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7 Reviews
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting Futuristic Adventure, 2 Jan 2013
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When I started this book, I wondered right away why I was reading it, as it was not particularly aimed at an adult audience, but I was drawn in to the story and latched on to the characters fairly quickly. This is a rip-roaring adventure with a lot of humour and ironic wit, where the hero seems to be adept at everything, martial arts, foreign languages, Egyptology, time travel, Inca history, and lots more. He is such an exaggerated character that he is really funny and manages to take everything in his stride including alien abductions. My favourite aside of Eli's was;

`Frankly, the thought of standing in the middle of the Peruvian forest facing a giant black jaguar was not one of the things that went through my mind when I bought the fireworks.' Very funny in context.

The use of language is good and the story flows from one scrape to the next with just a bit of time travel in between. Eli's introspection can be a bit confusing at times as some of it is totally unrelated to what is happening in the story, but it might just be my old fashioned idea that needs everything to be relevant. This does not spoil the plot, but you need a `tongue in cheek' attitude to enjoy the comic aspects of the story.

I love the way the scene changed all the time and kept me reading to find out what came next. No problem in recommending this as a good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read, 26 Dec 2012
This review is from: Eli Arnold and the Keys to Forever: It's About Time (Kindle Edition)
As a mother and an author myself, I'm always on the look-out for good young adult fiction. My kids aren't quite middle school age yet, so finding something that will encourage them to read above their level, but something they can relate to tends to be difficult. This book was very cute, and super fun, and after reading it, I immediately passed it over to my son and then daughter who are huge fans of history and mythology. They enjoyed it as much as I did. It was very well written, and definitely a series I'd love to keep buying for them! A big five of five stars and looking forward to getting the next installment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Rollicking Adventure, 13 Dec 2012
This review is from: Eli Arnold and the Keys to Forever: It's About Time (Kindle Edition)
Eli Arnold is smart, multi-talented and lovable. John Carter elegantly establishes these truisms in the first few pages, and reinforces them throughout the book. The story moves quickly from one adventure to another, as Eli navigates a multitude of dangerous predicaments.

In his (time) travels, he encounters flying dragons, princesses, precious stones, mummies, assorted mythical creatures, even a hint of a love story. If you're a fan of puns, you'll be in heaven. They're celebrated!

There are no slow spots in this tale. The dialog is sharp and witty, and the characters are well-defined and fascinating, heroes and villains both. It's been awhile since I've read an MG book, and it felt somewhat nostalgic. There's no shortage of childishness to appease young boys, which I believe is where the book can really find an audience.

I only gave it 4 stars as I felt it could stand just a shade more editing. Don't get me wrong, it's well-written and very readable, but the occasional awkward sentence threatened my suspension of disbelief at times. Also, I enjoyed Eli's asides, but as the story gained momentum, I found myself skipping over them in order to stay in the flow and see what would happen next.

Aside from these minor criticisms, I highly recommend this book. It has a "Princess Bride" magic to it, and deserves attention and acclaim in the genre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb fun... and it's about time!, 1 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Eli Arnold and the Keys to Forever: It's About Time (Kindle Edition)
Book Review: Eli Arnold and the Keys to Forever: It's About Time by John Carter
Reviewed by J Bryden Lloyd

Writing Style - 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
A nice, smooth style conveyed a very well-told story, and I was impressed with the flow through both the general text of the work and the dialogue.
I thought there were a few areas where the plot seemed to rush by a little, which made for very minor frowns on my part, but it didn't raise a significant issue against the enjoyment of the style.

Character Development - 4.5/5.0 (Excellent)
Now, usually I would be looking for a book aimed at a younger audience to have reasonable development of the main character and an outline of open creativity thrown around each of the supporting characters. Not so here. Eli is a superbly rounded (maybe even over-rounded) character, with so many strings to his bow it could easily be mistaken for a harp. Off-putting? No, not a chance. The humour surrounding Eli and his multi-faceted background is immensely well thought out, and behind him you have an archetypal cast of characters whom you love and hate for all the right reasons. Characters are beautifully drawn and built as the story progresses... and don't even start me on the names.

Descriptive -5.0/5.0 (Outstanding)
I am a sucker for good descriptive, and this is filled with the stuff. Everything from the experiences of the opening scenes and the `abduction', to each of Eli's subsequent adventures as he moves through the story, are vividly detailed and carefully created. You can almost see the smirk on the author's face as you round each literary corner of the plot and find yourself in a whole new scenario, with a whole new set of variables. Don't get me wrong, 5-out-of-5, yes... perfect? No... but the approach and the work that has gone into creating this... credit where it's due.

Language & Grammar - 4.5/5.0 (Excellent)
Okay, cards on the table, I guess this could use a tweak. There are a handful of grammar `things' and I think there were a couple of missing/incorrect words. Did it make a difference? I noticed them, but no. The effect of the work remained solid, and I would actually have to read the whole thing again to find them.
Some of the anecdotal side-thoughts from Eli serve to pound your brain into mush as you find yourself diversifying your thoughts to follow the totally unrelated facts he is throwing at you... and no, it isn't an issue and it serves to relieve the tension in many of the more `in-your-face' elements of the adventure. Very clever.

Plot - 4.5/5.0 (Excellent) - MINOR SPOILERS
This is a good storyline. It's a well-conceived plot. It has a considered group of characters with flaws, faults, strengths, ability and an unnerving level of realism, despite the direction of the story, their names and the situations they find themselves in.
The matter-of-fact alien abduction (a routine sort of thing for Eli) quickly becomes the norm for the many ways the story will twist and turn. The short-but-funnily-sweet visit to Egypt really does set the pace and atmosphere for what is to come, and the author drags the reader through each doorway (or vortex, if you prefer) whether you feel ready to go or not.
The bad guy is typecast, obvious, sticks out like a sore thumb and is typically maniacal in his efforts to get his way. Why mess with a recipe that has worked for as long as there have been books?
Even once the plot progresses and you expect some sort of cliffhanger, you get more than you bargained for.

General - 4.5/5.0 (Excellent)
I have an inbuilt `need' to read books aimed at kids, partly because I have lots of kids, and partly because I am writing a short series of them. Admittedly, although the premise of the book made me think "Keys to the Kingdom by Garth Nix" crossed with "Harry Potter", That is not what I got.
I'll be honest, part of me didn't want to enjoy this book, and I have no idea why. Perhaps it was my fixation on expecting it to be a twist on the Garth Nix `Keys' series, but within a few pages I was hooked and actually started again with a fresh pair of eyes.
This is a book you have to approach with a completely tongue-in-cheek attitude. It is very refreshing to reach the end of a book and just have a genuine chuckle. There are a handful of laugh-out-loud moments thrown in (awkward on a bus) but even the humour beyond and around this was brilliantly executed.
If you don't enjoy this, you really have no sense of humour or irony... and that's just plain sad.

For me, a very, very highly recommended 5 Star read. Get this, read it to your kids (my daughter loved it), but read it quietly for yourself. You won't regret it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Head off in time, 2 Jun 2014
By 
Joey (Swindon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Eli Arnold and the Keys to Forever: It's About Time (Kindle Edition)
This is the first in the ELI ARNOLD AND THE KEYS TO FOREVER series and it's off to a fantastic start. Flipping between the distant past and the present, you meet Eli as he is taking off with his brother for their summer vacation in with their grandparents, except it seems that other people have made different plans for the pair. While the majority of the book deals with Eli's quest after being shoved into a time portal, and separated from his brother, there are lovely snippets into history that would appeal to young readers.

It seems that when the keys to forever were dispersed around time, no one expected an evil order to crop up to collect them all before Eli has a chance. Dragons, fair maidens, and gryphons are what faces Eli in this first book, oh and a "battle" with a mummy! It is an exciting to start to what I am sure will be an awesome series, I have the next two books and will devour them just as quickly! Great work on Carter's part and I look forward to reading more of his works.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A quest with a twist, 15 Mar 2014
This review is from: Eli Arnold and the Keys to Forever: It's About Time (Kindle Edition)
A quest with a twist! Eli Arnold takes a journey through time on his quest to find the things he needs to save the world. This book is engaging and exciting and a great read. I loved the quirky personality of Eli Arnold, his irreverent and heartwarming relationship with his brother and all the fantastical characters he meets on his adventures. It’s tagged as a book for children, but I think adults would enjoy it too. I did! Waiting to find out what happens next!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, 19 Feb 2014
Great story, full of action from the first sentence to the last. Loved how the author mixed history, mythology, and clever plays on English language to weave a very original and entertaining plot. The inner dialog of the main character, Eli Arnold, is full of wit, and is very appealing to both adults and young readers. Being a mother of 3 boys, I loved getting inside Eli's head and hearing his adolescent-male take on the world. I found myself quickly invested in Eli and his journey, and I can't wait to start the next book in the series!
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