Sunday, December 20, 2015

Trilogy Book Review: THE CHRONOS FILES by Rysa Walker


Kate's just learned that her grandmother is leaving everything to her, but it's on the condition that she spend some time living with her in her new home. The request isn't all that odd, especially since one of Kate's divorced parents can come live there, too, but something weird is going on with Grandma Katherine. She has a medallion. It glows blue to Kate, but her dad sees it as orange. It doesn't glow for her mother at all.
The glow means Kate can be trained to time travel, using the medallion. In itself, that's a cool prospect. But when the timeline suddenly changes and Kate's mom disappears, she knows something is wrong. Grandma Katherine was killed sometime in the past, probably when she time traveled by 1893, and Kate has to find out how to stop it.
The biggest problem is it looks like the murderer is Katherine's husband, Kate's grandfather.

That's my summary. Here's the one I pulled from

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?

This is a time-travel novel. Its subject matter makes context a very fluid thing. The main narrative, that being Kate's timeline, is present-day, with all that implies: cell phones, internet, fancy coffee drinks, all that.
Then there's the time-travel aspect of it. It blows context out of the water, since we focus a lot on 1893 and the Chicago World's Fair, but we actually only spend a small amount of time there, toward the end of the novel.
A lot of the time elements are theoretical, sorting through past and future events, and it gets confusing a bit. It's hard to keep track of the whens and wheres and whos of different time jumps, and avoiding paradoxes (not really a huge issue with how Walker did it), but more than once I felt my brain shut off when trying to keep track of what the characters were talking about. it didn't detract from plot, but it can be mind-boggling.

Other than the sometimes-confusing subject matter, Timebound was easy and highly enjoyable to read. Kate's thoughts and actions made perfect sense and remained consistent with the character she was. The content was entertaining and extremely intriguing, and more than once, I had moments when you couldn't have torn the book away from me.

My Thoughts
I really enjoyed Timebound and look forward to reading the next book. The threads of this plot wrapped up nicely while still leaving some questions unanswered to pursue as the series continues, and I can't wait to get back to Kate and see what develops between her and Trey, and how she develops as she refines her ability and chases down her grandfather Saul. Honestly, I'm eager and curious to see where and more importantly when the medallion takes us next.

Would I Recommend This Book? Absolutely! Along with an awesome plot, great characters, and intriguing subject matter, this book is also full of great tidbits for nerds and, believe it or not, Princess Bride fans. Time travel can be hard to do right, but I think Walker has a great handle on things. I give Timebound an inconceivable 4 of 5 stars.

Kate didn't ask to be the only hope of stopping the Cyrists' plan to cull the world, but she doesn't have a choice. While holding up an uneasy truce with her Aunt Prudence, Kate and her team are working to track down medallions, the keys to time travel. Her partner Kiernan claims that in another timeline, one where he and Kate were involved, they managed to get a fair few, and he's scouring her records to find where they need to go next.
In the meantime, Kate's current boyfriend, Trey, is still trying to reconcile his own missing timeline, one where he knew Kate. Just as Kate doesn't remember dating Kiernan, Trey doesn't remember dating her.
And looming over them all is the Cyrist threat. A Cyrist school has merged with Kate and Trey's school. Now the only safe place is Kate's grandmother's house. But she can't stay there as much as she wants. Time beckons.
The keys are calling.

That's my summary. Here's the one I pulled from here

To stop her sadistic grandfather, Saul, and his band of time travelers from rewriting history, Kate must race to retrieve the CHRONOS keys before they fall into the Cyrists’ hands. If she jumps back in time and pulls the wrong key—one that might tip off the Cyrists to her strategy—her whole plan could come crashing down, jeopardizing the future of millions of innocent people. Kate’s only ally is Kiernan, who also carries the time-traveling gene. But their growing bond threatens everything Kate is trying to rebuild with Trey, her boyfriend who can’t remember the relationship she can’t forget.
As evidence of Saul’s twisted mind builds, Kate’s missions become more complex, blurring the line between good and evil. Which of the people Saul plans to sacrifice in the past can she and Kiernan save without risking their ultimate goal—or their own lives?

My Thoughts
Time's Edge, like Timebound, captured me pretty quick, and more than once, I was shocked by a plot twist, frightened by a desperate situation, and just plain gleeful from a reveal. This book was full of ups and downs, hopes, failures, and tension. Oh, the tension. I have to admit, the whole "love triangle" thing is a bit stale to me, but Walker does a good job not making it annoying. There's a lot of freshness to it considering the time travel and timeline aspects. Honestly, having only seen things through Kate's eyes, and seeing what she goes through with Trey, it wasn't until Kate mentioned that Kiernan was going through the same with her that I realized the parallels. Holy cow, that was brilliant, and it put a great spin on the love triangle that I admired.
The bulk of the action outside our timeline takes place in Georgia, in 1938, though there is a nice sidetrip to the same area in 1911. I love seeing how things Kate and Kiernan did in 1911 affect their actions in 1938. It was masterfully done, and although I still get mentally stumped keeping track of jumps and re-jumps and times and places (mostly because of how Kate has to use her timehopping skills to keep alert and sane), it's getting easier to sort of accept it as right and just glide by it. I am definitely not cut out for Kate's line of work, because keeping times straight would drive me bonkers.

Would I Recommend This Book? Yes, indeed! Time's Edge is exciting, nail-biting, action-y, intelligent, and real to life (if we could really time travel). There's a moment at the end that had me squeeing while on the treadmill. It had me chomping for book 3, which will be out in October 2015. I give Time's Edge a Southern 5 of 5 stars.
Kate's grandfather is out to kill billions of people. The Culling is almost here, and there simply isn't enough time to stop it. Except that Kate and a few other members of the Fifth Column are time travelers. That helps. It would be better if her grandfather's religious zealots, the Cyrists, weren't also time travelers. Now, Kate has to time hop all over the past-- and finally, to the future-- to stop the Culling. More and more, truths are coming to light. Can she really trust the Fifth Column, or are some of them secretly loyal to the Cyrists?

That's my summary. Here's the one I pulled from here
The Cyrists are swiftly moving into position to begin the Culling, and Kate’s options are dwindling. With each jump to the past or the future, Kate may trigger a new timeline shift. Worse, the loyalties of those around her—including the allegiances of Kiernan and the Fifth Column, the shadowy group working with Kate—are increasingly unclear.
Kate will risk everything, including her life, to prevent the future her grandfather and the Cyrists have planned. But, when time runs out, it may take an even bigger sacrifice to protect the people she loves.

My Thoughts
This was a thrilling end to an amazing trilogy. The thought Walker had to put into this must be staggering, keeping all the timelines straight.
Unfortunately, I had trouble with it just reading it. I still love the characters, the concept, the plot, and even the story itself, but I got so mind boggled by the time I was even a third of the way through that it became troublesome to read. Oh, I finished the book, and I'm glad I did-- the ending is fitting and satisfying-- but I lost track of the everything and everyones so much it wasn't as fulfilling on a personal level as it could have been. Maybe rereading would help. In the future.
On the whole, this was a good book. I'm not saying it wasn't. Maybe if I'd read slower, I could have kept things straighter. But I really wasn't reading it all that fast. There were just so many time hops it got to the point my eyes crossed whenever I saw the section headings showing places, dates, and times. Walker acknowleges the confusion multiple times in the book, with the characters having trouble sorting some things out, like paradoxes, but I was so much more confused. It did detract from my enjoyment some, but not enough to make me put the book down. I just had to take it in doses and realize I wasn't going to grasp everything right away.

Would I Recommend This Book? Well yeah. It closes out its trilogy well despite being a bit of a mental struggle to wrap the head around. I was confused for much of the book, just with timelines, but there were a lot of events I was very interested in. The future being a big part of it. It's a great read, if a somewhat frustrating one. I give Time's Divide a paradoxical 4 of 5 stars.

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