by Rysa Walker
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
When Kate Pierce-Keller’s grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes the old woman is delusional. But it all becomes horrifyingly real when a murder in the past destroys the foundation of Kate’s present-day life. Suddenly, that medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from blinking out of existence.
Kate learns that the 1893 killing is part of something much more sinister, and Kate’s genetic ability to time-travel makes her the only one who can stop him. Risking everything, she travels to the Chicago World’s Fair to try to prevent the killing and the chain of events that follows.
Changing the timeline comes with a personal cost, however—if Kate succeeds, the boy she loves will have no memory of her existence. And regardless of her motives, does she have the right to manipulate the fate of the entire world?
(synopsis from Goodreads)
I made it to 33%. I think I gave it a fair shot. But there are just so many problems with this novel that I can't push myself to go any further.
There are so many unanswered questions and confusing elements to the plot. I guess that's to be expected when you're talking about time travel (since nobody really knows how it would actually work). However, there are things that aren't even internally consistent or that are just plain odd. The mechanics of the inheritance of the time-travel gene are fuzzy. What makes Kate so special? Why don't her parents have the same abilities as she does if they're also the offspring of two time-travellers? If everyone in the future is genetically programmed to love their work, why did Kate's grandfather go all supervillain and aspire to found his own church/cult? Why was he so dissatisfied with his lot in life if it was supposedly genetically predetermined? And there were little, technical questions, too... like how Kate and Trey got in and out of Trey's car when they were supposedly holding hands the whole time to keep him from disappearing into another timeline. There was no mention of the necessary acrobatics, so I was just confused.
I have so many questions, and it's because the book is full of infodumps. There was one at about 1/5 of the way through that lasted for more than 20 pages. When I stopped at the 1/3 mark, I was in the midst of another. Obviously, the story the author wanted to tell was too ambitious, or it was started in the wrong place. But I'm tired of reading about Kate and her grandmother passing all this information back and forth at the expense of any sort of action in the story.
The other problem I had was with the characters. They're all so similar as to be indistinguishable from one another. I liken it to a child playing with paper dolls and making them talk to each other: they're all flat, and they all sound the same (and quite juvenile, at that). All of the adults are pretty horrible. Kate's grandmother sees nothing wrong with abrogating free will. Her mother (what we saw of her) was just a snarly, surly woman. Her father might have been okay, but then he basically implied that he'd prefer that his daughter cease to exist rather than his sons (it's a timeline thing... I won't try to explain it). And then we have the love interest. He was pretty much a Gary Stu, and just as boring as the rest of them. Oh, and he kissed Kate on the first day they met. Okay, so she was also kissed by a hot time-traveller (that she didn't even know) on that same day, so I guess Kate is just one of those Mary Sues that male characters just instantly fall in love with and have to kiss.
I'd really hoped for a good story, though I was a little wary of the time-travel aspect since it can be confusing if not done right. But this book has bigger problems than the plausibility of time travel. Flat characters and way too much infodumping made even that first 33% a tedious read.
So, in the final analysis, the reasons why I didn't finish Timebound are as follows:
- too much infodumping
- flat, boring characters
- reading to 33% was exhausting enough