Published by Harper Collins Canada
Published On: September 20, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Adventure, Historical Fiction, America 1800s
Maturity Level: YA - some sexual content
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I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Somewhere in the Badlands, embedded deep in centuries-buried rock and sand, lies the skeleton of a massive dinosaur, larger than anything the late nineteenth-century world has ever seen. Some legends call it the Black Beauty, with its bones as black as ebony, but to seventeen-year-old Samuel Bolt, it’s the “rex,” the king dinosaur that could put him and his struggling, temperamental archaeologist father in the history books (and conveniently make his father forget he’s been kicked out of school), if they can just quarry it out.
But Samuel and his father aren’t the only ones after the rex. For Rachel Cartland this find could be her ticket to a different life, one where her loves of science and adventure aren’t just relegated to books and sitting rooms. And if she can’t prove herself on this expedition with her professor father, the only adventures she may have to look forward to are marriage or spinsterhood.
As their paths cross and the rivalry between their fathers becomes more intense, Samuel and Rachel are pushed closer together. Their flourishing romance is one that will never be allowed. And with both eyeing the same prize, it’s a romance that seems destined for failure. As their attraction deepens, danger looms on the other side of the hills, causing everyone’s secrets to come to light and forcing Samuel and Rachel to make a decision. Can they join forces to find their quarry, and with it a new life together, or will old enmities and prejudices keep them from both the rex and each other?
I think to really enjoy this book you have to just go with what is happening. There was a lot to pick apart but I decided to ignore all the little things and just enjoy myself. It really was a good book though, I know I’m making it seem like it wasn’t. It was something fun and interesting to read. I especially appreciated how unique the story was (but this author always has a unique story to tell). I can’t say that I’ve ever read a MG/YA book about hunting for dinosaur bones. It sounds like it would be a boring topic but that author made it actually kind of fun!
The plot was easily the best part of this book. It’s an adventure story so these characters really are taking you all over the place. I’m not sure if I’d compare it to Indiana Jones but the Romeo and Juliette part definitely fit. I think that maybe the plot would be more entertaining if read by a guy. There were just little parts that I could really tell that this was written by a guy and that I think a guy would find funnier. I also have 0 tolerance for what I call “guy humour” so someone who likes that kind of thing would like this more.
Let’s be honest though, my rating was heavily influenced by the presence of dinosaurs. No shame here.
I think the entertainment factor brought my star rating up because there were a few things I didn’t like at some points. I found there wasn’t much character development and that I couldn’t related much to either main character. Rachel was kind of hard to relate to because she was social awkward I guess you could say. She was super smart but it was like being smart took away a chunk of her personality. Samuel wasn’t too bad, he was the typical teenage guy who didn’t really have a clue what was happening most of the time. I get that it’s a different time period but the characters fell flat for me.
I also thought the very brief sex scene was pretty weird. I’m not sure what was going on there. It felt kind of rushed and just strange which I guess makes sense but it just didn’t feel fun like the rest of the story was.
I would recommend this to younger YA boys specifically. I think they’d like this the most. BUT that’s not saying girls wouldn’t like it too! If you love some quirky characters and a fun dinosaur hunting adventure then pick this book up for sure!
This book missed the mark a little bit for me. It had a GREAT plot line but the characters fell a little flat. It’s still an epic story though and I would definitely recommend.