09 July 2011
Rex Riders by J.P. Carlson
Grade Level: Actual reading level, 5-9 (see review)
This was a score from Library Thing's Early Reviewers, and therefore, I really wanted to like this book. Never have I been so discouraged with a book that I simply had to stop reading it. This was my first.
I love dinosaurs. I love a good cowboy story especially if you make it a good old fashion fantasy right along with it. But Rex Riders was a disappointment from the beginning. The story is very disjointed, the descriptions are wordy and still I can't get a good picture in my mind, and the author seems more intent on telling us all his knowledge of little trivia from the old west then telling a cohesive story. the storyline is so broken up, that I wouldn't let even 5-9th graders read it because they may be just as confused as I was, but the language usage is definitely for those grades, maybe even lower.
Zeke is a fifteen year old boy living with his Uncle Jesse on his ranch in Texas. Zeke is a boy who can't stay out of trouble and Uncle Jesse is about as stubborn and old fashioned in his ways as they come. When dinosaurs start popping up in their small town, things really start going haywire.
Seriously, it may sound interesting and maybe you will have more luck with the book than I did, afterall we all have different tastes (and after looking at some reviews on Goodreads, it does seem that some people enjoy the book), but me--woman who hasn't found a YA book she doesn't like or at least find some value in--says this is just a catastrophe of writing. The foreshadowing is as bland and obvious as it comes, and the entire storyline is so choppy that you can't get your hooks into anything. Even when Zeke meets a sweet, fiery girl, it hints at some sort of romance, but there is no more mention of it for over 50+ pages. Don't mention what you aren't going to keep at, if it's not mentioned within 50 pages of the first mention, you've lost your audience. Also, the story would have been much better without exposition on things like the importance of beef jerky in the old west.