The first 30% of this book I was totally on board with.
The book opens in 1815, with Julia Percy, and her time-stopping dying grandfather. This openinThe first 30% of this book I was totally on board with.
The book opens in 1815, with Julia Percy, and her time-stopping dying grandfather. This opening was good - I sensed a lot of potential from the plot and the writing and I liked that it looked like it was going to be a historically probable novel (I mean, this is a book about time travelling, so I didn't think it was likely to be historically accurate, but it seemed like research and time was spent on getting a 19th century "feel").
And then it switched over to Nick Davenant, née Lord Nicholas, the Marquess of Falcott. He blinked forward in time from The Battle of Salmanca in 1812 to 2003. He finds himself part of the mysterious Guild, a secret organization by time travelers for time travelers. After an intense luxury assimilation training, every new Guild member receives 2 million pounds a year. Somehow, no one is suspicious of this shit. Like, seriously!?!? Does this not sound too good to be true?!? “Hello new time traveler! We’re giving you 2 million pounds a year and in return we want NOTHING from you!” Obviously something is up.
And part of the something that is up is that the Guild lies to its members, telling them that can only jump forward in time, never backward. After finally assimilating to the 21st century and enjoying his life of luxury, Nick is summoned by the Guild and told that not only can he go backward in time - he has to go back to 1815. Because there is a McGuffin somewhere in the past that the Guild hopes will divert a disastrous future. See, there is a future date - a date that is getting closer and closer all the time - that is the farthest future point into which time travelers can travel. And that future date is a violent, chaotic, possibly world-destroying time. It's the future no one wants to happen. So, like The Terminator, someone (here, Nick) must travel to the past to save the future.
Nick goes back to his own time period and resumes his old life, and recovers some of the arrogant dickery that he had during that period. He also re-establishes his flame for Julia Percy, who he met once and then obsessed about forever for no real reason (she's really, really pretty, guys).
At about this point, the novel switches from being a fun, awesome, interesting book about time travel to a romance novel by any other name. Because Nick spends some time trying to take down the Guild and find this McGuffin, but he mostly obsesses over JULIA PERCY. And Julia Percy, despite being a sheltered 19th century noblewoman (albeit one with an eccentric grandfather), acts likes a modern woman. Julia and Nick sleep together, and although Julia is a virgin and should know that this act has every possibility of destroying her future forever (this is the NINETEENTH CENTURY PEOPLE), feels very little quandary over having sex outside of marriage and of course has an amazing, soul-shaking first time. Because, right.
I mean, if Julia is so sure of Nick's love for her, and they are of the same class so there’s no reason they couldn’t get married, why doesn't she angle to just marry Nick, like most nineteenth century women would? Or at least get an engagement before getting into physical relations with him? I think Nick has some weird hangup about his time traveling or whatever for romantic complication purposes, so he refuses to propose to Julia. But Julia seems to have no thoughts as to marriage and its importance - even though that was the sole aim of women of her class and time.
This book was about 100 pages too long and the plot became more simplistic and less interesting as it went along (and Julia and Nick are no great love story, just a case of lust-at-first-sight). But I'm still interested in where the story is going overall and am in for the second book. ...more
This was really cool and pretty creepy until near the end when it became obvious that there would be NO ANSWERS.
There is a House. Which lets this seeThis was really cool and pretty creepy until near the end when it became obvious that there would be NO ANSWERS.
There is a House. Which lets this seedy Depression-era drifter travel through time killing people – notably girls who “shine.” The house already has a collection of kill trophies when he “first” enters. Harper’s story in the House is a closed time-loop. Which is cool – I appreciate how that happened.
But where did the House come from? If Harper took the key from the house to give to himself – where did the key come from?!? Did things happen and then they had already happened – or did they happen because they had already happened?!?! (like, Harper encounters a blind lady who asks him if he’s Bartek and he steals a coat and key from her – and then Harper “later” gives the lady the coat and key and tells her what to say). But, mostly, what is this House and how does it work and where did it come from and why is it dedicated to killing Shining girls and how did Harper decide to kill these particular girls in the first place besides the fact that he’d already killed (/attacked) them? We will never know.
The thriller/horror aspect of this serial killer novel was pretty good. I did find Kirby (one of the serial killer's potential victims) a little dull as a heroine. And I was expecting more from Dan, the reporter that helps Kirby and eventually becomes her mentor/lover. There was no spark in that romance and he went from curmudgeonly and interesting to an overprotective (wannabe) boyfriend as soon as he became romantically interested in Kirby.
All of Kirby’s careful research was pretty much for nothing, anyway, because eventually Harper showed up and she followed him back to the House…Kirby could’ve done nothing the entire book and STILL gotten to the same end. None of her actions actually did anything, except make her consider the possibility there was a time travelling killer. But she didn’t pursue any clues to actually catch him.
It was an interesting, quick pulp read - and for the most part, the time travel was handled surprisingly well. ...more
So much in such a little book and not what I expected at all. Miranda's (the main character's) favourite book is A Wrinkle in Time, which pretty muchSo much in such a little book and not what I expected at all. Miranda's (the main character's) favourite book is A Wrinkle in Time, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about this novel if you really think about it. There are kind of two intertwined stories that are really one story. The first is the story of a preteen girl going through the pangs of growing up, losing her best friend and finding new ones, overcoming preconceived notions of others, coming to terms with racism, first crushes, first impressions and all that jazz. And also the story of the strange notes that Miranda receives and the shadowy figure who asked her to write the letter she keeps mentioning and the mystery behind that.
And then I got to the climax and found out the solution to the mystery (which I had mostly already guessed). And then my mind exploded. And then I read some more and some more things were revealed and my mind exploded again. Not many YAs can do that to me. I loved it and felt that Stead dealt with everything beautifully. And in less than 200 pages. Stead is definitely one to watch. ...more
Do you know that the word “time machine” was invented by Wells? That is pretty badass. This is not just A time machine novel. This is THE time machineDo you know that the word “time machine” was invented by Wells? That is pretty badass. This is not just A time machine novel. This is THE time machine novel.
Wells uses a popular Victorian device here: a description of the events in a “true life” account. In this case, the narrator (unnamed) is chums with the Time Traveler. The Time Traveler shows the narrator and some other friends whose identities are also kept anonymous (and instead are called things like “The Editor”) his time machine. The Time Traveler claims that time is the fourth dimension (now a cliché, but I bet it wasn’t back then) and that he can go anywhere forward or backward in time. No one really believes him. Next time they see him, though, he comes in all dishevelled and half-starved and relates the fantastic tale of how he journeyed to the year 802,701 AD and barely escaped to the proper time with his life. No one really believes him again.
Despite the whole travelling-to-a-savage-Earth-and-losing-his-time-machine adventure, the Time Traveller doesn’t do much that’s very exciting. It’s more atmospheric. The Time Traveller is an observer, not a doer. And, the time being what it was, it’s a pretty paternalistic, oh-the-adorable-child-like-savages and the oh-the-vicious-animalistic-savages observation. Also, the Time Traveller has some pretty whacked theories on how mankind managed to split into the peaceful, Commie Eloi and the carnivorous, dark-dwelling Morlocks (he eventually settles on the idea that the Eloi are the descendants of the leisure classes – who got all soft and weak and dumb from having too much good in their lives and the Morlocks are the working class who got shunted underground and as a result became fierce but with an animal cunning). Oh, you silly Victorians, you.
I will say that the truth behind the Morlock/Eloi relationship would’ve been more stunning if I hadn’t read it before. (view spoiler)[That the Eloi are essentially the cattle of the Morlock, who tend to them and then eat them (hide spoiler)]. I guess that it’s just another brilliant idea of Wells’ that has filtered down into a literary trope. The book that used the same kind of relationship, by the way, is really, really amazing, but unfortunately has to be under spoiler tags for its own good. (view spoiler)[It’s The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. Read it, it’s brilliant. (hide spoiler)]
If you can’t stand Victorian literature, then this probably isn’t for you. But I really liked it and thought it was very solid classic sci-fi. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more