Shortly after I started this site I came across The Photo Traveler as soon as I read the synopsis Arthur was kind enough to gift me an ARC to read in return for a review. This week I finally got around to reading it and as soon as I started I couldn't put it down. I haven't read many pure sci-fi books and I found myself really enjoying it.
I think that was mainly down to the lead, Gavin, I connected with him from the first words I read. He's had the worst luck in the world, his parents are dead, he lives with an abusive adoptive father and uses his attachment to photography to escape but what he doesn't know is that there is a reason he's so connected to photography.
After ruuning away and to his biological grandparents he learns he is a photo traveler, a unique and rare community who are able to travel to anywhere in the past by reciting a chant to a picture of that time. I loved this concept, I think we all have that one picture from historical times that we'd love to jump into so getting to read about people who can do it was amazing. Of course there are rules, it has to be a real picture and they mustn't mess with the past.
Although it all starts out well enough with Gavin getting to finally know his parents and starting a friendship with Mario (who I adore by the way. It turns into him not only having to protect himself but also his grandparents and only family, Bud and Estelle. He has to protect the vials they own from two so called peace hunters who are after them. This aspect of the story was great and how it developed was heartbreaking and satisfying at the same time. I think having this threat helps Gavin to realise his ability to protect himself and his family and he'll stop nothing at doing so.
Tied in with all this Gavin is Gavin's frequent trips to Mario's dead cousin, Alanna, he sees her picture and feels an instant connection, at first I wasn't sure about this and how it would develop but Arthur used it in exactly the right way and I can't wait to see the outcome of that relationship in the books to come. Alanna and Gavin really did seem to belong together but whether they will get together remains to be seen.
Every sci-fi book needs a great villain and The Photo Traveler started to build up to just this and as the series develops I can't wait to learn more about the villain of this tale.