15 Feb

Untimed(SKIP IT)

Author: Andy Gavin

Genre: Fantasy YA

First Published: 2012

Page Count: 326

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: No

Rating: 2/5 Stars

Note: Book 1 of the Rules of the Regulator series

The excitement of reading a YA story that breaks the mold from what  we’re used to fades as you actually get into the confusing, disappointing book. 


*Fantastic story idea     *Unique villains     *Love the steam punk aspect


* Illustrations hurt story     *Unclear about target audience     *Distracting dialogue

My mother loves me and all, it’s just that she can’t remember my name.” Charlie lives a very different life than most ninth graders. Few people remember his name, his father and aunt mysteriously disappear for months at a time, and he’s also just accidentally discovered that he is a time traveler. But there are rules for time travel, and when Charlie breaks one of the cardinal rules, it is up to him and his impish time traveling campaign he picks up along the way, Yvaine, to set things right. All they have to do is avoid the mechanical assassins of the future who have a centuries old vendetta against those who alter time.

Initially, when I read the summary on the back of the book I was very impressed by the creativity of the story. Time traveling tales are nothing  new, but Gavin adds little components that make his story different and fresh. Not only was the way time travel is performed and its limitations unique, but the clockwork villains were  the perfect touch to making a memorable story. The “fear the machines” theme is popular, and Gavin’s villains had a Terminator meets I, Robot feel to them. Are they pure machines, or is there some humanity buried under the winding cogs? Needless to say, I was very pleased with the world Gavin had created and could easily see it being popular with readers and even movie goers. The story translates well in both worlds, and the steam punk look of the cover and the villains really sets it apart from anything out there.

But remember when I used that word “initially” back in the beginning of the last paragraph? Well “initially” the book was fine and dandy, until I started getting deeper into it. Right off the bat, my first issue was with Yvaine’s dialogue once she enters the story. Charlie meets her in London in 1725 and she’s Scottish so I understand that realistically in that time period many people’s English would’ve made even Henry Higgins throw up his arms in frustration. But it was extremely frustrating to read any of her dialogue. It was good of the author to be phonetically accurate with the time period, but, as a personal preference, I could’ve done without the muddled language. I was also very confused about what audience the author was trying to target with the story. Some parts of it read like an action packed children’s story, and the cartoonish illustrations don’t help mature the story any. I love when author’s go the extra mile and add fun elements to a story like illustrations. However, I don’t think the pictures were necessary and the way they were drawn was cute but not if this is a young adult book. Then the author throws in very sexual scenes that throws off the young vibe of the story. I think the story would’ve done much better following the path of Potter and Percy Jackson, and focused on the story’s unique world and story. I’m not against sexual themes in books as you can tell by the books I read on this blog, but matched with the illustrations and story of the book, it just feels weird.

I really wanted to enjoy this book because the cover and summary grabbed my attention at the beginning. However, I got bored fast and I can’t say I have an insatiable desire to read the sequel the way one should. The book is readable since the author’s unique world keeps it mildly interesting, but I can’t recommend it because I was so disappointed that this book with great potential didn’t wow me.

*I received a free copy of this book for this review from the author.


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