Time Travel

The Fire

The Fire
Published: September 1, 2013
When Kevin Johnson, 22, goes to Wallace, Idaho, days after his college graduation, he expects to find rest and relaxation as his family prepares his deceased grandfather's house for sale. Then he discovers a hidden diary and a time portal that can take him to 1910, the year of Halley's comet and the largest wildfire in U.S. history. Within hours, Kevin finds himself in the era of horse-drawn wagons, straw hats, and ankle-length dresses. Traveling repeatedly to the same time and place, he decides to make the portal his gateway to summer fun. The adventure takes a more serious turn, however, when the luckless-in-love science major falls for pretty English teacher Sarah Thompson and integrates himself in a community headed for disaster. Filled with humor, romance, and heartbreak, THE FIRE, the sequel to THE JOURNEY, follows a conflicted soul through a life-changing journey as he makes his mark on a world he was never meant to see.

Reviewed by Awesome Indies

October 21, 2014

While on a family trip to Wallace, Idaho, Kevin  finds a relative’s secret diary that explains the shed in the back yard is actually a time machine.  Being young and adventurous, Kevin decides to have a go and is transported to 1910.  He makes friends, develops a positive reputation within the town, and even lands a serendipitous position as a school teacher.  Kevin’s reason for staying in 1910 for as long as he did is a lovely lady named Sarah.  Additionally, he meets a second young lady (Sadie) who seems to have affections for him.

While I expected Kevin, as the main character, to be the only point of view, the story was built through multiple points of view, some even being minor characters.  The author was kind enough to announce these changes at the beginning of each chapter.  As three-fourths of the novel was from Kevin’s perspective, it felt like a lazy way of telling the reader about a character.  The point of view changes were distracting, especially when Sarah or Sadie took the stage.  It allowed for redundant reflections that the reader knew from previous interactions told from Kevin’s perspective.  Instead of adding a sense of romance or heartache, it slowed down the progression of the, otherwise engaging , narrative.  The love story plays out rather unpredictably through charming dialogue.

The premise of the novel was unique and Heldt’s research on the time period shows.  His description of the town of Wallace and the nuances of life lived in 1910 bring the reader back in time with Kevin and create a wistful desire to return to simpler times.  The year itself acts as a character and creates a tension in the back of our mind since we readers (and Kevin) know about the forest fire that will occur in August of 1910.

While The Fire is billed as a historical romance, let it be known that the novel breaches two genres: historical romance and science fiction.  The novel also champions the subjects of science and history by casually mentioning the importance of both during dialogue and internal reflections of the characters.  An excellent starter for sci-fi fans wishing to branch out.

 

Untimed

Untimed
Category:
Author:
Published: November 12, 2013
No one remembers Charlie’s name. He falls through holes in time. And a clockwork man is trying to kill him. But there’s an eighteenth century Scottish girl who can bring him back home – assuming they don’t destroy history by accidentally letting Ben Franklin get killed.   Charlie’s the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, his own mother can’t remember his name. So 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. Who needs school when you can learn about history first hand, like from Ben Franklin himself. And there’s this girl… Yvaine… another time traveler. All good. Except for the rules: boys only travel into the past and girls only into the future. And the baggage: Yvaine’s got a baby boy and more than her share of ex-boyfriends. Still, even if they screw up history — like accidentally let the founding father be killed — they can just time travel and fix it, right? But the future they return to is nothing like Charlie remembers. To set things right, he and his scrappy new girlfriend will have to race across the centuries, battling murderous machines from the future, jealous lovers, reluctant parents, and time itself.      

Reviewed by Tahlia Newland.

March 26, 2013

This excellent young adult historical fantasy is a great little action story and one that would appeal to teenage boys.

Charlie’s father has something important to tell him, but before he can, Charlie finds himself falling into a kind of wormhole after a mechanical man. He ends up travelling backwards in time to London in the 1700s, meets a girl and the adventures begin. They cause a timequake when they inadvertently get Ben Franklin killed before he goes to Philadelphia. This alters the course of history, so when Charlie tries to go back to his own time, 2011, he discovers a very different world. Slavery wasn’t abolished, the French Revolution never happened, the British Crown rules the USA and his mother doesn’t know him because she didn’t meet his father. There was no World War Two either, and clockwork has a much bigger place in the world.

The clock work is the problem. The tic tocs as Charlie calls the clockwork men, are trying to kill the time travellers and to manipulate time to swing in the clockwork direction. He’s not quite sure why, but his father is trying to work it out. We don’t know by the end of the book, but that gives us a reason to read the next one. In this book, Charlie has to work out how, or if, he can set history back on course again, but that means travelling back in time to save Ben’s life, and with those murderous tic tocs after them, it’s not a simple matter.

The rules Gavin builds around time traveling are complex. Women can only travel uptime and men can only travel downtime, so travellers tend to travel in pairs. Sometimes I wonder how Charlie’s father manages to get around time as well as he does given the further restrictions the author places on their activity. Some of the meetings seemed rather too much a matter of  chance for me.

‘Unarmed’ is well written with immediate prose, a streamlined plot, and a fast pace. It is also flawlessly edited and proofed. The descriptions of the different periods in history in America, China, France and London are very evocative, and the mix of a modern boy with a streetwise lass from old London is an interesting combination.

4 stars.