Saturday, June 22, 2013

Book Review - A Map of Time

 This was just not the book for me.

With reviews and snippets such as “A big, genre-bending delight...” and “A master of ingenious plotting”, I thought that it would be worth a read. Granted, this was an impulse buy because I had seen it advertised enough on my Goodreads sidebar so the fact that my interest in it wasn't stellar shouldn't be too surprising since its a novel I wouldn't normally pick up. Though, it went a long way to prove to me that sidebar advertising does work (I did buy it after all) and that the snippets and reviews on book jackets really are complete and utter bullshit. Oh the joys of taking classes where we find out that most of these little blurbs are endorsements simply meant to get you to buy the book itself. My little bubble that had me naively assuming otherwise has burst.

Anyway, Map of Time truly did start off well. It was jarring at first with the breakdown of the fourth wall and I found myself excited and intrigued at the idea that the narrator in this book had a type of knowledge that was all encompassing. This trick soon got old as we moved through the novel. With a constant switch between characters that we never stuck with long enough to care about or get to know, the narrator jumps from time period to person to story that may or may have not happened, jolting the reader out of a moment that was just about to gain momentum and placing them at another standstill. I'm assuming this was to create tension and interest as opposed to the typical ABC's of a linear novel but it did not. Its a tactic that I think would have worked beautifully if it had been used more sparingly but instead, Felix J. Palma took this single idea and decided to put it on a roller coaster that stopped being fun about twelve corkscrews ago.

That being said, when Palma does write well, he writes well.

This time he was sure he had made the right decision, because he had decided not to decide. There would be no more mistakes in the future because there would be no more future. He was going to destroy it completely by putting one of those guns to his temple.... obliterating the future was the only way for him to eradicate the past.”

I wanted more of that. This rawness. This dry humor and sarcasm that you believe is probably being delivered to you with a smirk. Maybe there were more passages like this but I found my eyes probably would have blurred over them since for most of the book I felt like I was falling into a sleepy haze despite the coffee in my hand.

That leads to my next point; Maybe this novel was simply not for me. I can recognize that it had beautiful prose and maybe this jumping tactic used will work for someone else. But for me, it was overdone. On top of that, there wasn't enough dialogue and I am a dialogue whore. So, in a novel with twenty plus pages of block text, I can understand why I was zoning out at times or trying to skip forward to the action. So, if you are a reader that likes inner monologue (think Portrait of an Artist but maybe less depressing?) and stream of consciousness, then I would actually highly recommend this book. If you a person who like character development and a meaty story, I would say to stay away. As a non linear novel, I had high hopes for it (I love non linear, the beginning is the middle and the end is the beginning type stories) but I felt like it didn't deliver and instead was a valiant attempt at an out of the box story but fell shy of it.

Also, H.G Wells was a time traveling maniac who helped create a time machine that inevitably was kind of dysfunctional since it could only travel to one period in time.

Anyone else read this? Anyone even know anyone else who has read this?

To see what else I'm reading this month and some other reviews, go here:

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