Today's review is for A Twist in Time by E. G. Glover. It's a modern day romance with a fantastical, time traveling twist.
It's a quick read. I haven't seen the word count on this one, but I suspect it's in the novella range. The ebook price certainly seems to back this up.
Who hasn't had something happen in their lives they wish they could do over? That's what A Twist in Time explores. Tragedy strikes, and the main character is willing to risk his life to set things right again.
Roger and Lisa are to be married in just a few days when a car accident takes Lisa’s life. Several months later, Roger hears about a legend detailing how Mystery Hill allows for travel back and forth though time. With the guidance of Richard, the caretaker of Mystery Hill, and his Raven friend, Percy, Roger hatches a plan to stop the wreck and save Lisa’s life.
All the motivations and the movement of the main plot make sense and work. It’s an oft-used time travel story premise with a modern twist to it without relying on futuristic tech to get there.
As I mentioned in the Currently Untitled review, there’s not a whole lot of world building that has to be done for a present day, real world story. However, when you set a story in the real world, in the present, and in a place you’ve never lived personally, you have to do your homework. Glover mentioned a couple chain restaurants by name. One search using each chain’s “location finder” proved that there isn’t a single restaurant from one chain in New Hampshire at all, and while the other has five locations in Concord, they are absent from the remainder of the state.
It’s not something that’d jump out to most readers, but as can be seen through a cursory glance through other reviews of the book, it’s something that can turn off readers from the area in which the book is set.
Deus Ex Machina
It’s difficult to speak about this without giving away part of the story, but I’ll try. Roger goofs up big time at one point, and the next thing you know, Richard comes along and bails him out. On the one hand, this is extremely convenient. On the other, Richard has presumably dealt with time traveling noobs for decades and has learned to anticipate their missteps.
Either way, I wanted to see Roger have to work for it a bit more. At the very least, there should have been an instance where Roger asked Richard for help instead of the guide mysteriously knowing he was needed.
The writing was tight, but it was also sparse in places. For a novella length piece, it was written more like a short story that got out of hand. There is the main plot and distinct lack of subplots, as you would expect in a short story, but with the given length, it feels more bare bones than it should. I would have liked to see more of Roger and Lisa’s relationship or at least one subplot dealing with Mystery Hill itself or something within the town that tied in with Lisa’s accident to give the story more depth.
Also, there are a lot of one to two sentence paragraphs outside of dialogue. It’s something that caught my notice right away and became distracting. While most are grammatically correct, it’s unusual to find pages of them following one after the other. Then again, maybe it’s all down to the fact I’m in the middle of teaching my own girls’ composition, and I am asked to help mark high school essays for C. L.’s classes now and again that make it more of a personal pet peeve.
It’s unusual to find a book where the main character isn’t the most fleshed out. Much more is done toward Richard and Percy’s characterization than Roger or Lisa’s. I suspect this is because, while they are secondary characters within each book, Richard and Percy will prove to be the main characters of the Mystery Hill series as a whole.
The book is very pacy. Nothing lags. It moves along at a brisk pace from beginning to end.
Now, Mr. Glover and I share a love of a certain British time travel show. I’ve seen or read my fair share of time travel stories over the year from Wells to Star Trek and beyond. Maybe it was because of this over familiarity with the genre, but I saw the end coming almost from the get go. Having a different take on it certainly would have made for a more complicated story, but there are those who hate brain-bending paradoxes.
It’s a solid story if a bit predictable for those who have delved deep into the time travel genre. It’d make for a good one for those new to the genre.
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