In Tarquin Jenkins and the Book of Dreams, we follow 15 year old Tarquin Jenkins as he learns to travel through time and uses his vast history knowledge to get himself into trouble. Tarquin’s parents were also time travelers, and Tarquin’s uncle Jules is in on a plot to learn what Tarquin’s parents knew and find the clues they’ve hidden. And a journal Tarquin found in 1671 might just be the key to what everyone is looking for.
A fun and wonderfully quirky read, Tarquin Jenkins’ adventures are filled with references to thrill every pop-culture geek, and follows in the footsteps of Tarquin’s fellow space and time travelers. In Tarquin Jenkins and the Book of Dreams, it’s hilarious to see imagined personas of such figures as King Charles II, Sir Isaac Newton, and Alice Cooper; not to mention the creatures impersonating other people like leprechauns and Hillary Clinton, the android who “became” Madonna, and the Griddleback droid General Washington
Inconsistent pacing made this book harder to read than it should have. The author participates in something my English teacher liked to call “Thesaurus Abuse.” It’s where you replace a shorter word or phrase with a more pretentious, longer word that many people have never seen before. Ford is not the worst perpetrator I’ve ever seen, but his word choice can get clunky, and it affects the rhythm and pacing of the novel, particularly in the begining.
The plot relies heavily on backstory and things that happened years ago, but it’s all explained relatively well. There were just some instances where the story would have been more impactful coming from a character who was directly affected by it. Georgia Blade’s tragic past is the one that jumps to mind; it’s great that we learned about her past, but we should have heard it from her. When Seamus tells her story, there’s no emotion to it, and I guarantee that would not have been the case if we heard from Georgia instead.
- 4/5 Stars
- Fun read
- Occasionally clunky word choice
- Endearingly quirky