Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Middle Grade/YA Review: Traveler in Black and White


Title: The Traveler in Black and White (Princelings of the East Book 4)
Author: Jemima Pett
Publisher: Princeling's Publications, 2012.  190 pages.
Sourece: ebook won in giveaway

Publisher's summary: "In the fourth book in the Princelings of the East series, Lord Mariusz of Hattan narrates, in his own Chandler-esque style, how he came to explore the world on the end of the time tunnel, and why he adopted the pseudonym Hugo in the first place."

The comment about "Chandler-esque" is spot on.  This book is for older kids, more of a PG-13 sort of thing, though references to sex are pretty oblique and will go over the heads of younger kids.  The level of violence is a bit higher than in the first three Princelings books, too.  That warning out of the way, this is a very engaging story, told by a rather American Hugo, a.k.a. Mariusz of Hattan (Manhattan, anyone?  Just guessing. . . .), who is trying to learn his way around a strange world and make a buck.

The story takes us back ten years in the world of the Princelings, so that the characters from the other books are much younger (a very young Victor is a total charmer), and some we have grown to love don't show up at all (like Fred and George).  The story is fast-paced, adventurous, and has just a touch of the supernatural.  I wasn't sure at first I liked that (just a taste thing), but Ms. Pett handles it with her usual skill, and there is nothing in the story that isn't necessary.

In a departure from the earlier books, Hugo tells his own story in the the first person, and his hard-boiled attitude lends to the fun.  This is definitely not a series that is giving us cookie-cutter books, but each addition has been my new favorite, and this one was no exception.

For any readers old enough to cope with some violence and not to be put off by the implication that Hugo philanders a bit.  Tweens up, with, as usual, as much or more appeal to adults as to the children.

Full Disclosure: I won The Traveler in Black and White in a giveaway, with no expectation from the writer or publisher for anything.  I offer here my honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."  


  1. I am so glad you like this one as much as I did Rebecca, in fact this is my favourite so far, but I have Victor Bravo loaded on my ipad and will get to it soon, so we will see if it tops it. Thanks so much for your great review and for joining us on the Kid Lit Blog Hop

    1. I need to double-check if I have BV. But you'll see in a week or two that I liked Talent Seekers even more! I think Jemima just keeps getting better.

  2. I've heard good things about this series and just picked up the first one for free the other day so I'm looking forward to reading it. I'm thankful for your warning that it's more of a PG-13 book. Knowing that, I'll wait a little longer before handing it to my 9-year old. Found you on the Kid Lit Blog Hop, and you are always welcome to join Booknificent Thursdays, my all-things-books link-up every Thursday on

    1. Thanks for coming by, Tina! There's nothing about the first book that will be a problem for your 9-y.o. Maybe nothing about this, or any of them; I never know really and there's a lot of violence in kids books these days.

  3. I hope the first three are suitable for 9 year olds, as I know a number were enjoying them! I decided to let it stretch a little as the series progresses.. BV has less violence (hardly any) and the only paranormal is of a previously identified character, so it isn't relevant to the plot. What BV has is an introduction to technological innovation and venture capital for 12 year olds (not in those words!) And its free on kindle next Tuesday and Wednesday :D

    Thanks for reviewing Traveler, Rebecca, it's much appreciated!

  4. The fourth sounds so different from the first three - good thing Jemima pitches it as a Trilogy (first 3 books)! I've heard the fourth is a bit more "advanced". I actually like the idea of mixing it up - it seems to work in keeping the reader engaged with the series. Thanks for sharing your review in the Kid Lit Blog Hop! I've got to keep reading this series!!

    1. It's worked with keeping me engaged, for sure! It is different--different sort of narrator, different tone. Still a great story. I'm taking note, and thinking about letting the Ninja Librarian speak for himself some in the next book.

  5. Thanks for the review. I would never have guessed by the cover art what this book was about.

  6. Sally, that's a valid point! I find the cover striking, but it's not illuminating in that way (and I never have quite gotten Hugo's face straight).


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