Book Reviews by Genre: Time Travel

Never a Hero book jacket
Len, Vanessa
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

"Never a Hero" is the second book in the gripping series "Only a Monster"
that revolves around the life of the main character, Joan. The series follows Joan,
a monster, as she tries to find her way in a world where monsters roam around
without notice. This series is a perfect blend of romance, fantasy, adventure, and
drama, making it an ideal pick for readers of all ages.

The book begins with Joan's return to the Hunt house, where she and her
"family" face even more danger than before as the new villain, Eleanor, attempts
to change the timeline, just as Joan did in the past book. The book is a thrilling
ride, packed with numerous twists and turns, and features appearances from
several characters from the first book.

Readers who enjoyed the first book will undoubtedly be engrossed in the
sequel as the story builds upon the previous book's foundation. The author has
beautifully crafted the plot, and the characters' development is amazing. With
each page, the story progresses towards an intense climax as the fate of the
timeline hangs in the balance of Joan and her friends once again.
Overall, "Never a Hero" is a must-read for anyone who loves an engaging
and immersive story. Whether you are a fan of romance, fantasy, adventure, or
drama, this book has something for everyone. So, dive into this heart-wrenching
series and experience the thrill of this fantastic world full of monsters, heroes,
and adventure.

Reviewer's Name: Belle
Before the Coffee Gets Cold book jacket
Kawaguchi, Toshikazu
4 stars = Really Good

“Before the Coffee Gets Cold” is a story about a cafe that can send you back in time, so long as you drink your coffee in a particular seat. A variety of customers come to the cafe to meet with people they’d otherwise have no chance to see. However, there are several rules. The two most important are that the present will never be changed and that the time traveler must return before the coffee gets cold.

Each story is interesting and heartfelt in its own right. My personal favorite was Hirai’s story about her sister, particularly because of how it was up in the previous stories. That’s another aspect of this book. These stories are all interconnected. Aside from the first woman, each main character is shown beforehand. This book also keeps the stories from being repetitive. There’s enough of a twist on each story, one woman wants to meet her husband who’s losing his memory. Another wants to express her feelings to her ex-boyfriend. All the reasons are different enough to keep the story fresh.

The characters are all likable too, although there are a few strange moments in the beginning. All of them are given a little backstory, but not much. All in all, it’s nice without being extraordinary.

This is a quick and cozy read that I’d recommend to almost anyone. Especially if you’re interested in speculative fiction.

Reviewer's Name: Rose
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency book jacket
Adams, Douglas
4 stars = Really Good

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is a story about love, loss, stuck couches, time travel, bad magic tricks, and the beginning of everything. It's an examination of death, life, conscious, and missing cats. But mostly, it's about a detective agency that does no detective work, and the people that get roped into it.
It would be very hard for me to describe the plot of Dirk Gently's Detective Agency. It's a book that's highly based on time travel, and this is fully taken advantage of in the novel. Things happen out of order, and it doesn't follow the protagonists journey through time. Rather, the reader and the characters are forced to piece everything together one strange moment at a time. I had to read this book, reread the ending again, then cave and read Wikipedia before every piece fell into place. This is a book that needs to be read more than once. The question is if it's worth it. I feel that it is!
This book exhibits some of the best of Douglas Adams: nonsensical stories, quirky characters, silly syntax, and an emphasis on the absurd. I especially love how are the characters are connected, by circumstance or otherwise. I like the protagonist is confused all the time, because that made him very relatable over the course of the story. The story managed to be both extremely funny and heart wrenching and heartwarming in a relatively short amount of time, without too much whiplash. Every character makes you laugh while they pull at your heartstrings. Basically, everything weaves together like a quilt, whether the writing or plot or characters, to make something fun and fascinating and endlessly comfy!
All in all, this is an extremely interesting and funny book. I docked it some points because the confusing plot can detract from the story, but that's the only flaw I could find! I would recommend this to anyone who likes time travel, hilarious writing, and a real rollercoaster of a story!
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Eve
A World Out of Time
Niven, Larry
2 stars = Meh

I’m starting to realize that science fiction in the 1970s might need to stay there. While there was a lot of progress in the genre past the golden era of the 1950s, many of these books are unfortunate snapshots of a time that has not aged well. Similar to Ringworld , I found A World Out of Time to rely heavily on the sexism that runs rampant through 1970s sci-fi. Additionally, while the hard science presented in this book was generally plausible, the way it was presented was so dry and dense as to make it more of a Ph.D. thesis than an entertaining read.

On the plus side, A World Out of Time explores many scientific ideas that were well ahead of its time. Aside from the normal sci-fi tropes of mind implants and artificial intelligence, this book also deals with climate change in a way that hasn’t been felt until now. Granted, it blames this extreme change of the Earth’s environment on the sun and less on the humans who inhabit it, but the thinking about what would happen to our planet if such a thing were to happen was thorough enough to be believable.

Despite these forward-thinking ideas, A World Out of Time treats sex and drugs as inconsequential parts of life in the future. It’s clear the culture of the 1970s influenced this part of the book, but it feels so outdated compared to today’s standards that it was difficult to read without rolling my eyes. Sure, it’s probably less prominent than the pulpy science fiction stories that came before it, but the fact that the author felt these things needed to be included tells me more than I need to know about him.

A dry hard sci-fi novel that hasn’t aged that well, I give A World Out of Time 2.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
A Million Worlds With You
Gray, Claudia
3 stars = Pretty Good

This book is my least favorite in the series. To be honest, I felt Marguerite was self-centered and only focused on Paul. I felt this way in the second book too, but not as strongly. I enjoyed the ending but, like I said Marguerite was annoying in my point of view. Overall though I thought the plot was just good and I did not expect it to end that way. I honestly feel neutral about this book. For those reading I hope you enjoy.

Reviewer's Name: Lilly Font
Ten Thousand Skies Above You
Gray, Claudia
4 stars = Really Good

Ten Thousand Skies Above You I enjoyed immensely.
I picked this book because, well, I judge books by their covers. I mean just look at the cover, it's skillfully done! When reading the book there were some slow parts but it makes it all worth while once you get to one of the groundbreaking plot twists. I recommend this book to people who love a little bit of romance, mystery, fantasy. This swept me away to a new world, and while I can't say I can relate to Marguerite (because, well, I have traveled to other dimensions first hand) I liked the story, it has a excellent structure and build up. I like the first one a bit better but again this one was executed well too.

Reviewer's Name: Lilly
Faye, Faraway
Fisher, Helen
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

This is going to be one of my favorites of the year, it just hit me right in the gut. That feeling of nostalgia and wishing you could go back in time to tell yourself "it's going to be okay. " The eternal tug between looking backward, and trying to stay focused in the present. And knowing that when you lose someone, there are always things left unsaid. I just loved it.

Reviewer's Name: Krista
Book Review: The Future of Us
Asher, Jay & Mackler, Caroline
2 stars = Meh

The Future of Us follows Josh and Emma, two teens in the year 1996, who log in to Emma's computer, and are automatically logged in to an unfamiliar site called Facebook. Throughout the story, they work to alter their future, seeing it change every time they login to Facebook. At first, they are estranged friends, but we see them grow closer the more they encounter. This book, while it has an interesting premise, was not particularly fun to read. It was not particularly immersive, and the events just seemed to happen, not really dragging the reader into the story the way I prefer. Recommended for ages 12+

Reviewer's Name: Settare R
The Future of Another Timeline
Newitz, Annalee
3 stars = Pretty Good

Tess is a time traveling member of the Daughters of Harriet, a group that does it's best to make their present time, 2022, a safe place for women, whether cis or trans. There's a men's right's activist group from further in the future trying to undermine their efforts by erasing the Daughters of Harriet and women's rights folks from the timeline. Meanwhile, in 1992, teenager Beth, a friend from Tess' past, finds herself in a bit of a pickle. She and her friends kill a boy who was in the process of sexually assaulting their friend. This starts the girls down a murderous path that Tess will do her best to stop.

For the most part, I enjoyed this book. I usually enjoy time travel, unless its being used as a cheap plot device which was definitely not the case here. Newitz did a lot of homework for this one - the historical notes at the end were really interesting and trips to the past often include historical figures. The story alternates between Tess and Beth with a few other perspectives thrown in on occasion. Tess mainly splits her time between the late 1800s (easily my favorite parts), the early 1990s and her present in 2022, while Beth's story is firmly situated in 1992. While I enjoyed both stories, I never really felt compelled to read the book. Both perspectives were interesting, but not captivating or thought-provoking (though I suspect the book will provide plenty of thinking material for some readers). As a result, certain plot points felt unnecessary and the book felt overlong. I really hated the way Tess' story ended. Nonetheless, its an enjoyable read that makes a great point (women are people too, who knew?) that I would recommend to science fiction readers that are interested in women, women's and LGBT rights. There's also quite a bit of 90's punk rock that readers of a certain age will love. The ending is also quite optimistic, which I wasn't expecting, but did welcome.

TLDR: The Future of Another Timeline is interesting book full of time travel shenanigans that is plagued by the same issues that all time travel book face. Ultimately, while the book was fun, feminist and full of salient social commentary, it wasn't compelling.

3 stars - I liked it.

Thanks to Netgalley and Tor for the advance copy which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. The Future of Another Timeline will be available for purchase on 24 September, but you can put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: Britt
The Time Traveler's Wife
Niffenegger, Audrey
4 stars = Really Good

I find myself somewhat conflicted between two mediums whenever a book is made
into a movie. On the one hand, I truly enjoyed The Time Traveler's Wife
(2009) when I first saw it. While the book the movie was based on has a lot
more material, it became obvious that a lot of this material could easily be
cut for the movie and very little would be lost in the narrative. Despite
this material (which I'll get to in a bit), the book is lavishly and
poetically written and was a joy to read.

With a main character who can time travel, I'm having a tough time
determining if the foreshadowing in this book was brilliant or just a bit too
heavy-handed. I'm also not sure if I even like the main characters themselves
since they're essentially the definition of "white privilege" (with all the
trust funds, alcoholism and casual drug use, and "academic" or "artistic"
professions to boot). What stood out in this book, though, was the enormous
amount of sex. I almost wondered if this was supposed to be erotica. While it
was even shocking at times (I'm looking at you, ending), I can't help but
wonder if it's considered cheating when a husband has sex with his wife at
different times in their relationship.

All this being said, the strength of the writing helped to cover up some of
its weaknesses. Sure, you could make the argument that this is a study in
Stockholm syndrome, but you could also give it credit for creatively handling
the science fiction theme of time travel in an interesting and unique new
fashion. There are a lot of questions that inevitably pop up with the
continuity of a time-traveling character, and I felt that the worldbuilding
done to ground this concept was particularly exceptional. In the end, The
Time Traveler's Wife is a descriptive and heart-warming/wrenching tale that
at least deserves one read-through.

A romantic book wrapped tightly in a single sci-fi element, I give The Time
Traveler’s Wife 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Crichton, Michael
3 stars = Pretty Good

It’s been a while since I read any Michael Crichton. I thoroughly enjoyed Jurassic Park —and to a lesser extent, The Lost World . I enjoyed the action and the science that went into creating these stories, helping to educate as well as entertain (kind of like my own writing style, if I do say so myself :D). For Timeline, the science in question is more quantum in nature, but I felt the explanations given were sufficient to arrive at a time-travel narrative, even if it did require a small amount of scientific hand-waving. Also, a lot of my perceptions about the dark ages were completely flipped around through this book’s meticulous details.

Even though I liked the scientific and historical sections of this book, there were undoubtedly some weaknesses I cannot overlook. First of all, Crichton seems to like hammering home the idea that science as an entertainment business is a bad idea (a la Jurassic Park) but the corporate sub-plot seemed a little less thought out and didn’t play too much into the grand scheme of things. As for the main plot itself, it seemed distracted most of the time, rarely remembering why these characters were sent back in time in the first place. Some of the characters weren’t even that compelling either, which didn’t help.

I wanted to like this book more, but by the end of the narrative, I got the sense that this was more akin to an action-movie screenplay or video game plot than an actual book. The countdown to the climax was a little hard to keep track of earlier in the book, and it didn’t provide the needed tension early on that it did near the end. Plus, the characters were usually the ones calling out the timestamps anyway, making it mostly redundant. In the end, there were some neat ideas regarding quantum physics, time travel, and history that makes Timeline an educational read, even if it is only once.

A Crichton book heavy in action, but light on plot, I give Timeline 3.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin
The Outcasts of Time
Mortimer, Ian
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

This book follows the story of two brothers John and William in 1340’s Medieval England who are suffering from the Black Death. But as their end draws near, they are given a choice that changes the course of their lives forever. They are told that they have six days left to live, which they can either spend with their loved ones, or search for salvation and redemption for their lives across the centuries; spending each one of their remaining days 99 years after the last. So, each day takes places one century after the last. The brothers choose the latter and are launched into an adventure that spans centuries in the time frame of a few days.

Observers of the world across centuries, John and William hardly recognize the world around them each day they wake up, and as their journey for salvation progresses, questions the world around them in a way that has readers questioning humanities true motives. Rather than focusing on the good things and advancements the world has made through the centuries, the characters, especially John, ponder how these advancements have brought humanity farther and farther away from God. As the years and days progress, the novel asks the question what is true salvation really and examines the idea of what is good verses bad?

When I received an ARC of this book in the mail from the publisher at first, I wasn’t exactly sure what to make of it, but as I read the back, I became excited, because this book deals with a sci-fi like subject of time travel in a way I haven’t seen before. This book took me a while to get through and it also is a book that really makes you think. Warning! If you are looking for only a traditional time travel sci-fi book, this book is probably not for you however, if you like historical fiction this book is probably more for you. This book deals with time travel in a highly conceptual way. It is a time travel book written by a very noted historian and reads very much like a historical novel with all the historical details you would find in a history book. But it is also very philosophical as the main character questions the world and the ideas in it. As this quote from John shows when he is discussing, with the family he is staying with, the bad things done by others around them.

“I myself wish for nothing more than to spend the rest of my days engaged in good deeds,’ I say. But how can I tell what a good deed is in this day and age? What is “good” and “bad” if God’s law is constantly changing? How can we do good if the meaning of “good” and “bad” are dependent on who wins the war? How can a man go through this world in sure knowledge that he is doing the right and proper thing?”

This is just one of many philosophical musings that the author poses through the book that seek to answer difficult questions and these details really make the reader think and ponder the difficult answers to questions like, what is good verses bad. These details I think also give the book a conceptual quality that puts it above the norm and makes it more than just another sci-fi book about time travel.

Ian Mortimer is an excellent historian and the historical detail in this book are incredible! He weaves together history and time travel in a highly original and interesting way that makes readers both question the world and presents readers with a clear picture of England’s evolution from a small underdeveloped town to a large industrial country that leads the world in more ways than one. I highly recommend this book for readers of historical fiction or anyone who likes highly conceptual, philosophical books that question the world and everything in it. I give this book a solid 5 out of 5 stars!

Thank you to the publisher Pegasus Books for an ARC of this book for review.

Reviewer's Name: Tawnie M.
Bergren, Lisa T.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

Please, please, please read this book! You won’t regret it! It is the third and final book in the River of Time. Please read the books in order to avoid serious confusion. It is a mixed of different genars to time-travel to romance to adventure. You will not get bored with this book. It is one of the best books I have read ever!

Reviewer Grade 8.

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth C.
Bergren, Lisa T.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

If you haven’t already PLEASE READ THIS BOOK! It is a great book to read!
It is the second book in the River of Time trilogy. Please read the books in order or you will have no clue what’s going on. It is a time-travel, historical fiction, adventure, and romance book. This book will keep you on your toes. It is one of the best books I have read this year!

Reviewer Grade 8.

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth C.
Bergren, Lisa T.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!

This is an amazing book! It is a time-travel and historical fiction novel with adventure and mixed in. Also there is some romance (so boys might not like this book). It is the first book in the River of Time trilogy (please read the books in order). There’s not one slow part in this book however, there is a cliffhanger at the end. It is one of the best books I have read all year! Reviewer Grade 8.

Reviewer's Name: Elizabeth C.
Book Review: Time Riders Day of the Predator
Scarrow, Alex
4 stars = Really Good

Day of the Predator, by Alex Scarrow takes place in 2001 in an archway in New York. The main characters are Time Riders, people who watch over time and make sure it doesn’t become corrupt. The story start when someone who would write a report in 2026 that would eventually begin time travel is assassinated in 2015. The Time Riders head to 2015 to try to stop the assassination before it can happen. The setting is in Texas where they land in a laboratory that is testing zero-point energy. The entire class the writer was in and the Time Riders are caught in an explosion caused by tachyons, particles that move faster than light. Instead of killing them, the explosion sends them 65 million years ago, 250,000 years before the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs happened. There a super intelligent undocumented species of reptiles (not dinosaurs) discovers them and silently begins to hunt them. They don’t make their appearance until later in the book. This species is intelligent enough to think and successfully manages to kill off the humans, except the Time Riders and the two humans that they could save who managed to warp back to 2001 in time. But when they get there, there is another problem. Actions packed and interesting, Alex Scarrow makes his book seem like a possible future for humans in another reality.

Reviewer's Name: Nathanael G.
Mancusi, Mari
2 stars = Meh

Scorched by Mari Mancusi can be summed up in one word. Meh. The story fell flat from its interesting premise. I expected a book where the main character was teetering on the edge of sanity. Someone who would snatch up a dragon egg and fight to protect it herself. But I didn't get that. I got a girl who had to be pulled and prompted by other characters. The museum scene was disappointing. I expected her to attack the boy, and run away with the egg. Instead he rescued her and she just kind of floated along with the story. It wasn't a horrible story, it had enough action and interest in it. But the characters felt flat and the main character was dependent on others.
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Morgan J.
Graudin, Ryan
4 stars = Really Good

Faraway McCarthy was born to be a time traveler. Literally. His mother, Empra McCarthy, had him in the midst of a time traveling journey of her own and he was born outside of time. Currently, he's the #1 cadet at the time traveling training school and is looking forward to a career as illustrious as his mother's. But then his final exam is sabotaged, and he's unceremoniously kicked out of school. When a black market smuggler approaches him with the opportunity to recruit his own crew and travel to the past to steal ancient artifacts, Far takes the offer.

This was pure fun - I love heists and time travel shenanigans, and this had both. While it is a longer book, the fast pacing and well drawn characters make this a relatively quick read. Each member of the crew has at least one chapter written from their perspective, and I really enjoyed getting to know them all, particularly Imogen (Far's snarky but kind cousin). They are a somewhat diverse, fun group, and their strong friendships and healthy relationships were a joy to read about. Are any of the concepts or plot points particularly novel? Nope, but it didn't matter, because the cast and the story are just that fun.

In addition to the crew committing heists, there are other mysterious elements in the form of another time traveler who appears out of nowhere on a job (on the Titanic!) as well as in the mystery of where (when?) Empra is - she went out on a mission when Far was quite young and never came back. The reveals of both mysteries are pretty great, and I honestly didn't see either coming.

Also, and this cannot be stressed enough, but the crew of the Invictus has a pet and it is a RED PANDA (!!!) named Saffron. So much cuteness.

As it's not exactly a novel concept, I think this books screams for comparison (Doctor Who seems inevitable), but I would almost think of this more like an entirely human time traveling version of the Guardians of the Galaxy. I read it when I was suffering from reading fatigue, and it was a total refresher. I really liked it! 4 stars.

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Fish Tails
Tepper, Sheri S.
4 stars = Really Good

I decided to choose the book because it looked like it would tell a great story and it did. I liked the book due to its great lessons inside about the imperfections of our minds, but the greatness of them too. The part I enjoyed most was the journey f the main characters and how they didn't change their personalities and stayed focused on the topic. The part I didn't really enjoy was that the story went kinda slow. The book was pretty predictable, but the lessons and thoughts behind you need to think more about to get, so it was still entertaining to read. It was an amazing book to read and I definitely recommend it.
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Inayah V.
Soccer on Sunday
Osborne, Mary Pope
4 stars = Really Good


Reviewer's Name: Ben