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MY REVIEW OF TIMEBOUND
Rysa Walker won the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2013 for her debut novel that was originally titled Time’s Twisted Arrow. I don’t always agree with changing things up like that, but I think I like the new title better. It has a feel that suits this amazingly distinct YA novel.
This story has depth to it that borders on surreal. First of all, let me warn you: I started the sample and put it aside after a chapter or two for a couple of months. Why? Not that it was bad, but it didn’t reach out and grab me. Plus, the beginning comes across like this will be a much more juvenile novel than it really is.
Let me explain.
The whole scene at the beginning with the object and grandma at dinner: it seems a bit hokey at first glance. I read and enjoy quite a bit of YA literature, so I didn’t think this lightly. However, I did pick it back up and decided to give it a shot, as the overall story sounded intriguing.
And, boy, am I glad I did. That first scene doesn’t seem quite so silly looking back, now that I know the backstory and so much more about the characters involved. In fact, that scene now holds a special place in the story for me.
I’ll be honest: I have no clue how Rysa Walker handles the storyboard for the meandering plotlines involved in this story (and beyond into the rest of the series so far). Did you ever watch the T.V. show Heroes? No? What the hell is wrong with you? That was only, like, the best show ever made in television history (if you don’t count anything beyond season 2 part A). Seriously, you need to go get the first season right now and prepare for epicness with a side of holy-crap-now-that’s writing! Then stop watching before the train wreck that was the “Writer’s Strike” happened to it.
Huh? Sorry, where was I? Oh, yes! Time travel, and sci-fi, and crazy cults: oh my!
So, my point about the show was this: did you see the episode where the strings are criss-crossed all around the room to represent all the possible timelines and connections?
That’s what I imagine Rysa Walker’s office to look like. Okay, so bear with me here. It’s not a light read. This book makes you think in the sense of forcing you to try to keep track of who is who and which who is which and where and when which who went… and you get the point. Parts can be confusing. But in the most exciting way! I swear you will probably either love or hate this book. But you have to give it a shot beyond a couple of chapters. Remember watching all three Back to the Future movies for the first time? Sometimes your brain would hurt a little, and you’d find yourself stammering “but wait… what?” yet wasn’t it so worth it in the end once you wrapped your head around it? You can’t tell me seeing Marty come careening in and running down between the flames toward Doc after he had just sent him on his way home wasn’t pretty awesome.
If I just spoiled that for you, you seriously need to have a Netflix night.
I really, really like the main character, Kate, and that isn’t always the case for me with YA books. Kate is… normal. And I mean that in a good way. Yeah, she’s a teenager. Yeah, she has flaws and makes mistakes. But the author didn’t try to make her into either a Mary Sue or her dreaded opposite: Anti-Sue. The Anti-Sue has become such a trope among YA literature that I think it may be turning back around. For those of you unfamiliar with these terms, a Mary Sue is a character who is too perfect, the idealized hero with virtually no flaws that always does the right thing and always saves the day. We won’t get into why authors do this right now. Just know that an Anti-Sue is, you guessed it, the perpetual screw-up, the anti-hero to the max with very few redeeming qualities about them. In my opinion, a lot of female characters in recent years have been popping up, particularly in YA, with such a bad case of Anti-Sue that you really just want to spit on them and walk away. I mean, really. I want a main character that is human, who makes mistakes, but not every single time. And not because they are truly just annoying and selfish to their very bones. That is not a hero, or even an anti-hero. Anti-heroes are redeemable. Teenagers may be selfish to some degree in general, but they aren’t all as bad as some authors would have you believe. Suzanne Collins is an example of someone who got it RIGHT. In The Hunger Games, Katniss is flawed, makes mistakes, but she cares about her loved ones and her people. That’s all I’m saying people. And Kate is a normal girl. Thank you, Rysa Walker.
Nothing else about this book is normal though. The timelines get more complex as the story moves on, and some of it is crushingly sad in my opinion, but overall this is a wonderfully exciting thrill ride of a book…err… series. The time travel mechanism and rules are some of the most well-thought out I’ve ever seen. The second book is out, as well as the prequel. Both of them are awesome as well. This is definitely one of my top three series right now, and I cannot wait for the next book in the CHRONOS files to come out. Congrats to Ms. Walker on a job well done, and good luck to her in future endeavors! I’ll be following this series and many more I’m sure.