Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Pastworld by Ian Beck
Eve cannot remember her childhood. All she can remember is living with her blind guardian, Jack, in Victorian London. One night Jack gives Eve the news that a dangerous man wants to take Eve away. Eve runs away but she is pursued by a ragged beggar. A street performer, Jago, rescues Eve and invites her to join his traveling show. But Eve’s whole world crumbles when she learns that her “Victorian London” home is just a huge immersive amusement park, called Pastworld. People from the technologically advanced world visit Pastworld to get a taste of Victorian London life. Unbeknownst to Eve, she is a key component to the biggest attraction to the park: a re-creation of Jack the Ripper’s murders.
Pastworld is an intriguing, spell-binding read that is completely original and creative. At the beginning, Eve’s story mirrors such works by classic mystery writers like Wilkie Collins, Sir Conan Doyle, and Agathe Christie. Yet as the story progresses into the science-fiction realm, the setting seems influenced by such science-fiction authors like Orson Scott Card and Garth Nix. However, parents and librarians need to know that this book is intended for teenage readers, ages 14 and up, due to the graphic descriptions of murder scenes.