My rating in stars: 4 stars
My rating in words: Really liked it
What it’s about:
In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.
Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.
Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever
This was one of my most anticipated books of 2016 and it definitely did not dissapoint! If you want to read a fun adventure story, this scavenger hunt that spans continents and time periods is just perfect.
Timetravel is a tricky thing to write about because it can get super confusing really fast. But I appreciated the way it was written in the book and thought it actually sounded kind of logical. Timetravel through passages… sure, why not, makes sense! And since Etta is thrown into the world of timetravel without knowing anything about it, the reader can learn all about it together with her. And yes, it’s a bit of an info dump at the beginning and it took me a bit to get into the story but once the hunt for the astrolabe (basically the most powerful item a time traveler can own) begins, the story really takes off.
And once the story took off, the timetravel aspect really had a chance to shine. In one book we got to live adventures in New York, London, the jungle of Angkor and the desert of Damascus. We got to see the present day and we got to visit different time periods in the past. We got to sail the seas, escape WW2 bombings, run into cobras, ride camels and so much more. All of the different locations and periods were just so well researched and described that is was a joy to visit each place and time and experience it together with the characters. I also really like that even though the nice, romantic nostalgia aspects of the past were present, the characters also were confronted with the less nice qualities of the past. Especially Etta, who is a present day New York City girl, is really shocked by thinsg such as the blatant racism, slavery and oppression, women being considered inferior and even the very bad hygiene of the past.
I also very much enjoyed the dual POV in this book. Other than Etta, we also get to see the events from Nicholas’s point of view, who is a black man from the 1700’s. This gives their relationship something so special and I adored the romance between them. Yes, it all happened a bit quickly but I did not mind one bit. Firstly because it was just so beautifully written, almost poetically, and second because the dual POV made me completely understand their emotions and feel all their feels. I did not doubt or second-guess their love for one minute. The fact that they are from different time periods gives them an extremely believable obstacle and I very much appreciated that neither of them expected the other person to give up their lifes, friends and family for the other one. They were so respectful of each other and that was just beautiful and refreshing to read.
But like it says on the back ‘this journey is only the beginning’ and I was not ready for the ending! I need the second book, and I need it now! The ending actually left me very confused and I still have so many questions, which I’m sure will be answered in the second book. There are also a lot of interesting side characters which we only got to know briefly in this book and which I’m very curious about.
Overall, a highly recommended read. Only downside for me was the somewhat slow beginning but the second part of the book MORE than makes up for that!
“You cannot fathom the distance I would travel for you.”
“This was the danger, the seduction of time travel, she realized—it was the opportunity, the freedom of a thousand possibilities of where to live and how to start over. It was the beauty open to you in your life if you only stopped for a moment to look.”
“But she wondered if, in moving outside of the natural flow of time, they had forgotten the most crucial point of life—that it wasn’t meant to be lived for the past, or even the future, but for each present moment.”
“Love was selfish, wasn’t it? It made honest men want things they had no right to. It cocooned one from the rest of the world, erased time itself, knocked away reason. It made you live in defiance of the inevitable. It made you want another’s mind, body; it made you feel as if you deserved to own their heart, and carve out a place in it.”