Monthly Archives: June 2013

Review of Timebound (previously Time’s Twisted Arrow) by Rysa Walker

Cover of Timebound

Note: When I read this book it was called Time’s Twisted Arrow; the title has now been changed to Timebound.

Rating: an enthusiastic 5/5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): When Kate Pierce-Keller’s grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes she’s delusional. But it all becomes horrifyingly real when an assassination in the past destroys the foundation of Kate’s present-day life. Suddenly, that medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from ceasing to exist.

Kate learns that the 1893 murder is part of something much more sinister—the plans of a cult leader hell-bent on annihilating all dissenters—and Kate’s genetic ability to time-travel makes her the only one who can stop him. Risking everything, she travels to the Chicago World’s Fair to prevent the killing and bring down the cult.

Changing the time line comes with a personal cost: if Kate succeeds, the boy she loves will have no memory of her existence. And she wonders—regardless of her motives, does she have the right to manipulate the fate of the entire world?

Series status: I believe this is going to be the first in a series, however it ends in an acceptable manner, no cliffhangers, to be read as a stand alone novel.

Short version review:

  • Characters: 5/5 – they were believable, quirky, and real; all the characters were three-dimensional.
  • Premise: 5/5 – fascinating, well defined, and well executed.
  • Plot: 5/5 – well executed and interesting; carried through premise to a logical conclusion; twists were foreseeable but brilliantly executed and fun.
  • Pacing: 5/5 – never slowed down, never went too fast, felt realistic.
  • Dialogue: 5/5 – clear, never felt forced, and each character had their own voice.
  • Imagery: 4/5 – The description of the World’s Fair: 5/5. for the rest of the book the imagery was clear and not confusing but didn’t catch my eye.
  • World building: 5/5 – the changes to the timeline were believable and felt real rather than forced; there was minimal description when in modern day, but the description of other eras was excellent – created a feel of being there rather than describing in a historical or scientific manner.
  • Voice: 5/5 – First person point of view; clear with a good sense of the character of the protagonist.
  • Romance:
    • Amount: medium
    • Explicit scenes: none
    • Love triangle: yes but not central figure in plot
    • Notes: I actually enjoyed the romance, it was believable, with strong characters and reasons, and it never became the central focus of the plot.

Review:

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

First, I would like to say thank you so much to Rysa Walker for giving me the opportunity to read this amazing book. It is one of the best books I have read in ages. It drew me in from page one right to the end, with an amazing premise, a plot that executed it well, and characters that I would love to meet.

Let’s start with the characters. They were believable, loveable, and actually thought things through in a way that normal people would. The main character, Kate, reacted believably when she was introduced to the world changing event, namely the possibility of time travel via a glowing blue medallion. All the characters were three dimensional, even those who were only in there for an instant. The eight year old boy, possibly one of my favorite characters, though it’s difficult to choose between so many awesome ones, actually talked an acted like a kid, which is hard to pull off. Walker’s characters jumped off the page and into my heart; I even dreamed with them. Sometimes the characters felt so real that when they spoke I heard their voices, in actual tones, in my head. Kiernan had me from his first line; I could hear his voice in my head, complete with a soft burr of an accent.

Both the boys, Trey and Kiernan, were so awesome. The romance aspect got five stars from me, which is hard to get; I don’t care for romance much, especially when the guy is an irritating ‘bad-boy’. Both the boys in Time’s Twisted Arrow, however, were awesome human beings. Trey is just an ordinary boy yet he is so special. His relationship with Kate is awesome, stable but with an edge of tension due to the fact that if Kate fixes the timeline, their relationship will disappear. Kiernan (his name is so perfect and awesome!) plays the darker role, but he is a nice person too, and there is a reason for there being a love triangle other than that the girl can’t decide. The love triangle is very inventive, using the premise of time travel and messing with the timeline to create a complex situation with no clear right answers. The love triangle also, very refreshingly, is not the center of the plot. Even when the romantic tension cranks up, the main plot of the book is still most important and never gets drowned in agonizing over boys. Rather than being a detracting factor the love triangle made me really care about the characters.

The dialogue in this book was good, it was clear and never felt forced and each of the characters had their own voice. The imagery was also clear; it was never confusing but it was never breathtaking or fascinating in the words used. The description of the World’s Fair was excellent, making me feel like I was walking there with her. It was written in first person from Kate’s point of view; the narration was clean and we learned things with her, she never knew things that she couldn’t have known. There were occasional moments of humor (like trying to find a tense to refer to people from the future who her grandmother had known in the past) but it was never over the top. Likewise, it never got dark, dreary, or depressed. Kate was a refreshingly normal, sensitive protagonist with a clear personality, unlike the protagonists in so many YA novels nowadays who seem to be just sleeves for the reader to experience the book through.

The premise was excellent: who wouldn’t like a world where you could travel back in time to see what things were really like, but with the downside of people and memories disappearing if the timeline got altered. It was an awesome and fascinating idea which was extremely well executed. The antagonist, Saul, is fascinating in that we don’t meet him, yet he comes across with believable motives and a plan that is actually possible in the book’s reality and just might work. The whole plot held up the premise, working not only within it but with it to create twists and scenarios that worked and made sense and felt real within the reality. The plot twists, while often foreseeable, were fun and brilliantly played out, and the conclusion never had a feel of deus ex machina. Best, everyone behaved like real human beings might in the difficult situation they ended up in.

As a side note, I really appreciated the lack of whining over the 19th century clothing. Kate complains, but doesn’t go on and on and whine about it. This was refreshing and realistic. Thank you!

As you can see, I really, really love Timebound; it has vaulted into my favorites shelf and I encourage others to read this amazing book.

Other books I’ve read like Timebound:

The Infernal Devices Trilogy by Cassandra Clare

(I’m sure there are more but they’re not coming to mind at the moment)

P.S. Timebound is now the winner of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award!

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