“We’re going to make a better century and when we’re done we want it left that way,”
I was recommended this book by my sister Izzie (she has a blog here – go and say hi!) and it took me a little while to settle on reading this book.
To begin with, I wasn’t too sure what to think. I have never read any other books by Ben Elton, and with the book starting off slow I didn’t know if this was the standard narrative style for Ben Elton’s work. Even though it took some time for me to get settled in to the book, I really enjoyed it by the end.
It was quite startling the way that this book explored historical paradoxes in an erudite and engaging way, beginning with Stanton having to prevent the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and kill Kaiser Wilhelm. All of the characters were engaging and interesting, and the book itself was addictive to read. Everyone wants to change something about the past, but the sad inevitability the book pervades is that it all ends up the same no matter what path is taken.
For a book with time-travel at its core, it was a very solid book and really enjoyable. It shows how everything leaves a mark on history, and all of the characters themselves felt contemporary despite their historical time frame. I didn’t really feel anything towards the relationship between Hugh Stanton and Bernadette, although the dialogue about sexuality seemed a bit too forced in.
This book displays a great deal of genre hybridity which is done well and made for a very satisfying read over all.
MY RATING: **** / *****