The Obsidian Blade: The Klaatu Diskos, Book 1

Common Sense Media says

Inventive time-travel tale mixes history, religion, sci-fi.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

As its characters bounce around in time and space, The Obsidian Blade provides some vividly detailed scenes from history, including the fall of the World Trade Center towers and the crucifixion of Jesus.

Positive messages

The Obsidian Blade emphasizes the importance of family and the need for individual members to look out for each other. Tucker's time traveling is not done for adventure, but in search of his missing, troubled parents.

Positive role models

Although he sometimes participates in silly pranks with his friends, 13-year-old Tucker Feye is a fairly well-behaved reverend's son. After his father abandons his belief in God and his mother slowly succumbs to mental illness, Tucker does his best to keep the peace in the household. But when his parents disappear, seemingly abandoning him, Tucker takes it upon himself to go looking for them via the mysterious "diskos" that appear in odd places around his hometown. Even though he is attacked and injured, he never gives up his quest to save his parents.

Violence

There's some violence in The Obsidian Blade, but not to excess. The protagonist, Tucker Feye, is stabbed by weird priests from the future, but he's quickly healed. The priests also wield laser-like, rod-shaped devices, and one of Tucker's allies is cut in half by their ray. Tucker also gets into a bloodless fistfight with a stranger. Some sensitive readers may be disturbed by two more realistic scenes: the burning towers on 9/11 and the crucifixion of Jesus.

Sex

Tucker initially finds the strange girl Lahlia unattractive, but as time goes one, he finds himself noticing how she has "filled out."

Language

Only a few instances each of "damn," "hell," and "dick."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Tucker's adult uncle Kosh drinks beer, sometimes to excess. An untrustworthy neighbor is rumored to have sold pot when he was a teen. One chapter is narrated from the viewpoint of the town drunk.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Obsidian Blade presents an odd mixture of science, fantasy, and religious themes. Tucker Feye's clergyman father actively rejects God, and Tucker's mother becomes mentally ill. There's not much strong language (a few instances each of "damn," "hell," and "dick"), and only the barest hint of sexual content. There's some violence (a stabbing, a fist fight, the killing of one of Tucker's allies), but more disturbing to some readers may be the scenes from real-life tragedies, such as the fall of the World Trade Center towers and the crucifixion of Jesus.

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What's the story?

Fourteen-year-old Tucker Feye sees a mysterious disc hovering over the roof of his house, and when his father, the Rev. Feye, climbs up to investigate, the older man mysteriously disappears. Rev. Feye returns a few hours later with a strange young girl in tow, and from that point on, Tucker's life is never the same. His father rejects God, his mother becomes mentally unbalanced, and the girl, who calls herself Lahlia, is adopted by neighboring farmers. Tucker's troubled parents eventually abandon him, and he sets off on a quest across time to bring them back safely.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Although it deals with some familiar themes from science fiction, THE OBSIDIAN BLADE puts an original spin on the time-travel tale, mixing history, religion, and seeming fantasy in unpredictable ways. Tucker, his parents, his uncle, and the mysterious Lahlia are complex and interesting characters, and author Pete Hautman puts them all in extraordinary circumstances for maximum conflict and suspense. It's hard to know from this opening volume exactly where this saga's headed, but most readers will recognize that they're in capable hands and look forward to the next installment.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why time travel us such a popular theme in science fiction and other genres. What other time-travel books have you read? 

  • What are some signs of mental illness? How can people with mental illness get the help they need?

  • How would you feel if your parents' religious beliefs changed drastically, virtually overnight? Would you argue with them? Go along with their new beliefs?

Book details

Author:Pete Hautman
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, History, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires, Space and aliens
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Candlewick Press
Publication date:April 10, 2012
Number of pages:320
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17
Available on:Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook, Paperback

This review of The Obsidian Blade: The Klaatu Diskos, Book 1 was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

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  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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