Reading Level: Adult
Size: 720 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Trilogia Victoriana
Source: ARC from Amazon Vine
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
I got this book to review through the Amazon Vine program. It was a very long and very pretentious read about time travel…kind of.
The book is broken into three parts. In part 1 Andrew falls in love with a whore named Marie who is murdered by Jack the Ripper. After many years of depression his cousin Charles convinces him to go to a time traveling emporium to travel back in time and save her. When the time traveling company revels they can only send people to the year 2000, Andrew despairs. But the business owner suggests they talk to HG Wells. HG Wells confesses he has a time traveling machine and sends Andrew back in time to save Marie; or so Andrew thinks.
In Part 2 we follow the story of Claire who is determined to leave her world and travel to the year 2000 with Murray’s Travel Emporium. When in the year 2000 she meets the hero of the human race, Shackleford, and falls in love with him. What follows is twisted and sorted relationship involving a love affair that occurs backwards in time. H G Wells again ends up involved by writing love letters for one of the involved parties.
In Part 3 we follow Inspector Garrett who is convinced that Shackleford is the one murdering people in the streets with a futuristic weapon. Besides Garrett’s perspective we hear from HG Wells a lot. In the course of all of this we find out that this book has nothing to do with any of the characters we’ve met except coincidentally. The true star of this novel is HG Wells for reasons that are again twisted and fairly unbelievable.
The book is written in three parts and each part features a set of different characters…although the characters do run into each other across parts. The one continuous theme is HG Wells and time travel.
This book diverges constantly and sidetracks into random stories before finally wandering back to the main point. The language is flowery…this is the kind of book where if you miss a paragraph or two you’re not really missing any of the story. In fact I think you could probably cut out half of this book and still not miss the main story.
Most of the book is not about time travel at all, but about human nature and the lying and scheming nature of humans. As you can imagine none of these characters are very admirable or easy to engage with. The pacing is very slow and it was very hard for me to finish this book.
The story takes a seriously implausible twist in the last 60 pages or so. I find it ironic that after spending so much time with Murray trying to justify the plausibility of his sci-fi novel, that the last 80 pages or so of this novel are completely unbelievable, implausible, and absolutely crap for pacing. Ah the irony of it; this book is just as pretentious, wordy, and ultimately implausible as the author sets out to say that Murray’s work is in the novel itself. Is this irony the intention of this novel?…I am not sure. But in the end I just didn’t care and if I hadn’t received this book for review, I would have stopped reading it at page 100.
Overall I did not enjoy this book. I guess if you are a huge HG Wells fan and interested in reading fiction about him you might like this. In reality though it’s a pretty wordy and lengthy novel to deliver such an awkward message.