I am a huge fan of time travel. Quantum physics fascinates me, and I am captured by Brian Greene and Michio Kaku and string theory and the Hedron collider and the Heisenburg principle and Einstein and the God particle . . . well, you get the idea. I really, really like the idea of time travel.
As such, I seized this book with great interest and hope. Although many time travel stories just flat don't make sense, I've wandered around the idea enough to form my own opinions about its viability. This particular story addresses some of them, and handles the subject relatively well. (see what I did there?)
I liked Jackson, and I liked Holly. I liked Adam. Well, I sort of liked Jackson; the fact that he was an habitual liar bothered me a lot. I get that he's a 19 year old rich kid, but really? He can't just tell the truth once in awhile, no matter how much he thinks it might get him in trouble?
On the other hand, we wouldn't have much of a story if he hadn't lied constantly. And he did change into a much nicer person, more aware of the feelings of others.
The plot elements worked together nicely. The evolution of time-jumping for fun into time-jumping for necessity was well-paced. The revealing of Jackson's father bit by bit was very good. At the risk of spoiling things, I did enjoy Double-O-Seven Holly contrasted with O-Nine Holly. The side story of Courtney was a nice addition and provided some balance. The pacing was good.
So what's not to like about this book, right? With so many things done well, what was wrong with it?
My problems began when the whole thing descended into James Bond vs. the big bad world. It became almost a cartoon for me at that point. So many things became implausible. OK, I realise time travel is implausible, mind you - but if I'm swallowing the whole idea of time travel in the first place and then the story gets implausible? Perhaps that tells you just how implausible it had to be for me to say that.
I think if a story starts out more realistic and it moves along as if it were real (sort of like dystopia does), then it needs to stay within those confines to be believable. When this particular story went from time-traveling kid to now-I'm-working-with-my-dad-for-the-CIA-against-evil-time-lords, it just dropped off the edge of somewhat believable to ridiculous. Perhaps that doesn't make sense, but suffice to say that this story going from "ok I can swallow that" to "Spy Kids" felt like an elevator drop. And not in a fun way.
There were characters at the end that just plain didn't make sense. I suppose they might be addressed further in the sequels that follow, but to just touch on them as briefly as this author did made them rather empty. Just who was that little girl at the end? His daughter? Why did they all look alike? OK, Thomas is the big bad horrible guy. But who is he, and can't I have some inkling of why he is the way he is? Cloning? Jeesh, how many sci-fi ideas can you cram into one story?
What this book did do right at the end was begin to explore the idea that there was no black and white, clear right or wrong motivation. Who were the bad guys? This was unexpected, and an original way to bait us for the sequel.
This is a nice entertaining read. But expect for it to move quickly into a sci-fi action movie. What grabs you at the start may disappoint you at the end. I'll be reading the sequel, but I'll also be adjusting my expectations accordingly.