Once upon a time, David McLain wrote a book. It was good, you should read it. Then he wrote another one, this one much longer. And this one was also good! This means that instead of his first book being a lucky stab in the dark, David McLain is a Good Author. They aren’t easy to find, nowadays. (Disclaimer: David McLain wrote another book before these two. I have not read it, and therefore have no opinion of it.)
Alice Anderson has many titles. World’s Sexiest Astrophysicist is one. Ex-girlfriend of a newly murdered man is another. Oh, and the Mother of Time. Because Alice Anderson is the inventor of time travel. Only, she hasn’t done it yet. But that doesn’t stop a mysterious time traveler from rescuing her from getting arrested for the previously mentioned murder.
So we go back and forth in time, both in the plot and in the literary sense. Events in the past are affecting the future, or is it events in the future are affecting the past? The main concept is fascinating. There are rules that regulate time travel that make sense, given we’re talking about time travel. Do they all make sense, and will they hold up in the scientific community? Probably not. But hey, look, there’s a small blue dinosaur!
There are a lot of interesting characters that may not seem important, but have a bigger role than you realize. A character will do something strange, and later you’ll go, “I knew it!” There’s also some flipping back when a character is introduced, because you swear there was something about them a while back. There are a lot of nods to various historic and literary characters, as well as steampunk in general. (And some steampunk in specifics *cough* Geoff *cough*) There are characters who you aren’t sure of, and ones you are sure of but shouldn’t be.
The last 50 pages take off like a rocket. There you are, strolling along on your literary journey, and then ALL OF THE THINGS! And then you want more, but that’s what sequels are for. McLain has taken so many different elements and thrown them together in a blender and then the blender caught fire, but somehow it still sort of made sense at the end. It’s funny and well-written and something I haven’t read before. I’m looking forward to what McLain comes up with next!
From the back of the book:
“If you need to know men’s secrets
Or if there’s something you need to find
If you want to see the dinosaurs
Or the insides of your mind.
If you want to watch the Earth begin,
Or see what the apocalypse will leave behind,
You need to thank Alice Anderson,
For Alice is the Mother of Time.”
That was how the rhyme went. Every time traveler knew it. Everyone that is, except of course, for Alice herself, since she hadn’t invented time travel yet.