Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "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?"
Review: My cousin (hi!) recommended this book to me through Goodreads ages ago. I immediately requested it through my local library, but it took weeks and weeks (months?) before my hold came through. So glad it finally came, because this book was quite the smart adventure!
Kate is a great protagonist. She is smart and caring and level headed. She occasionally breaks the rules just because she wants to, but she is not reckless or impulsive. She's a planner. She thinks through her insubordination ahead of time, if you will.
I don't always like time travel books because I have a hard time accepting the basic premise of time travel. I mean, if you can time travel, then no bad things would ever happen because if they did you could just go back and fix them ahead of time, correcting things as life went along. Being able to avoid major disasters like war and genocide would be great, but doesn't really make for very good stories, since without bad guys there would be no meaty hook, rising action, or climax to your story.
This one sold me, though, because 1) time travel didn't always exist in the world; and 2) when time travel is developed (several decades into the future as a gene implanted in select people used in collaboration with a technologically advanced CHRONOS key - read the book, it makes sense, I swear) it is used purely as research, not used to alter history. The time travelers of the future are essentially historians, each with their own areas of study and specific rules they follow to keep history from changing. Also, since this novel takes place in the present day where time travel hasn't yet been invented, almost every time traveler that appears is from the future. I really liked that twist. I mean, what would you do if suddenly people from the future kept appearing and either trying to attack you or protect you??
Kate's grandmother was actually born two hundred years in the future, but was stranded in the 1960s during one of her trips to the past by a corrupted, rogue, time-traveling colleague and lover named Saul. She makes the best of her new life in the past, marries and has children, and accepts that she may never see her real time again. However, she unknowingly passes on the time travelling gene to her granddaughter, Kate. And that's where our story gets really interesting.
Saul, the corrupter of CHRONOS and this story's villain, has a pretty evil, pretty cunning, and pretty ingenious plan to take over the world. Kate, one of the only people able to time-travel since Saul corrupted CHRONOS, is the only one who can stop him from changing history and killing people she loves. Kate's the only one who can make the world right. Boo yeah.
A lot of time was devoted to explaining how this time travel thing worked, and what had already been done to alter Kate's current timeline. While I didn't love the long explanations, I did appreciate that they were done via dialogue rather than point blank exposition. It made the explanations more engaging and kept my interest through those stretches.
It took a long time before Kate actually did any time travel, and I realized as the end of the book came closer and closer that there was no way everything would be resolved by the end. So I checked Goodreads, and, sure enough, this book is the start of a series. I don't have anything against series, but I wish I'd known ahead of time what I was getting myself into. It's a different mindset, approaching a series versus approaching a standalone, you know what I mean?
Anyway, this one is a really fun and interesting read! I loved watching the world shift as Saul manipulated the past, and I loved watching Kate learn about the future and the past simultaneously. I empathized with the enormity of her task, and was really happily enveloped in this world while reading. I didn't love the romance angle. Although I liked both love interests as characters, I felt like there was plenty going on without them, and it kind of distracted from the story. I did love Kate's no-nonsense grandmother, and the secretly nice Connor, and Kate's loving father. The plot was something I hadn't read before, and I'm excited to pick up the next in this series!
Bottom Line: Give this one a go if you dig thought-provoking time traveling stories! It's a wonderfully complex and engaging story that will fully immerse you into this world of time travel and leave you on the edge of your seat as you go through Kate's adventures alongside her.