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Staff Book Reviews by Genre: Time Travel

The Outcasts of Time
Mortimer, Ian
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

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.
Invictus
Graudin, Ryan
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

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
Book Review: The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster
Wilbanks, Scott
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

What would you do if you found a door in your backyard that led to the past? Annie and Elsbeth are going to find out! This book has a little something in it for everyone - magic, time travel, history, heartwarming characters, a mystery, and a wonderfully grouchy old lady who I wish I could have tea with. I absolutely loved it!

Reviewer's Name: Krista
Genres:
Riggs, Ransom
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The story of Miss Peregrine's children just keeps getting better! I enjoyed the first book, but Hollow City, in my opinion, was a more finely tuned and intense story. So many beautiful and unusual images, and I love how the characters continue to grow and reveal hidden aspects of themselves. I can't wait until the final book come out!

Reviewer's Name: Cassie
Riggs, Ransom
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I liked this book better than book 1 (Mrs. Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children). It felt to me like book 1 was a prequel to this one. I'm glad there was some resolution with the main character's parents. I'll probably read the next installment. Definitely a cool idea to make a story out of found strange photos.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Ridgway, Bee
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I REALLY wanted to love this story - it has everything I usually enjoy in a book, and I was hoping it would come close to Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. But I couldn't bring myself to care too much about the characters when there was SO much going on. I felt like there wasn't enough of anything to appeal - the love story was somewhat tepid, the time travel portion was not utilized as much as it could have been, the politics were too convoluted.
Not to mention that I was horribly disappointed that the ending was left wide open to presumably include a sequel. I did give it three stars as, even with the above comments, I could not put the thing down. The historical aspects of the book were interesting, and the writing was compelling, in my opinion. I am also very curious what is up with Mr. Mibbs, I think he was one of the most interesting characters in the book.

Reviewer's Name: Krista
Genres:
Donnelly, Jennifer
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This was an engaging read. The parts about revolutionary France were particularly interesting. The protaganist was only mildly annoying which is good for a teen book. I also liked that it touches on music history and theory, French Revolution, and genetics. Overall, I'd recommend this book.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Genres:
Kurland, Lynn
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

If you enjoy historical romance that's more about the relationship and the time period than the bedroom scenes, this is a fabulous book! Part of Lynn Kurland's paranormal romance series with the MacLeods and the DePiagets, this is a fun, light-hearted time travel experience. Jennifer is a 21st century girl who ends up in 1229 England, and lives to tell about it!

Reviewer's Name: Deb
Sawatzki, Diane
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book mixes western, historical fiction, fantasy, adventure, and romance in a unique and exciting way. The main character gets transported to a different time and has to figure out a way to make it back, all while trying to stay alive. This author is also from Colorado and has based the story in the local area.

Reviewer's Name: Tori
Hunt, Samantha
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book tells the story [historical fiction] of final years of Nickola Tesla's life. I was swept up in the journey and couldn't wait to see what happened next.

Reviewer's Name: Nina