward to how this series ends. This book could have been better, but the ending makes up for it in so many ways it makes it well worth the read.
I give it a 6/10
Note: Thanks to the author for providing me a copy of this book, and thanks to Tracee for letting me be part of the book tour!