Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Time Fetch - Amy Herrick

The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publication Date: August 13, 2013
Source/Format: Netgalley (Thanks Algonquin!) || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

Edward thought he had picked up a rock. He didn’t know it was a sleeping Time Fetch—and touching it would alter the entire fabric of time and space.

Under normal circumstances, a Time Fetch sends out its foragers to collect only those moments that will never be missed or regretted. It then rests, waiting to be called back by the Keeper, who distributes the gathered time where it is needed in our world and others.

When eighth grader Edward innocently mistakes a sleeping Fetch for an ordinary rock, he wakes its foragers too early, and they begin to multiply and gobble up too much time. Soon the bell rings to end class just as it’s begun. Buses race down streets, too far behind schedule to stop for passengers. Buildings and sidewalks begin to disappear as the whole fabric of the universe starts to unravel.

To try to stop the foragers, Edward must depend on the help of his classmates Feenix, Danton, and Brigit—whether he likes it or not. They all have touched the Fetch, and it has drawn them together in a strange and thrilling adventure where the boundaries between worlds and dimensions are blurred, and places and creatures on the other side are much like the ones they’ve always known—but slightly twisted, a little darker, and much more dangerous. (from Netgalley)

The Time Fetch was surprisingly engrossing, drawing me in until I had read the entire thing in one sitting. The author came up with a story that was refreshingly unique, even though the reader meets stereotypical characters and may encounter difficulty mustering interest in the start of the novel. It's one of those books that requires conscious effort to get engaged in (at least for me), but I'm glad I went the extra mile because I enjoyed it.

Edward is the first character the reader encounters and, unfortunately, I wasn't his biggest fan. He was one of those people who relies on logic and analysis, and who sees the things that cannot be seen, counted or measured as being particularly pointless. Because of his detachment, I had the hardest time really identifying with him - which is probably what made the first few chapters difficult to read.

Once the reader meets the rest of the group - Feenix, Danton and Brigit - things start to get interesting. The one thing I did notice was that each of the characters ended up having a role to play in the group, and they were divided in a fairly stereotypical, solid way. Edward is the nerd, Danton is the jock, Feenix is the popular girl and Brigit is the wallflower. Observing them as they work together to resolve the problem is interesting, as all the different parts of their personalities serve them well in their quest.

The characters are definitely not this novel's strongest point. That honor goes to the story! The concept of the Fetch was peculiar, clever, and utterly fascinating. The mission that they face in their race to contain the Fetch was very entertaining and really nerve-wracking. It's very fanciful, so you definitely cannot expect much of the ordinary world to come into play, but I enjoyed it because of that.

I will admit that it takes a while for the story to get going at the start. Just as soon as it picks up (with Danton and Edward following Feenix to the park), it seems to come to a standstill again. And then, eventually things pick up and basically steamroll on until the end. The pace was slightly off, and that was the one thing that kept bumped me out of the story from time to time.

I really think that The Time Fetch is one of the more creative novels that I've read this year. Yes, the characters did fall flat for me. Yes, the pacing would occasionally throw me off. But overall, I enjoyed the idea behind it and how the story played out.

5 comments:

  1. Ya know, even if the characters and the pacing are off, I do have to give it up to an author who is able to craft a compelling and altogether unique story. Originality is harder and harder to come by these days, so it's totally worth sticking it out for something that manages to stand out in a sea of boring read-a-likes. I'm really happy this one kept you entertained, even if it wasn't an overall favourite!

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  2. So, to sum it up, this story would be considered more Plot Driven than Character Driven? I get that feeling from your review. I have this one in my review pile also, I'm having trouble getting into it, but then I'm still in the first couple of chapters. I'll take your advice and give it a chance - sounds like its going to get better.

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  3. This is one of those books that sounds kind of complicated but also kind of like it could be fun. I have a copy of this one that I haven't read yet, but I'll try and remember that you said it was a little slow to get going. I LOVE the cover.

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  4. While this sounds like a great middle grade novel, characters are really, really important for me so I might skip this one but I'll recommend it to my brother! Great review!

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  5. I don't read a ton of middle grade books, mostly because they're just not my thing, this one actually sounds really good! I love the different and original plot and that it really shines! I'll have to keep an eye out for it!

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