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Friday, July 20, 2012

Review: Chronal Engine by Greg Leitich Smith

Chronal Engine by Greg Leitich Smith. A Prehistoric Time-Travel Adventure.

Chronal Engine by Greg Leitich Smith

Clarion Books
Publication Date: March 2012
List Price: $16.99
ISBN-13: 9780547608495

Review: Have you ever felt like you were alone and the non-popular one in the family? Max feels this and much, much more. The story Chronal Engine written by Greg Leitich Smith is an action packed thrill ride with many surprises and tricks. Many of which revolved around the time machine, but a few are from the great dinosaurs themselves. Max tries to exploit his talent for once, a talent of knowing and inspecting dinosaurs, and his brother starts yelling at him and tries to show off. So Max, his brother, and a newly acquired friend make the journey to save their sister. But will they take on the challenges of time, and succeed?

Max and his family are forced to journey through the past. This happens because his sister has been kidnapped, and his grandpa set him up for a journey. Max chases his sister, and her kidnapper into the past with his brother, Kyle, and with a new family friend named Petra. They journey to the dinosaur ages in hope to save their sister. Kyle gets bitten by a dinosaur while their journey continues, leaving it all to Max. But can they save their sister and themselves?

I really enjoyed Chronal Engine. It is a great mixture of clues and red herrings to keep readers guessing, while it still lets you piece together the story. I rate this book 9 out of 10. The only thing I did not like was that there are very few dramatic effects before the climax, so at certain parts of the story, the events were predictable. However, there are far more reasons I enjoyed this book. For one, it gives clues to every decision and the story is very well developed. By this I mean that the plot is well rounded, the characters, including the dinosaurs, are greatly detailed, and clearly researched. Also the setting is always beneficial to the thought process and to the scene, but not always for the characters, bringing them many hardships. Chronal Engine is phenomenal and should be read by everybody. The characters are very easy to relate to, because there are many, all with different personalities. Max is a shy person, but when it matters he is also brave and talented in his own little way. Kyle is a very strong, cocky, showoff type of guy, though he does have reasons to showoff (mainly Petra). Emma is a very neat, friendly person who likes to joke around a lot. And Petra is the clever, aggressive, agile person that tries to do what she can when she is needed. This is proven quite often in this marvelous novel. A quote I found intriguing is when Mr. Pierson says, "Thank you, no. In fifteen minutes the ambulance will be here to take me to the hospital after my massive heart attack." This shows that the Chronal Engine (time machine) really worked and might just have been real. This is an excellent way to start the story and to show an overall course for the plot. As you can see, this was a very well written book.

Review written by Joseph (6th grade student).

We would like to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing a copy of Chronal Engine for this review.

Have you read Chronal Engine? How would you rate it?

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