Customer Reviews for

The Lens and the Looker

Average Rating 3.5
( 166 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

22 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

Ignore The Rating

Unfortunately, due to the idiocy of many people who do not undetstand that reviews are meant to actually review and not for comments or questions, this book has recieved a low rating. I assure you this should not be the case. This is a very interesting novel and I urge ...
Unfortunately, due to the idiocy of many people who do not undetstand that reviews are meant to actually review and not for comments or questions, this book has recieved a low rating. I assure you this should not be the case. This is a very interesting novel and I urge you to give it a try. If you would like more information on the actual story line please read the description or keep scrolling to find helpful reviews. I personaly enjoyed it and quite sure you will too.

posted by Noreen95 on July 20, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

40 out of 48 people found this review helpful.

5 out of 10 hearts

The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman
Series: Verona Trilogy (#1)
Release Date: March 16th, 2011
Publisher: The Fiction Studio
Page Count: 336
Source: Received from author via Pump Up Your Book for review

Though this book isn't particularly lousy, my bigge...
The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman
Series: Verona Trilogy (#1)
Release Date: March 16th, 2011
Publisher: The Fiction Studio
Page Count: 336
Source: Received from author via Pump Up Your Book for review

Though this book isn't particularly lousy, my biggest problem is how half-assed it is. Is it a sci-fi? A young adult fiction? A romance? A historical novel? A middle-grade book? A contemporized classic? Well, it's a little bit of all of the above, which makes it sound really, really cool. That's what I thought at first. But seems to be, when you mix everything up together, you don't result in a beautiful wonderful charming story. No. What you get, is a big, tricky mess.

Kaufman had such a rolling idea with this story. The dystopian young adult thriller -- with time travel! What's not to like?

Here's what's not to like: the addition of a cumbersome romance, which I'm sure most young adults don't care for; that could ruin a few things. An awkward, difficult-to-follow writing style (the kind that names the main character Hansum since he IS handsome... HAHAHAH!!); that might do it. An embarrassingly childish tone to the narrator; that will do it. I kept telling myself this is young adult. Nitty gritty, hits-so-close-to-home young adult. But an immature cast of characters and the author's way of narrating as if he were talking to a ten-year-old, completely disrupts the expected tone.

And then there are the contradictions. The Lens and the Looker is based loosely off of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Even if you haven't read the Victorian play, you know the story is basically of two people who fall in forbidden love, and end up killing themselves for it by the end. Sort of crappy? Well, that's why it's called a tragic romance. For a younger audience's novel to contain the heaviness of tragedy and love, pleases me some. I like how this book is sort of a modern version of the classic play. However, paired with the adolescent voice of the story, it just doesn't work. Either this is a children's story, or it's an adult story. Adding elements from both won't equate the book into the median and make it magically become "young adult".

Like I said, Kaufman's ideas really could have gotten somewhere. The concept of History Camps is fascinating, but he really should have stopped there. The Lens and the Looker needs to make up its mind about what type of book it is. Overall, it's a so-so read (if you can get past the author's lack of creative flow), but it certainly isn't something I am able to recommend to kids, teenagers, or adults, mostly because I don't know who it's aimed for in the first place.

Radical Rating: 5 hearts- Satisfying for a first read, but I'm not going back.

posted by TheStephanieLoves on June 6, 2011

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  • Posted June 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    5 out of 10 hearts

    The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman
    Series: Verona Trilogy (#1)
    Release Date: March 16th, 2011
    Publisher: The Fiction Studio
    Page Count: 336
    Source: Received from author via Pump Up Your Book for review

    Though this book isn't particularly lousy, my biggest problem is how half-assed it is. Is it a sci-fi? A young adult fiction? A romance? A historical novel? A middle-grade book? A contemporized classic? Well, it's a little bit of all of the above, which makes it sound really, really cool. That's what I thought at first. But seems to be, when you mix everything up together, you don't result in a beautiful wonderful charming story. No. What you get, is a big, tricky mess.

    Kaufman had such a rolling idea with this story. The dystopian young adult thriller -- with time travel! What's not to like?

    Here's what's not to like: the addition of a cumbersome romance, which I'm sure most young adults don't care for; that could ruin a few things. An awkward, difficult-to-follow writing style (the kind that names the main character Hansum since he IS handsome... HAHAHAH!!); that might do it. An embarrassingly childish tone to the narrator; that will do it. I kept telling myself this is young adult. Nitty gritty, hits-so-close-to-home young adult. But an immature cast of characters and the author's way of narrating as if he were talking to a ten-year-old, completely disrupts the expected tone.

    And then there are the contradictions. The Lens and the Looker is based loosely off of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Even if you haven't read the Victorian play, you know the story is basically of two people who fall in forbidden love, and end up killing themselves for it by the end. Sort of crappy? Well, that's why it's called a tragic romance. For a younger audience's novel to contain the heaviness of tragedy and love, pleases me some. I like how this book is sort of a modern version of the classic play. However, paired with the adolescent voice of the story, it just doesn't work. Either this is a children's story, or it's an adult story. Adding elements from both won't equate the book into the median and make it magically become "young adult".

    Like I said, Kaufman's ideas really could have gotten somewhere. The concept of History Camps is fascinating, but he really should have stopped there. The Lens and the Looker needs to make up its mind about what type of book it is. Overall, it's a so-so read (if you can get past the author's lack of creative flow), but it certainly isn't something I am able to recommend to kids, teenagers, or adults, mostly because I don't know who it's aimed for in the first place.

    Radical Rating: 5 hearts- Satisfying for a first read, but I'm not going back.

    40 out of 48 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting and different

    Okay. Word to the wise; there is sci fi elements, but you won't be spending too much time in the future world. The book is mostly set in 14th century Italy. That being said, this might disappoint some readers who are looking forward to reading about a post-dystopian world. I didn't mind as historical fiction was always something I liked to read. Mixing historical fiction with science fiction elements also provides an interesting story. The sci-fi element does make a significant impact on the story (with Pan) but it doesn't overpower it. Which is nice, as there's lots of historical setting descriptions to provide a good accurate setting that is easy to picture.

    I thought it was interesting the author decides to make this book a post-dystopian society/setting. With all the dystopian fiction out there, this is an interesting and refreshing twist. Although not all the answers on how the setting came to be is revealed. It would have been nice to provide that bit of background information, alas it's not necessary.

    The main general plot was really good. It gets even better towards the end with a good action climax and the ending leaves you wanting to know what happens next (there is a bit of a sneak preview of the second book at the back). As mentioned before, I liked the description of the historical setting. Not only was it concise and in detail but it was enforced and repeated throughout the novel. I can only think this is because it makes the characters (and the reader included) realize how much everything is taken for granted. The constant reminder of people's rotting teeth was rather gross, but it really does enhance the setting, and lets you count your blessings for being born in a different time period.

    The three characters were nicely written and well done. I would have preferred to see more of Lincoln in this story (he is a smart aleck and has a funny quote or two). Yet the story focuses a lot more on Hansum and a little on Shamira. Lincoln does disappear for some time during the last half of the book however I am hoping he would come back with a bigger role in the second book. I'd have to say I liked how all three developed in their own way. Lincoln ends up maturing a lot as he used to be the real mouthy and rebellious one of the three. I liked Hansum, he was the steadier and unspoken leader of the three plus the love story with Guilietta provides a good part of the romance in the book - I thought they were rather cute together. Although besides Lincoln, I liked Pan a lot too. He helped the three through their adventures, but also provided a means of making their living situations improve (however it does have consequences). I'd like to know more in detail what consequence this may have in the future, but for now you do see a change in Pan's appearance (which is comical).

    With such a unique idea of the History camps and an interesting blend of science fiction and historical fiction, this book was a real fun read. It had a bit of everything in one well written book. Readers might also notice it's also an interesting history lesson on 14th century Italy (well, at least on how people lived back then). I would definitely recommend this to other readers (I think it's most suited for those that like YA). It's certainly a different read and lets readers take a break from the massive amounts of dystopian fiction out there.

    15 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2012

    Free Friday YA intro to a trilogy

    More reviews should be short and to the point--helping readers decide if a book is worth exploring/buying.

    Since this book was free for me, the answer is a qualified "yes". If you like historical fiction/information and don't mind "kid lit", you may find this book to be worthwhile.

    I loved the first Harry Potter book and was progressively less interested as the series was drawn out. There seems to be so much in modern life is for publicity and for profit, espousing new "religions" with followers or fans. ( All things "APPLE OR I-", "VAMPIRE", etc.) Despite this I think the idea of "history camp" as a way to educate , learn , be more open to the present, and not repeat the mistakes of the past is an interesting idea..

    I would like a warning/disclosure when books are " juvenile".

    8 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2012

    Giullietta's Verona needs fleshing out

    Mr. Kaufman succeeds in delivering distinct action and combat scenes. The teen dialogue seems stereotyped from the start and Hansom's early character development makes him seem both more arrogant and perceptive than he behaves in later scenes. (Why the rhyming* fails to trigger a response in the teens made me speculate on plot)
    Despite being frustrated when the plot failed to answer my anticipated questions, I hope the series will eventually catch up to the anonymous highway robbers* as well as provide more enticing settings and improved dialogue because the plot and most details are engrossing.
    I'm going to give the series a chance: they are quick reads with good "bones"

    *I can't provide more plot without giving away scenes.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2012

    Really a love story.

    Typos and missing ends of sentences detract slightly. Futuristic tale of 3 incorrigible children, taken to Verona of the 1370's, and not able to return to year of 2347. They must learn to adapt, but unfortunately the tale is not completed without purchasing the sequels. I wasn't enamored of it enought to do that.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2012

    Fast read but...

    I kept waiting for it to get better-then it ended. Huh.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2013

    Anonymous

    My only complaint so far is not being able to it on nook. For some strange reason it keeps causing my nook to freeze up so I'm having to read it on the computer which defeats the whole perpose of having a nook. What good is a nook if some books cause it to freeze?

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  • Posted February 15, 2013

    I found the book readable with sufficient twists and turns that

    I found the book readable with sufficient twists and turns that it remained interesting.  The characters are almost
    believable, interesting with just
    enough of a plot 
    to keep me reading every night until I reached the end.  I will probably buy the second book of the trilogy just to see what happens.  
    Bottom line: almost pretty good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2012

    It was ok

    Luckily this item was free. I didn't particularly care for the characters or the topic. I don't expect it to be realistic as it is a fantasy. It seemed to be a little graphic with blood and gore at the end, and I'm not really excited about preteens cackling about character fornication. (I know - it's real, but I don't have to be excited about it in teen book.) In my opinion there are better teen books out there, but I'm not a modern day teenager.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 21, 2012

    It was a great concept, but I can't say I thought much of how it

    It was a great concept, but I can't say I thought much of how it was pulled off.

    Three "hard case" teens are sent to "history camp" to teach them a lesson. Unfortunately for them, a rogue counselor from their own future sends them to the actual past - Verona in the 14th century. Sounds great so far, right? But there it ends. One of the teens has smuggled an artificial intelligence device (genie) with him, and so manages to do quite well by introducing anachronistic devices into the mix. Rather than learning from the past or improving it, these three wind up introducing instruments of war a few hundred years before their time!

    There is no real conflict to add interest. All of their problems are solved either by the genie or by luck. Everything just sort of magically falls into place for these 3. A few "bad guy" characters are introduced, but they do not play a large enough role to really influence the story. For this reason, I would rate it more for children than for young adult, except for the romance between two of the characters.

    At the end, we are left with a hint or three that they might actually get home to their own time. I am curious as to how the one kid will manage to take his love interest with him, since there is no logical solution to that... but I don't think I'm curious enough to plow through 2 more books to find out.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    Not terrible,

    but somehow the story didn't live up to my expectations. If the author can devote an entire chapter the process of making lenses, couldn't she have put a little more effort into developing the characters?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2012

    Good

    I thought it was very well written and exciting at some parts. In the middle the story was a bit bland, but it soon turned exciting and i did noyr want to put it down. Over all it was a fun read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2012

    Good read

    Really enjoyed a travel back in time. Worth your time reading it. I can not wait to see where the trio winds up.

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    Posted November 24, 2012

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    Posted November 24, 2012

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    Posted October 18, 2012

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    Posted August 9, 2012

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    Posted August 1, 2012

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    Posted July 27, 2012

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    Posted August 5, 2012

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