The Obsidian Blade
By: Pete Hautman
Narrated by: Joshua Swanson
Tucker's life in rural Minnesota is uneventful. His father is the pastor of the local church. His parents are happily married, and Tucker is content to spend his days fishing and hanging out with his friends. Everything changes when his father disappears into a mysterious disk on the roof of their house. When he returns hours later with a strange girl, Tucker's simple life begins to unravel. His father claims to have lost his faith, and his mother withdraws, claiming to see ghosts. In an effort to reunite his family, Tucker is determined to unravel the truth behind the disks.
Audio Review: Joshua Swanson did a fantastic job narrating. I was pretty excited after I read the back of the audiobook and saw the numerous awards that Swanson has won for his work narrating audiobooks. He does a great job with Tucker's voice, adding a slight Minnesota accent. I really appreciate a diversity of voices in a narrator, and even Swanson's female voices were very good. All of that made for a very enjoyable listen.
Review: The Obisidian Blade is a remarkably solid time-travel story. I'm not sure that I appreciated the intricate details that Hautman added to the beginning of the story at first, but by about the second half of the novel I was astounded by the way it was put together. Time travel can be so very tricky since every piece of the plot has to hold together in order to make it believable.
However, I'm going to be up front that this book is probably not for every reader. It's a little heavier science fiction fare. But, honestly, I gobbled it up. Hautman introduces new civilizations with different languages and value systems. Some of them, like the Klaatu (for which the series is named), are a little abstract. But, I'm sure as the series continues, they will come into play in a more significant way. And, even though some of the concepts and civilizations are a little strange, they definitely add to the world, and are very believable.
Because Tucker's father is a pastor, there are references to religion. This is something that I'm very sensitive about. I think that there is a fine line to walk when it comes to religion in young adult literature. I think it can be very important to the story, but I appreciate it more when it's presented in a way that shows both the good and bad sides of religion. And this book is one of the best ways that I've seen religion portrayed in young adult fiction in some time. Tucker's father loses his religion. But, at the same time, other characters in the story find theirs. And it's just fascinating.
The Obsidian Blade is one of those books that really does get better upon reflection. If you are into science fiction, I highly recommend it. But, if you're looking for a steamy romance, it's probably best to move on, since there isn't any of that here. There are a few references to alcohol use (not underage), but no language issues or anything like that.