First Lines: Etta woke to the rumbling call of thunder, her body wrapped in ribbons of fire.
I read the first book in this duology a few months back and really enjoyed it. Not for any historical accuracy, but just for the fun of it. It was a fun, wild ride and I really wanted to see how things ended.
*Potential Series Spoilers Ahead*
All Etta had wanted, even just two months ago, was to make her violin debut. She didn’t count on being thrust into a dangerous world full of people trying to kill her. So when Etta awakes after having lost the most important object and the most important person in her life, she’s surprised to find that help comes in the form of the last person she expected to see–Julian Ironwood, the Ironwood heir who has been presumed dead. Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia are searching for the astrolabe and Etta with Ironwoods hot on their trail. They cross paths with an assassin-for-hire named Li Min. But as they travel on, Nicholas begins to fear that his one of his companions may have ulterior motives. Will time run out before Nicholas and Etta can right the Timeline?
This kind of wasn’t what I was expecting…and it kind of was in the ways I didn’t want.
Let me explain. So first of all, this does the very cliché thing that 2nd books do, which is separate the two leads to increase the drama. That was obvious from the book jacket. This is what I wasn’t looking forward to. It just feels so contrived, though I will admit that it was actually a feature of this plot and not some misunderstanding or something that kept them apart. So, you know, bonus points for that.
What I was not expecting but was pleasantly surprised by were the other characters who really stepped up. Like Sophia. She becomes kind of awesome? And the introduction of Henry was unexpected as well, but I’ll just let you figure that one out. Oh, and Julian. We can’t forget about him. The character arcs here were just…unexpectedly delightful, whether you liked the character or not.
What was interesting was that this really started to feel like two separate stories in one. I frequently found myself getting so sucked into one side of things that I forgot there was this whole other story going on at the same time. These chapters do take turns between Nicholas’s POV and Etta’s, but it isn’t an every-other-chapter kind of situation. It plays out a particular plot point, whether it takes 1 chapter or 5. And I actually kind of liked that. Yeah, sometimes I was impatient to go back to the other story, but this felt more thoughtfully planned out.
I kind of wish there was more of a conclusion, but I thought this was an interesting story. Just, as I said with the last book, try not to look too closely at how the time travel works because there are some issues I see, things that don’t add up too well.