Thursday, August 23, 2012

Review: Erasing Time by C.J. Hill

Erasing Time
C.J. Hill
Publication date: August 28th 2012
by Katherine Tegen Books

In this high-action and romantic futuristic adventure, there is no escape from the future for two contemporary girls pulled out of their own time.

When twins Sheridan and Taylor wake up 400 years in the future, they find a changed world: domed cities, no animals, and a language that’s so different, it barely sounds like English. And the worst news: They can’t go back home.

The twenty-fifth-century government transported the girls to their city hoping to find a famous scientist to help perfect a devastating new weapon. The moblike Dakine fights against the government, and somehow Taylor and Sheridan find themselves in the middle. The only way to elude them all is to trust Echo, a guy with secrets of his own. The trio must put their faith in the unknown to make a harrowing escape into the wilds beyond the city.
*A copy was provided by HarperCollins Canada for review purposes*

As a big fan of science-fiction and fascinated, though wary, of time travel, I was very intrigued by this novel the second I heard of it. Even though some of it felt forced, I was happy with the originality of the futuristic world and the way time travel was woven into the plot.

Time travel is a very, very tricky prospect to play with. I was satisfied by the way CJ Hill explains how it works in this novel. Albeit there being a lot of science details I didn't completely comprehend, I found it was a smooth explanation that avoids bizarre time loops and infinite paradoxes. The reason for the scientists to want to play with time travel is a bit weak, however. I kept forgetting why it was imperative to get a hold of this Tyler, lessening the threat I felt towards the government. There is an integration of different groups which are essentially controlling this society (think Mafia and religious groups) that makes it more sinister, or atmospheric, while keeping it within the realms of probability.

The world 400 year in the future that Taylor and Sheridan get thrown in is obviously very different from our present: Language has evolved, fashion is incredibly bizarre, society as a whole is a brand new world. There is a large dystopian feel that is compelling and gives a very dreary tone to the plot. Nonetheless, the world building is not as complex as I was hoping. For the most part, we're stuck inside this city; a bubble with an intimidating political system, but no real-world description or history. How do people outside the city live? How bad is it out there? What happened to bring about this future? What we do get is a lot of inner city living which is at least fairly well thought out -- especially the realistic evolution of language. The fashion, though not exactly far fetched, seems... implausible. But, who knows what's in store!? Despite it being interesting, in the end I felt we spent too much time running around in detours to get to the real plot. I was craving to see the outside world, to journey to where they were planning to go. Not until the last 100 pages do we get a glimpse of this vast, post-apocalyptic setting these twins got warped in. Even then, it's only a glimpse. However, this last quarter becomes intense and exciting where we're learning to fear this big futuristic world, begin getting the truth alongside its own citizens, and seeing the results of a war long past gone. Finally getting to the big picture. This is what I love about post-apocalyptic settings and I'm thinking the next book will be more my speed.

The inclusion of twins in this novel is unique and gives us a different character dynamic to study. Both girls are vastly different from one another and, even though only one of the two sisters gets a perspective, we get to know both of them individually. Taylor is the smart science geek, whilst Sheridan is fascinated by English and literature. This gives us a very intelligent plot with lots of scientific/programming data, as well as some literature and religion details. On the other hand, besides this shell, the characters aren't very highly developed. They have roles to play, and they play them well, but their personalities don't stand out and breathe life within them. This is the same for our male -- and future -- perspective, Ethan, which I found mostly one-dimensional and unconvincing. There was a big lack of communication between him and the girls that became irritating, and the biggest reason for the plot to take so long to lift off.

One thing to, sadly, have survived 400 years, is insta-love. Or at least an insta... whatever this was. Not surprisingly with an instant "fling", the romance in this novel is bland with little to no chemistry. Luckily it doesn't appear to be a big part of the plot, leaving it a minor issue for now.

Even though I seem to be mentioning a lot of negatives, the premise in Erasing Time is very engaging and I was thoroughly intrigued by this new world, and especially riveted by its last 100 pages. It's an animated futuristic setting that is equally enchanting and terrifying.

3 Hot Espressos