I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
When the story opens, we find the main character, Em, held captive in a cell, staring at a drain. This may sound dull, but I found the tension to be wonderfully done. As captive, held in a dark room, Em found something to obsess about. It was dark and psychological, and I was immediately hooked. Then she finds a message that a prior version of herself left for her, saying she has to kill him
Em goes back in time to do as the note says. I figured out pretty much right away who Em goes back in time to kill, but that's fine. I don't think it was meant to be a big secret. I was still invested in the story and in watching it unravel.
You won't find any Mary Sues here. Em was conflicted every step of the way. She was a good person, on a mission to do a bad thing. I found her struggle with her task to be both believable and compelling.
This book had just the right amount of romance--enough that I could latch onto it and root for it, but not so much that I got frustrated with the emphasis on romance as opposed to important, world-saving tasks. I found Em's love interest, Finn, to be likable in both his past and future selves. He was loyal and considerate, but tough enough to give Em a kick in the pants when she needed it.
I will admit though: On a couple occasions, I referred to Finn in my head as "cool Peeta." He has some similarities to Peeta from the Hunger Games, but I liked Finn better. Finn and Peeta are both blond, and both play sidekick to their love interests. But Finn was plenty kick-ass on his own, hence the "cool" label even though I found myself comparing him to a character in a different book.
I think it's a given with a serious time travel story that there will be paradoxes. All Our Yesterdays
does a solid job of laying the groundwork with respect to how paradoxes are handled. And this groundwork starts early in the story, which adds some credibility to the resolution of paradoxes after the book's conclusion. I appreciate that.
An excellent book. One of my favorite reads of 2013! I'll be looking for more work by Cristin Terrill.My thanks to Disney Hyperion for the free review copy.Nit-Picking Alert!
A couple little things seemed a bit too easy, but they didn't affect my enjoyment of the novel. So I'm adding them to my review only as footnotes.
1. Finn was able to set the time machine to show a false date because he "knew a code." As a former programmer, I have yet to see a standard code that can simply be entered into an unknown program (specifically, a program heavily guarded and which must therefore have some kind of digital security, having been built by a genius and all) from the graphical user interface, in the span of only a few seconds, to make the program provide false information. A little farfetched.
2. There's a lot of chatter about how time is sentient and resolves its paradoxes. The characters were willing to go back in time and kill someone, thus creating a shit-ton of paradoxes (which would be resolved by sentient time), but they had to wait until a certain date because any date prior to that would create too big a paradox. This seemed like a bit of a cop-out way to pick a date that would create some sense of urgency, as opposed to, say, killing the guy two days earlier in a more relaxed timeframe.
3. I'm not convinced the time paradoxes created in the climax scene would have resolved themselves the way they did. But I guess there were a lot ways that could have gone.