Tuesday, October 23, 2007

EPOCH by Timothy Carter--Book Review

EPOCH by Timothy Carter is one of the funniest books I've read in years. And I knew it would be, just by its back cover blurb--which takes the Biblical Book of Revelation and tells you that the apocalypse isn't playing out the way it is written.

At fourteen years old, Vincent Drear is already living a hellish life. Thanks to his parents, his brother Max, and their dedication to the Holy Triumvirate, Vincent spends his days saving souls and protesting movies about boy wizards. Problem is, Vincent isn't buying what the Triumvirate is selling these days and he ends up locked in the family's basement chapel for punishment a lot of the time.

While at his school's science fair, Vincent spots an elf who tells him the Triumvirate are right about one thing: the end of the world is coming--and it's coming in 48 hours!

The elf elicits Vincent's help to save the world from being eaten alive by hungry demons as soon as the epoch ends. To do this, Vincent must find the Portal Sites, which everyone can use to escape from the demons. But the Portal Sites are going to close soon and anyone left behind becomes demon food. Vincent's next problem, the demons are after him; the elves jam a bug up his nose which forces him to do everything they tell him to--like beat up his best friend, Big Tom--or risk excruciating pain; the elves and the pixies are both trying to find the Portal Sites, but they hate one another; and Vincent has to try and avoid Barnaby, the school bully, who loves using Vincent as a punching bag, while trying to figure out if Barnaby's father's company, the Alphega Corporation is involved in any of this.

Vincent is in a race against time as one obstacle after another wastes precious moments that could save the lives of everyone that Vincent holds dear.

EPOCH by Timothy Carter provides a unique outlook on the End Times, and does it with a heavy dose of humor. His characters are funny and sarcastic, but in the end most of them are trying to do the right thing--save lives (whether that be their own or others.) Vincent is a truly sympathtic character who is at the mercy of his parents' and brother's beliefs in the Triumvirate, and Carter does an excellent job of portaying--with humor--what a belief system taken to extreme measures can do. It is Vincent's decision to do whatever it takes to save people's lives--including going against his family's beliefs--which makes him stand out...and he does it at great cost.

This book could have used some minor editing, but the story captured me so deeply that almost nothing could pull me away. Carter knows what he's doing when it comes to writing for the teen market.

EPOCH by Timothy Carter will find its place among other fictional works about the End Times, and it will stand out because Carter dared to be funny about it.

1 comment:

Stephen B. Pearl said...

I originally picked up EPOCH because I met Mr. Carter at Polaris and I could get it autographed. As a result it took me a while to get around to reading it. When I did, I was sorry for two reasons. One, I was sorry I hadn’t read it sooner, and two, I was sorry I was finished because it was so much fun. I can’t think of a book that has made me laugh more. The lead character is likable but in no way sickly sweet. The conflict is solid, but Tim manages to make the situations that spring from that conflict both logical and hilarious. This is probably the best young adult novel I have ever read. Yes, I am including books about boy wizards which I also enjoyed in my comparison.

Along with being a load of fun the book also points out the real danger of religious extremism and the whole one true and only right way mentality. It even takes a shot at certain retail outlets with a less then stellar reputation.

If you haven’t read Epoch, you should treat yourself. If you have, watch out for flying red basketballs with lots of teeth. This is a great one for youth and adults and would make great fodder for a family read aloud evening with your preteens and teens.