Book Reviews

The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

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List Price: £14.99


Hardcover: 368 Pages.

Published: 09 August 2018 by Head of Zeus

ISBN: 9781788540100

EAN: 9781788540100

1967: Four female scientists invent a time-travel machine. They are on the cusp of fame: the pioneers who opened the world to new possibilities. But then one of them suffers a breakdown and puts the whole project in peril...

2017: Ruby knows her beloved Granny Bee was a pioneer, but they never talk about the past. Though time travel is now big business, Bee has never been part of it. Then they receive a message from the future – a newspaper clipping reporting the mysterious death of an elderly lady...

2018: When Odette discovered the body she went into shock. Blood everywhere, bullet wounds, flesh. But when the inquest fails to answer any of her questions, Odette is frustrated. Who is this dead woman that haunts her dreams? And why is everyone determined to cover up her murder?


1.0 Stars  by Debra Found

Confusing, Poor Characters, Vague Plot

It isn't often that I am driven to give a book 1 star but I am afraid this one pushed me to the limit. This is a book about time travel - of that there is no doubt. What else it is about rather passed me by!

In 1967 four pioneering women discover time travel. By 2017 there is a culture of time travellers who seem to flit backwards and forwards in time. Time travel is strictly regulated with its own regulations and rules. We dip in and out of the lives of the original pioneers - Grace, Margaret, Granny Bee and Lucille. We also meet Ruby, Granny Bee's daughter and Odette who finds a murdered anonymous woman.

There are four main problems with this book - the writing style, the total confusion of threads, the dreadful characterisation and the time travel issues.

After the first couple of chapters of this book I had to go and check to see if it was a children's book that I was reading. I am not adverse to reading children's books but the language and style of the writing was very juvenille. It was very "he says, she says" with little depth of vocabularly. There is little in the way of description beyond plain facts. Consequently as the book transfers between threads there is little to differentiate between the different time periods. The chapters did clearly state which character they were following and what the year was but without that I couldn't have been sure. I lost track of how many threads there are in this book. I think there were four or five main ones but each of those went off at tangents with new threads only months apart from previous ones. It was total chaos and a total recipe for disaster.

The characterisation was, quite frankly, dreadful. Who were these people? What were their characters? What did they think and feel? Yes, basic facts are given as required - Ruby felt attracted to Grace. Well, thank you for that but why? What made Ruby tick? Facts are no enough I need to feel these people. What I got was a collection of cardboard characters who were bland and very alike - dull.

Then there is the time travel issue. I am a big Dr Who & science fiction fan. This author broke the cardinal rule of Time Travel & had characters meeting younger and older versions of themselves willy nilly. Any Dr Who fan knows that this will cause a paradox in the wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff. Now I could have accepted the author breaking this rule if they had explained to me why there was no problem with this happening. A simple explanation would have done. After all no one really knows if a paradox would happen or not but some sort of explanation or mention as to why it wasn't happening in this book would have been helpful. Personally I struggled with there being many versions of the same person in the same place at the same time. They all have Christmas together and go to their own wedding and funeral - strange. All the toing & froing with the same person in different time periods & then older and younger versions of that person crossing over into other threads just left me in mindless confusion - if you are keeping up here please explain it to me.

If your book is going to jump around in time it needs structure, a clear plot and clearly defined characters. This book failed on all accounts.

I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley.

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