Tuesday 8 October 2013

Portal 24 by Meredith Stroud

When teen con-artist Darius is approached by a mysterious government agent about joining a 'Project Oberon', he has no idea what to expect. Certainly not that Project Oberon is actually a top-secret experiment which sends teens back through time to prevent disasters before they happen! Before Darius has time to wonder why he's been chosen, his first mission arrives in the form of a huge electromagnetic weapon of mass destruction, which will kill millions of people in New York - unless Darius and the team can stop it. They're confident; it's all in a day's work for these teen wonders, but what they don't bet on is evil mastermind Ludd. And what they don't know is that Ludd knows the deadly secret behind Project Oberon. If Darius and the gang don't make it back to the portal within twenty-four hours, then they'll be lost in time forever...

The story starts quickly, with Darius conning tourists on the streets of Memphis and suddenly being propositioned by a government agent. They want Darius to join their team of time-travelling teens that help save the world by avoiding major disasters. The story had a really interesting premise but unfortunately it fell short of being great. 

The protagonist Darius is a con man, therefore nothing is really as it seems with him and he always appears just a bit emotionally distant. Even as we see him with his girlfriend and his new team, I didn't connect with him like I wanted to. As for the secondary characters, the rest of the team, I don't think we really understand them. They were full of contradictions, especially Constance, as awesome as she is, she didn't make much sense as a character. Saying that, I did like the variety of the characters. As simple and sort of two dimensional as they were, I liked the way the team had bonded and each member had a speciality. 

I really liked the science-fiction and time travel element, even if I didn't understand the technical explanation. I thought the whole idea of snatching up teens who are about to die and recruit them to save the world was quite cool! I also really liked the rules and restrictions, it made it feel a bit more real, like the government actually is controlling time travel. Which is a scary thought! But I did appreciate the restrictions, wouldn't want it to be too easy for them!

My main problem with this was that it was really short. The synopsis gave most of it away and that just ruined the twists. While it was non-stop and action packed, it lacked any real depth, whether this was just the length of the book or what, it had such great potential but didn't get a chance to develop. And that is a real shame because the characters would have been great if we were allowed to get to know them and the plot would have been amazing if it wasn't rushed. 

Published 5th September 2013 by Hot Key Books. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review. 

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