Where I Got It: A review copy from the author (thanks!)
Who I Recommend This To: Time travel/thriller aficionados.
Publisher: Tate Publishing (2013)
Length: 386 pages
Series: Book 1 of Interchron
The story starts simple enough. Maggie Harper is on her way to meet her brother and his latest girlfriend. It’s hot in Las Vegas, and crowded. As she plods her way towards the meeting, she sees a man on the crowded side walk, and the crowd is leaving a triangle of space around him. After an eery chit chat with him, she meets her brother, they have a drink at the nearest bar, and then the stuff hits the fan.
They both wake up on the floor of a hotel room that neither of them recognize. Neither do they recall how they got their, nor what took place in those lost hours. The police turn up nothing. A year goes by (but it’s like 2 pages for us, so no worries) and Maggie returns home from running errands to find a strange and deadly man in her house. He absolutely intends her harm and she is out muscled. But here comes our knight of the story, Marcus – the strange man from Las Vegas. He kills the assailant and flees with Maggie into the wilds, and eventually into a future time. Oddly, everyone Maggie encounters recognizes her, yet she has zero memory of them. I think tea is in order. Tea always makes it easier to sort such shit out, am I right?
OK, so to summarize, the world made a mind-boggling break through some years after Maggie’s native time concerning the brain. It was fully mapped and folks began to realize some of the deepest psychological reasons for human behavior, including criminal behavior. But then some folks of the justice system took things too far, claiming that criminals were not responsible for their actions, it was their brains and how they are put together that made them do bad things. Short story – Society falls apart.
New societies rise in their place – and they believe in collectivism. This is were all minds are joined in one beehive-like colony and individualism is wiped from each person. Gender identity no longer has any meaning, free will isn’t an issue since is doesn’t exist, and they believe themselves the most efficient human form around. This thinking starts a battle for freedom as the collectivism colonies start collecting individuals and forcing them into the colonies.
And this is where Marcus and his cronies come into play, at Interchron. They are part of a prophecy that predicts the dismantling of the collectivism colonies – and Maggie is a key piece to that effort. In fact, she spent a year fighting by their side, but then lost her memories in some freak accident and had to be returned to hot Las Vegas only hours after she was swept up into this mess. Now she has been brought back not only for her safety, but to assist the group in a new attempt to save the world.
Phew! Long set up. Now to tell you about the cool mental powers. Energy is pulled in and channeled through conduits to make all sort of things come apart, fly backward, or cease to function (if necessary – these are the good guys after all). Marcus is the strong, damaged-goods kind of guy and highly protective of Maggie. Maggie herself starts off a bit wishy-washy about raining physical damage upon her attackers, but snaps out of that pretty kick with a good kick to an opponent’s face. Doc is the most knowledgeable of the group, and I feel he is holding back on the depth of his knowledge. Karl was once Maggie’s best friend and confidante, and he plays the role again filling her in on her relationship to the rest of the group. He also provides some well-timed comic relief. There’s Lila and her mom, Nat, and later a long-lost relative of one of the main character’s shows up.
Overall, the tale was an interesting one bringing together several tropes I had not found in one book before. There’s the super hero-like mental abilities, time travel, a dystopian future, the fight for individualism, and a main character with lost memories. Stir thoroughly, add a dash of Evil Overlords, a pinch of romance, and a hint of some other world memory goddess, and you have a fascinating plot. While I believe each of the characters could have used more description, each had their own distinct voice, standing out clearly in my imagination. The ‘magic system’ of this universe was mostly defined for all but the main character; Maggie gains untold powers rather quickly and unexpectedly, blasting through the rules at the most convenient of time. In essence, I enjoyed the book enough to ignore the few detracting points. Liesel Hill has given us a unique setting with a unique conundrum that I had not bumped into before in my reading.
What I Liked: The mystery of the missing memories; that feeling of, ‘can I really trust these good guy characters?,’ that I had throughout the book; Maggie is a complex, likeable character stuck in a tricky position; Marcus is all sorts of convoluted.
What I Disliked: Maggie’s character is constantly breaking the known rules of the mental powers (convenient); there was only 1 evil female character, which created a slight imbalance.
We’re at the tail end of The Science Fiction Experience hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings. Make sure to stop by his place to enjoy more SF goodness.
I received this book as part of the Persistence of Vision Blog Tour organized by the author. Click HERE to see the rest of the tour.