Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Plot Summary:
In the small town of Hopewell, excitement rarely happens. For Tucker Faye, most of his time is spent hanging out with his best friends and/or causing trouble. One day, when Tucker decided that he wanted to make his own catapult, he didn't realize the repercussions of launching the lawn gnome onto the roof. Tucker's father, Reverend Faye, is not only a God fearing man, but very strict. Tucker's mother, the church organist at the little parish, is just as devout as her husband, but a little more laid back. When Tucker's father came home to find that the shingles on the roof had been damaged, Tucker knew he was going to be in trouble. However, when his father went to the roof, and found the gnome, his father disappeared into thin air before Tucker's eyes. When he saw his father vanish, screamed for his mother and told her everything that happened. Although she didn't believe him, Tucker knew his father had gone missing and didn't know if he was going to come back. Well, an hour later, his father returned, but he looked older and was wearing strange blue stocking on his feet. What was even stranger is that he returned home with a girl Tucker's age, named Lahlia, and a small grey kitten. What was even more devastating is when the family sat down for dinner, his father refused to say grace and denounced the existence of God. Shocked, and worried, Tucker continued to ask his father about the day on the roof and his father would not answer. When Lhalia was adopted by another couple in town, things should have gone back to normal, but, unfortunately they did not. Since his father's return, his mother has been slowly losing her mind and his father refused every diagnosis she had received. As the year passed, Tucker withdrew from his family until he came home to an empty house with a note saying that his long lost uncle, Kosh, would be taking care of him until his parents returned. Ironically, on that very same day, Tucker saw something hover in the woods he was playing and that is when the ghosts appeared. Furthermore, Lahlia had also returned and started talking about a pure child, blood moon, Klaatu, and Diskos. At his uncle's farm, Tucker realized what Lahlia was talking about when a Diskos had sucked him up in a vortex that landed him on the roof of the second Twin Tower on September 1, 2001. The Diskos were real and Tucker knew that his father was also transported to another world, but why did he take his mother? Does he think that the whatever lies behind the Diskos could save her?

Critical Evaluation:
I really did not know what to expect when I picked up Pete Hautman's The Obsidian Blade. First of all, I didn't realize that this was would be a trilogy. Secondly, I didn't expect time travel and aliens. And, thirdly, I couldn't figure out what the Obsidian Blade was until 3/4 of the way through the book. Let's just say, I am impressed with how gripping and utterly complex this story is. Apparently, Tucker's little home town is a connecting point between one world or the other where portals/wormholes/Diskos are used to transport corporeal beings. The motivation behind the Diskos is kinda unnerving; who ever used the Diskos would be transported into times of devastation through out history. Long story short, the Diskos were looked down upon because if beings travel to other times, and upset the balance, they would be changing events that should have never been changed. However, the Diskos were still in operation by the Klaatu, who, despite their advanced technology, are just as primitive as we are. In many aspects, the Cydonian Pyramid and the Klaatu resemble the ancient Mayan and their pyramids; both cultures need a living blood sacrifice in order to thrive. Hautman, clearly, is exploring the power of religion and faith in this story and has managed to juxtapose two world using history and biblical premonitions (the Digital Plague/Plagues of Egypt). Furthermore, Tucker's father losing his faith, after coming to the Cydonian Pyramid, is not only devastating, but it tears the family apart; when the faithful preacher declared that God doesn't exist, everything changed. As for his mother Autism diagnosis, I am not quite sure where Hautman was going with this. Granted, folks with Autism are said to  have heightened sense (i.e., sensing paranormal entities), I am assuming that his mother's ghosts are being justified as autistic behavior and not seeing the Klaatu? As for Lahlia, why the Reverend saved her is still a mystery, but I am sure it will be revealed later on. Although we know what the Obsidian Blade is, we still have yet to learn why it was used and why Tucker was its victim. Anyways, there is a lot going on in this premise and I am hoping that it will reveal itself in the next two books, which I need to read ASAP before I forget all of the details. Read on, readers...read on!

Information about the Author:
According to his website:

I was born in 1952 in Berkeley, California.  I lived in the Bay Area until I was five, by which time I had three younger siblings. In 1958 we moved to St. Louis Park, Minnesota, where my parents continued to produce offspring.  By 1964 I had four brothers and two sisters. I attended Cedar Manor Elementary School (also the alma mater of Al Franken and the Coen brothers), and eventually graduated honor-free from St. Louis Park High School.  This is so tedious. Why do you keep reading?

For the next seven years I attended college, first at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design, then at the University of Minnesota, where I took nearly every one-level class offered, but very few three- or five-level classes.  I left college without graduating, but knowing a little bit about nearly everything, and a great deal about absolutely nothing.  That superficial education now serves me well at cocktail parties, and as a novelist.

After college I worked various jobs for which I was ill-suited, including sign painter, graphic artist, marketing executive, painter cap salesman, pineapple slicer, etc. Eventually, having no better options, I decided to write a novel. I finished writing Drawing Dead in 1991. Two years later it was published by Simon & Schuster.

In 2004 my novel Godless won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature. That's a huge deal if you are a writer. It made me deliriously happy.

Today, I live with novelist and poet Mary Logue in Golden Valley, Minnesota and Stockholm, Wisconsin. We have one small dog (are you still reading?) named Gaston. When I'm not writing or reading, I like to cook, run, bike, inline skate, hunt mushrooms, look at art, and take naps.

Genre:
Teen Sci-Fi, Teen Adventure


Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 9 & up

Books Similar to The Obsidian Blade:

Awards & Recognition:
From Amazon.com

This might be Hautman’s most daring book yet. Throughout, Hautman raises significant issues concerning family, faith, and destiny. Well-developed and complex characters, a fascinating time travel framework (including dispatches from the far future), and a heart-stopping conclusion will leave readers looking forward to the next book.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Vivid imagination and deft storytelling make for refreshing speculative fiction in this time-travel tale... Part science fiction, part adventure, part mystery, but every bit engrossing; be sure to start the hold list for the sequel.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

This fast-paced opener to the Klaatu Diskos trilogy will satiate adventure seekers, and the refined brain candy will be delicious to more thoughtful readers... Tantalizing.
—Booklist (starred review) 

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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