It ain’t always easy being an “objective” book reviewer. I so often find that expectations and mood can have a big impact on my particular take on a book. So afterwords I try to think about why I reacted a certain way so I can offer useful evaluation for potential readers.
I recently experienced this with the final book in Linda Buckley-Arher’s Gideon Trilogy Time Quake. I loved the first two books (see here and here) in this series and was eagerly awaiting the conclusion. But reading Time Quake didn’t seem to have the excitement and “buzz” of the first two. In the end, I decided that most of this was my fault, not Buckley-Archer’s.
For those unfamilar with the series here is the publisher’s introduction:
Abducted to 1763, Peter Schock and Kate Dyer begin to understand that history has reached a tipping point. The antigravity machine is in the hands of the cruel and ambitious Lord Luxon — who has set his sights on the most valuable prize of all: America. He is determined to manipulate time to his advantage, no matter what the cost.
And the cost is great indeed. As Lord Luxon changes more and more of the past for his own gain, terrible time quakes begin to sweep through all of history. Kate Dyer, adrift in time and suffering from an overexposure to time travel, knows that if Lord Luxon is not stopped, the time quakes will tear the universe apart.
Meanwhile Gideon and Peter hunt for their enemy, the Tar Man, in the dark streets of eighteenth-century London, and Peter begins to realize that he may hold the fate of the world in his hands.
My take below.
I think one of my problems with this book is that I was reading too fast. I was so intent on finding out what happened that I didn’t focus as much on the writing and story. I could probably read it again and enjoy it more.
I think another problem is that I read the first two books practically back to back so I was really engrossed in the books and the story. Reading the third book over a year later, without re-reading the first two, meant it took me some time to get back into that world, the characters, etc. I find you often enjoy a series like this more if you read the books one after another. This way there is less confusion and more flow to the story across books.
Lastly, I do think this last book is a little less tightly packaged – and focused – as the other two. The the Lord Luxon attempting to erase the American Revolution is an interesting twist, and is for the most part well done, but it doesn’t always flow with the fundamental focus of Kate and Peter returning home.
You have the Gideon – with Peter and Kate – battling the Tar Man and trying to get home. You have Lord Luxon and his attempts to change the past. And you have interludes focused on Peter and Kate’s families and even episodes with the Tar Man’s former accomplices left in the 21st century. All these threads don’t always interact smoothly and when it all comes together in the end it feels a little forced.
These are mostly slight complaints because, despite not feeling the excitement as I read the book, when I reflected back on it Time Quake has the same blend of action, intrigue, and historical color that made the first two books so enjoyable.
The heart of these books – the accidental time travel and the resulting interaction between Peter, Kate, Gideon and the Tar Man – is a good story and Buckley-Archer tells it well while adding in interesting historical color and even some scientific method.
As with the earlier books (readers new to the series will want to read the first two books), the period dialogue takes some getting used to, and the physics seems sketchy at times to this non-scientist, but Time Quake brings the Gideon Trilogy to an exciting and fitting conclusion.
Readers young and old will enjoy this creative and suspenseful series.