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*Return to Aten: The Second Chronicle of Aten* by Lynn Sinclair - young adult book review





 
Return to Aten: The Second Chronicle of Aten
by Lynn Sinclair
Young adult 205 pages Brown Barn Books May 2006 Paperback    

In Return To Aten, Lynn Sinclair chronicles the further adventures of modern teenager Jodi in the future Earth world called Aten. Itís a world recovering from alien invasion, where humans are reduced to tribal societies, technology holds the power of magic, and Jodi herself is unaccountably important to the balance of power between the alien occupiers and their human neighbors.

While the plot is brief and tightly presented, Return To Aten never quite manages to stand on its own. The problem lies with the characters, especially Jodi. Aside from a few brief references to her previous adventures, Jodi gives no sign of being mentally or emotionally different than any other American teenager. Sheís impulsive, confused, and understandably even less prepared for the responsibilities of life on Aten than most teenagers are for the responsibilities of adulthood on Earth. Her instant acceptance of disasters, her occasional flashes of competence, and above all her complete readiness to abandon her world for the dark, unpleasant land of Aten clash with her mood swings and apparent fixation on whatever handsome boy is spending time with her. These things might assimilate into a cohesive character with more time or self awareness on Jodiís part, but her constant ignorance and utter lack of planning make her seem more an expository device than a solid and likeable person.

If Jodi is unsubstantial, Aten feels very real. Even seen through Jodiís first person journal view, Aten is a land with rich ecosystems, varied species of sentient beings, and well-developed spiritual and cultural traditions, all in the process of building a civilization from utter disaster. The desire to break free from Jodiís limited viewpoint and explore the world itself is often frustrating, and dull boy-crazy Jodi seems even les vital by comparison with the survival-driven Aten residents. Sinclair seems to have more adventures planned for the land of Aten. If she can leave Jodi behind, they should be grand journeys indeed.
 
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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