Book Review: The Children Who Time Lost by Marvin Amazon

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Marvin Amazon’s The Children Who Time Lost attempts to combine a number of sci-fi concepts and plots into a coherent whole. In the future the human race has become mysteriously infertile and in response the world governments have instituted a lotto where the chosen few are permitted to time travel and return with children from the future. The novel follows Rachel Harris, the last known woman to give birth. After her daughter died she enters the lottery and discovers the terrible secret at the heart of her world.

 

None of these are particularly revolutionary concepts, nor for that matter is the ultimate revelation, but Amazon makes an effort to combine them in new ways. The result, unfortunately, is incoherent and meandering. The characters were inconsistant and unsympathetic and the plot was full of holes and degenerated from its broad premise into a fairly standard sci-fi runaround. Sadly disappointing.

 

**Received copy from NetGalley for review

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Book Review: Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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The first novel in the series, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, was a unique and darkly whimsical combination of vintage photographs and fantasy. In Hollow City Riggs continues the established formula with similar, if less engaging, results.

The story picks up where the first novel left off and makes its way through war-torn London and beyond. This is a chance to see how the mythology of peculiars fits into the larger world, and more importantly, to develop the characters. Outside of the main two characters, Jacob and Emma, the first novel had largely been content to let the photographs do the bulk of characterization and left the other Peculiar Children as little more than sketches. Riggs rectifies this almost immediately, and this time the novel spends almost its entire duration with the children. The effect of living lifetimes yet still being in children’s bodies is more fully explored. Likewise, having established the world, Riggs is free to expand the plot outwards, in a number of set pieces, but this remains the weakest aspect of the novels.

The photographs return in all their dark and weird glory, but they are not integrated quite as organically as in the first. Partially because in the original novel this was a unique and integral part of the book’s construction, whereas in Hollow City it is an expected part of the established formula. The novelty is gone, and I wonder if it will have increasingly diminished returns as the series progresses.

Despite being a minor disappointment, Hollow City is a well-written sequel that expands the world building and the characters, and ends on a cliffhanger sure to bring readers back for the continuing adventures. Enjoyable but flawed.

Book Review: The Cryptid Files: The Loch Ness Monster by Jean Flitcroft

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The Loch Ness Monster is the first book in Jean Flitcroft’s Cryptid Files series. This is a YA novel that intersperses facts about the Loch Ness Monster with the story of young Vanessa Day and her family.

Vanessa’s mother was a scientist who spent her life studying cryptids and cryptozoology. Still reeling from her mother’s death, Vanessa has latched onto her cryptid files and theories as her last link to her mother. On a family trip to Loch Ness, with her father’s new girlfriend, Vanessa takes the opportunity to try and solve the mystery herself.

This is a book for younger readers so the focus is on imparting knowledge about the Loch Ness monster. The plot is thin but it doesn’t need to be anything more. Flitcroft has done her research and has captured an appropriate sense of awe and wonder. All in all The Loch Ness Monster was an enjoyable little fantasy.

 

**Received copy from NetGalley for review