Sunday, May 11, 2014

Journey to the Past

Published:  January 1st, 2014
Timebound (The Chronos Files #1)
By: Rysa Walker
ISBN-13:  9781477848159

When Kate-Pierce Keller's grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes the old woman is delusional.  But it all becomes horrifyingly real when a murder in the past destroys the foundation of Kate's present-day life.  Suddenly, that medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from blinking out of existence.

Kate learns that the 1893 killing is part of something much more sinister, 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 try to prevent the killing and the chain of events that follows.

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


     I am one of those people who are kind of obsessed with the possibility of time travel and I absolutely love reading books about it!  After reading Timebound, I am still trying to figure out how to make my brain comprehend everything!  So many things can go wrong with a time travel book, but this one managed to weave all the threads of plot, the people and the action together in a way that was plausible and exciting.  Not to mention, this is the first book in a really long time that managed to capture me so much that I sat down, and basically finished it in one sitting!  Another thing that was impressive to me is that it's a debut novel.  I cannot wait to see what Rysa Walker does in her future books with this universe that she's created!
     We are introduced to Kate Pierce-Keller at the beginning of the book, who splits her time between living with her Dad and her Mom.  It's a mostly amicable divorced relationship and Kate gets along decently with both of her parents.  Introduce her estranged maternal Grandmother, also Katherine, to the situation and things start to get tense.  See, Mom thinks Grandma is a little bit crazy.  When she tells Kate that she's inherited the time travel gene and is needed to fix things that have gone wrong in the timeline, Kate thinks her Mom might be right.  Then Kate experiences a major shift in her reality, which causes her Mom to disappear from existence, her Dad to be across the country and married to someone else, and she herself doesn't exist either.  It turns out her Grandmother was born in the future, and time travelled as a historian.  But, Saul, the man she travelled with (who became Kate's Grandfather) wanted to use time for his own gains and began to change things.  Kate's Grandma is now training her to fix the timeline, back to the way it was before Saul began creating his own religion, and setting himself up to be a false prophet throughout history.  With the help of Katherine, Connor (her assistant), and Trey (a guy she meets along the way), it's up to Kate to pinpoint when exactly everything changed...and turn it back, before it's too late.
     So...yeah.  Everyone in this book has a reason for wanting the timeline to go back to the way it originally was.  Kate wants her Mom and Dad back, Katherine's assistant Connor wants his kids back because they disappeared during a timeline shift, Kate's best friend is now part of Saul's religious cult in this alternate timeline and if they don't outwit Saul her missing Aunt Prudence may never be found.  But then there are some cons to changing things back as well: Kate's newfound love Trey won't remember her or their time together, because they never would have met in the original timeline.  Kate's Dad is happily married with children in this new timeline, which also won't happen if they change things back.  Also, Aunt Prudence just happens to be working with Saul to destroy the universe as they know it - so she's a little bit beyond saving.  I loved the chunk of time that the narrative spends with Kate in the past, at the Chicago World's Fair.  It explains how she meets Kiernan (the mysterious guy another one of her selves in another timeline has a relationship with - he also happens to be Connor's ancestor), shows her interacting with her much younger, time-travelling Grandmother Katherine, and also gives us a subplot involving a historically real serial killer of the time.  It also allows us to meet Prudence, who is slightly crazy and happens to want Kiernan for herself.  Oh, the drama! :)
     Also, Walker gives some great worldbuilding in regards to the explanation for the Chronos gene, the rules of time travel and the reasons why things work or don't work.  I got a pretty clear understanding of what was possible and what wasn't.  It was also truly wonderful having a main character that didn't spend half of the book arguing that none of it was possible, she didn't want to save the world, blah, blah, blah!  I understand that it might have been more realistic, but I am so sick of the "poor me" schtick in YA books.  For once I was just happy to have a heroine kick-ass enough to willingly and easily take on the challenge.  She's not perfect and does do stupid things, like seeking out her Dad once she finds out she doesn't exist anymore.  But Kate is karate trained, willing to make a difference, has close friends and family, and doesn't mind fighting for what she wants.  Such a change - a welcome one!  The twists and turns of the plot, and how everyone was connected to each other were fresh and unique.  I enjoyed reading this and I'm not going to say anymore to avoid any really large spoilers, but some serious shit goes down at the World's Fair and it ends on a pretty big cliffhanger!  As the first series I have been truly excited for in a LONG time, I highly recommend it.  I cannot WAIT to read the next one!

VERDICT:  4.5/5 Stars

**No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book is now available in stores, online, or maybe even at your local library.**

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