Untimed by Andy Gavin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to review
Genre: Time Travel - Older YA
Book Description: Charlie’s the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, even his own mother can’t remember his name. And girls? The invisible man gets more dates.
As if that weren’t enough, when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don’t take him seriously.
Still, this isn’t all bad. In fact, there’s this girl, another time traveler, who not only remembers his name, but might even like him! Unfortunately, Yvaine carries more than her share of baggage: like a baby boy and at least two ex-boyfriends! One’s famous, the other’s murderous, and Charlie doesn’t know who is the bigger problem.
When one kills the other — and the other is nineteen year-old Ben Franklin — things get really crazy. Can their relationship survive? Can the future? Charlie and Yvaine are time travelers, they can fix this — theoretically — but the rules are complicated and the stakes are history as we know it.
And there's one more wrinkle: he can only travel into the past, and she can only travel into the future!
My thoughts: Charlie is unnoticed. He wins a race, someone else gets the credit. No one can seem to remember his name, including his mother. She places post it notes all over the house with his name on them. He sees his father every once in while. His dad travels quite a bit. He really doesn't know what his father does, only that he wants him to study his history. (Who wants to study history?)
His life takes a drastic turn when he follows a guy, who is a clock, down a worm hole. He finds himself in London during the 18th century. It is at this point when he finds out that he is a time traveler. He meets Yvaine, no one can remember her name either. It's a side effect for time travelers.
Somehow he and Yvaine have altered time and history. They must figure out how to fix it and save Yvaine's infant son from a life of poverty and crime.
The book picks up in action and interest about a fourth of the way in. The beginning Andy Gavin is laying the foundation for the book. There is action/adventure/romance/time travel in the book. I was impressed with the illustrations in the book. It is not common in a YA book, but I thought that it added to the story.
I feel that this book is suited best for ages 16+. There is quite a bit of profanity and sexual innuendo.
About the Author: Andy Gavin is a serial creative, polymath, novelist, entrepreneur, computer programmer, author, foodie, and video game creator. He co-founded video game developer Naughty Dog and co-created Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter. He started numerous companies, has been lead programmer on video games that have sold more than forty million copies, and has written two novels.
His first book, The Darkening Dream, has been well-received by fans and critics alike. Publisher’s Weekly called it “gorgeously creepy, strangely humorous, and sincerely terrifying.” Untimed is an even more ambitious follow-up. It is a lavish production with a cover by acclaimed fantasy artist Cliff Nielsen and twenty-one full page interior illustrations by Dave Phillips.
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Read an Excerpt: I fall hard onto wet cobblestones.
A pair of horses bears down on me fast. I roll into the gutter to avoid being trampled.
It’s seriously raining, a genuine Noah’s Ark deluge. Between the downpour and the low clouds, you’d hardly know it’s daytime.
The horses pass, drawing a covered coach behind them.
The driver huddles in his cloak, a triangular hat pulled low against the downpour. Two flickering lamps hang from the vehicle’s rear.
Tourists ride coaches in Independence Park, and the drivers wear Revolutionary War outfits like this guy — but who takes a scenic ride during a rainstorm?
Then again, I just followed a clockwork man through a Hanna-Barbera hole.
I’d been halfway hoping the hole would lead to my father, but I look around and realize I’m the only one on the street — even the clockwork guy is long gone. Way to make my dad proud. Act after analysis, he’d say. Instead, I jumped into a wormhole to wherever.
And where is wherever? It’s a city street, a little like old Philly but there’s no sidewalk. Just a nasty strip of mud and refuse between the road and the building fronts. I take a few steps — and look down at my shoes, which are pinching my feet. Instead of sneakers I see old-fashioned black leather shoes crudely sewn and covered in mud, but they go with my waterlogged stockings, tattered knee-length pants, and ratty wool coat.
Like the coach driver or a mock pilgrim in the Thanksgiving Day Parade.
What the hell?
I limp down the empty street. The air seems different. January in Philly is always cold and dry, unless it’s snowing. Nothing like this slashing rain that makes me wish the Goretex jacket I put on this morning wasn’t lost in translation.
I hear my mother’s voice in my head: Get inside or you’ll catch cold.
While I don’t think you can catch the temperature, I better call her. Maybe even check the GPS and see where I am. I grope my strange pants and find the bulges made by my wallet and mobile. Rain and my new iPhone are not something I want to mix, but the nearby townhouses have covered porches like the ones on Society Hill.
I hop up a trio of marble steps to get out of the downpour, lean against a wooden column, and reach into my pocket for the phone.
But that’s not what I find. My fingers extract a small notebook covered in brown leather. I open it carefully, trying not to drip.
On the first page are some names written in blotchy ink. In my handwriting!
My name, my mom’s, our doctor’s, Dad’s, Aunt Sophie’s. The phone numbers and addresses underneath. On the next page is the embarrassing script that ought to be entitled The Tragedy of Charlie and Michelle — still enciphered. Whew!
I flip another page to find a charcoal sketch of my mother and me, posed exactly like that photo I took with my phone.
My life has always been pretty weird — like me. The ticking clock dude and the hole in the world were extremely weird.
But this is beyond weird. My mobile phone has mutated into a notebook!
I put it away and take out my wallet — um, leather pouch, full of silver and copper change. I don’t see any Washingtons or Jeffersons, only pirate coins.
I’m not dreaming. My wet clothes chafe against my skin, and when I run a finger down my jacket sleeve, I feel every bump in the rough wool. I study the street, easier on the porch without water pouring down my face.
Another carriage passes, this one with four horses and two drivers. A couple of people scurry along near the edges of the buildings trying their best to stay dry. A man helps a lady pick her way through the mud. She wears huge skirts and a bonnet. He’s sporting knickers, a long jacket, and a tri-corner hat atop his big white wig.
A spontaneous historic celebration? Magic mushrooms slipped into my Frappuccino? No, I’m me, and I’m not in Philadelphia. And I better find my dad or at least a way back, so I step out into the rain wishing I wasn’t the only one without a hat.
I make it about ten feet before the mud literally sucks one of my crappy shoes right off my foot. I kneel to pull it from the earth’s thieving grasp and someone collides with me from behind, knocking me face down into the muck.
“Pardon me, so sorry.” The accent is funny, but the voice is lilting.
I roll over to find a soaked rat of a girl backing away. Her dress is ragged and the yellow-brown hair escaping her bonnet is plastered against her filthy face. Even so, she stands out brightly against the drab cityscape.
“Where are we?” I ask.
Her eyes, too large for her face to begin with, seem to grow even larger.
Then she bolts down the street.
I try to knock the mud out of my shoe but the stuff is as thick as… mud.
And I notice my pants feel light — both my wallet-turned-purse and the phone-become-notebook are gone.
The girl is making good headway — she’s halfway down the block, running — and I notice her footprints have toes.
She’s barefoot and she picked my damn pocket!
I remember I’m only wearing one shoe, pull it off, and sprint after her in stocking feet.
Lisa, I'm glad Andy's YA novel stood out from the pack for you. Thanks for the review :)ReplyDelete