Monday, 11 February 2013

Review: Time's Twisted Arrow by Rysa Walker

They weren't panic attacks. Of that, seventeen year old Kate is certain, no matter what the shrink told her parents. But it's even harder to accept the explanation offered by her terminally ill grandmother - that Kate has inherited designer DNA from the time-traveling historians of CHRONOS, who were stranded in the past by a saboteur. Kate knows that her grandmother's story could easily be the brain tumor talking, but that doesn't explain the odd medallion or the two young men - one of them hauntingly familiar -- who simply vanish before her eyes on the subway. It doesn't explain Trey, the handsome stranger who now occupies Kate's assigned seat in trig class. And it definitely doesn't explain why Kate is now in an alternate timeline, where leaders of a previously unknown cult hold great power and are planning a rather drastic form of environmental defense.

In this new reality, Kate's grandmother was murdered at age twenty-two on a research trip to the past, which means that Kate's mother was never born, her father doesn't know her and, for all intents and purposes, she doesn't exist. The only thing keeping her from disappearing entirely is the strange blue medallion around her neck, and the only thing keeping her sane is her burgeoning relationship with Trey. To restore the time line, Kate must travel back to 1893 and keep herself and her grandmother clear of H.H. Holmes, the serial killer who is stalking young women at the Chicago World's Fair. But that choice comes at a price - she'll remember the past few months with Trey, but when he looks at her, he'll see a total stranger.

Time's Twisted Arrow is a great sci-fi novel, filled with action and suspense. I loved the concept of it - the time-travelling aspect. It sort of reminded me of The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, but that's where the similarities end. This book is way more fast-paced and the plot is a lot more complex.

This book started out quite slow for me, but it picked up pretty soon. I was intrigued by the medallion that apparently only Kate could see glow, and the enigma around her grandmother pulled me in even more. This is only the second time-travel book I've read, and after reading it I'm wondering why I haven't read more. There are a lot of huge revelations in this book, things that I never saw coming. That's another thing I loved about this book - its unpredictability. I was shocked several times while reading, and every revelation had me raising my eyebrows in surprise.

Kate is easy to connect with, and I really liked that about her. She's smart and brave, and even though she makes rash decisions, it's only because she desperately wants to save her loved ones. Kieran was another character I really liked. He's one of the men Kate sees disappear on the subway, and they have a connection immediately. Keiran's more ambiguous, since we never find out much about him. Well, except for him as a child. I loved little Kieran! Seeing him as a kid made me like him even more, and I really hope we get to find out more about him in the next book. Trey is Kate's love interest in this novel, and I found him really likeable. He's easy-going and humourous, and incredibly open-minded. Most people would cave in from all the information overload Kate provides, but Trey gets all of it and even decides to help her in her mission. His faith in her is unwavering, and that was really admirable. I like both Kieran and Trey, but I hope there isn't a love triangle between them and Kate in the sequel!

Rysa Walker has definitely done an amazing job with the plot and background of this novel. The detailed history behind CHRONOS and the Cyrists was incredible, and I was fascinated by it. I love history, so this was one of my favourite things about the novel.

What I didn't find credible was Kate and Trey's relationship. In my opinion it developed way too fast. I mean, Trey was willing to follow Kate around anywhere within hours of meeting her. And Kate decided to trust Trey with the biggest secret of her life within minutes of meeting him! However, even though that was frustrating, I grew to really like them together. Their blooming love for one another was sweet to see, and I think they complement each other well.

As I've mentioned before, the plot is incredibly complex, so this is one book you have to sit down and read carefully! I found myself having to return to previous chapters because I got confused on the way. I think I might re-read this one soon, just so I can fully get my head around it. The ending isn't exactly a cliffhanger, and I'm thankful for that. It is bittersweet, though. I was close to tears at a point near the end of the book, and that pretty much tells you how heartbreaking that scene was! You'll know exactly what I'm talking about when you read this book. And you really should. This is one of those YA novels that brings hope back to the genre. It isn't all about romance or love triangles or whatever. Even though I enjoy YA romance, I was glad that it didn't take over the plot of this book.

Overall, Time's Twisted Arrow is an awesome debut from Rysa Walker. It's very original, fast-paced and filled with shocking moments. As I went deeper and deeper into the plot, I found myself becoming more and more intrigued by it. The time-travel was confusing at times, but it's easy to get past it. And once you do, you'll find yourself getting sucked right into it! And after that ending, I honestly can't wait to read the sequel.

*Thank you to Rysa Walker for providing me with a copy for review*

Rating: 4/5

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