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on 26 October 2011
Teresa Flavin has written a lively sequel to The Blackhope Enigma; one doesn't need to have read Blackhope to follow The Crimson Shard, but fans will go back and buy her first installment to get more of Sunni and Blaise. If you haven't read Blackhope do yourself a favor and buy both books together; as you will undoubtably do it anyway. Ms. Flavin has captured another historical era and has done her research. Young readers will be drawn to the history, and hopefully will conduct their own research to learn more. There is plenty of historical fact not generally found in standard school text, and enough subliminal gory bits to spark the interest of today's youth. A new take on time travel and the dilemmas it brings to moderns returning to times past is compounded by the youth of the travelers. Fear for their safety, anger at their tormentors and enthusiasm for their quick intelligence keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. I hope Ms. Flavin gives us more of Sunni and Blaise, as well as the characters that brought the two books full circle; there is more adventure to be had. I can feel it!
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on 17 October 2011
If you are a regular follower of my blog, you will know that I read and reviewed The Blackhope Enigma last week which is the first book in this series. Normally I avoid reading books in a series back to back, so this was a first time for me in absolutely ages. I always worry that I will become bored of the characters if I go straight into the next book; luckily this did not happen with The Crimson Shard and I would say that I actually enjoyed it even more than the first book.

For a start, this book takes our time travellers Sunni and Blase, through a door into the 1800's, which is always a favourite period of time for me. It was lovely to see that Sunni's blooming friendship with Blase, depicted in the first book had moved onto a budding romance. I can't wait to see where their mutual admiration takes them in the future. Sunni is just a fantastic character,who never admits defeat. I loved the Shakespearean twist as Sunni is made to dress like a boy; a situation I felt she handled very well.

I was actually quite glad to see that Dean, Sunni's younger stepbrother did not feature in this book, as I did find him slightly annoying in the first book. He was just too whiny and a typically annoying young brother to me; just not built for exciting adventures through time.

Although this book is a sequel, it does not run with a tried and tested formula. It is completely different from the first book, leaving you wondering what to expect. Definitely a refreshing change to many books appearing in the series format.

I loved the way that hidden loose threads from the first book, found themselves woven into this story. The first book left no cliff hangers, yet this book actually discovered some hidden ones and brought them out into the open for everyone to read. Very clever move, Teresa Flavin!

I get the impression that the author has a great love for art, because the way she describes it really brings it to life for me and intrigues me enough to want to visit an art gallery. Normally paintings wouldn't appeal to me in the slightest, but this book has made me view paintings in a whole new light.

I have a little niggle with the book. I found I got a little confused with the characters. When the group of Victorians came to their rescue, I did get a little lost as to which one was which. I felt we were introduced to a succession of people very quickly, who were not always clearly distinguishable. This reminded me of a similar problem I had with book one where confusion hit me. Although it could just all be my age and short attention span!

Other than that, I felt that this book was an excellent sequel to its predecessor with a refreshing use of time travel. I can't wait to read the next one.
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on 16 October 2011
A pacy and exciting sequel to The Blackhope Enigma, this story follows the adventures of Sunni and Blaise as they find themselves in eighteenth century England amidst art thieves, body snatchers and time travellers. The plot twists and turns, some small and delightful illustrations accompany the text, and characters are brought to life with deft language and conversational touches. Flavin chooses great names for her Hogarthian cast and the novel would be very entertaining if read aloud.
As in The Blackhope Enigma the story has a focus on art with paintings taking centre stage.
The book could be read as a stand alone, but probably works better if read as a sequel to The Blackhope Enigma - not only are the characters familiar, but several unresolved plot lines from the first novel are resolved elegantly in this follow up. Sunni and Blaise are only slightly older, and there are signs of a developing relationship - it will be interesting to see how this is tackled in later sequels - hoping that there are some!
Highly recommended for young adults (and old adults) who enjoy art, time shifts, fast paced historical action, and the slightest glimmering of romance.
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on 14 September 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed the Blackhope series. When I was reading the first book I thought it might make a good fantasy film. Although, the third book completes the trilogy. I still think there is potential for spin offs in different directions, possibly with new characters etc
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