The Photo Traveler by Arthur J Gonzales

The Photo Traveler by Arthur J Gonzales
Publisher: Fahrenheit Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (410 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

Seventeen-year-old Gavin Hillstone is resigned to being miserable for the rest of his life. Left alone in the world after his parents died in a fire when he was four, he was placed in foster care, which for him meant ending up in an abusive home with an alcoholic adoptive father.

Gavin’s only escape is in taking and creating images. His camera is his refuge from the unending torture and isolation of daily life in his “family.”

Until he learns by accident that he isn’t alone in the world after all. His father’s parents are still alive and living in Washington DC.

When he takes the plunge and travels 3,000 miles to find his grandparents, he learns that they—and he—are part of something much bigger, and more dangerous, than he could ever have imagined. Something that has always put his family at risk and that will now threaten his own life, while forever changing it.

He learns that he is one of the last descendants of a small group of Photo Travelers—people who can travel through time and space through images. But his initial excitement turns to fear, when he soon discovers that he and his grandparents are being pursued by the fierce remnants of a radical European Photo Traveler cult, the Peace Hunters. What Gavin has, they want!

His adventure will take him to past eras, like The Great Depression and the Salem Witch Trials. Gavin will have to discover who he really is and must make choices that spell the difference between life and death for himself, for the relatives he now knows and loves, and for the girl he will come to love.

For Gavin Hillstone, life will never be the same.

Time travel has always fascinated me. While it sounds totally fascinating and like it could be fun, I would view it with great trepidation if it were available. “Safe” is not word that is synonymous with time travel.

Gavin is seventeen years old before he even realizes why photography appeals to him so much. And his first photo travel on his own almost got him killed…

Mr. Gonzales does a nice job of creating a different world where photo travelers are scarce but still surviving. His main character, Gavin, has been living with an abusive stepfather and has no living relatives to his knowledge. When, in the heat of battle, he hears about his grandparents, he’s off to find them. This is the story of Gavin learning about his heritage and about the real circumstances of his parent’s “death”. Gavin is coming of age, but still has a lot to learn.

The author draws you in and makes you care about Gavin. I found myself sympathizing when he made mistakes. One thing I liked was that the author shows how little changes in the past can cause consequences in the future. Mr. Gonzales has created a large consequence for Gavin that totally surprised me, but makes perfect sense.

While Gavin is just trying to survive with his new knowledge, he finds he has enemies trying to kill him. How do you decide who your enemy is when you don’t know anyone where you live? There’s good tension from the worry of who might be after him. And I was even shocked over the death of one of the characters,

It reads well, kept my attention, and I enjoyed the story though sections of it made me feel sad. This would be good for both young adults and adults. The story ends with a cliff hanger and I’ll be watching for the next book in the series to read more. Have you ever imagined time travel? How about looking at a photo and being able to transfer yourself to that time and place? Open this book and you’ll be on your way.

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