Friday, September 6, 2013

All Our Yesterdays - Cristin Terrill

All Our Yesterdays - Cristin Terrill
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Source/Format: BEA 2013 || ARC
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside. 

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was. (from Goodreads)

It's been a while since a book has truly managed to impress me. All Our Yesterdays completely surpassed any expectations I had with its pleasing blend of sci-fi wizardry and memorable characters. As a debut novel, it is certainly one of the best of this year, and also one of the most unique.

What is most enjoyable about this debut is the thrilling pace that it takes on from the very first page when we meet Em. Even though the reader has no idea what is going on, it's still clear that the stakes are high and the need to accomplish things is urgent. The story twists and it turns and goes in seemingly unexplainable directions, and even though it resembles the craziest of roller coaster rides, it is a most exciting reading experience. The thrill is the biggest draw of this novel, and as a medium-level thrill-seeker, it was a suitable read.

One of the things that could have potentially fallen apart in this book is the time travel. Time travel is a fun, complicated concept because it feels like there should be a rational, scientific explanation attached to it. But because it isn't possible (yet), people are able to take the concept and come up with their own logical explanations. Terrill has provided something that appears to actually be possible in real life, which is what makes her book so believable. Even though I'm still not too clear on the logic of time travel, it somehow made sense in the world of this book, which is really all that one can ask for. It might bother some not to know specifics but it certainly didn't derail my enjoyment.

But this novel's other true strength lies in its main characters: Em and Finn, James and Marina. In the span of a couple of chapters, these characters are easily defined. Readers are enticed to truly feel something for each of them: fear for Em, affection for Finn, starstruck by James, worried for Marina. These feelings warp and shift with each new character experience that comes our way, until you no longer know what to feel for each one of them. It's definitely an effective way to get readers hooked.

Overall, in spite of the shifting points of view and the slightly mind-boggling rationale behind the time travel, All Our Yesterdays was a treat. Since I'm not one to really delve into the science of things, it was easy to accept the explanations without asking questions. The novel wraps up in a way that, though unexpected, could not be more fitting. Even though I initially had the impression it was a stand-alone, the news that it was a series excites me and I can't wait to find out what happens next.

8 comments:

  1. Sci-fi wizardry, time travel, and multiple points of view? Sounds like A LOT going on in this book! I'm glad that it all managed to come together though. I'm really looking forward to reading this.

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  2. Seems like a perfect read for me. Great review!

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  3. This book has everything I look for in a book :D! I can't wait to read it.

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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  4. I've heard wonderful things about this book and can't wait to read it for myself. I agree that time travel is a tricky thing for authors to have in their books, primarily because there's no concrete way to describe or define it. I think I'm mostly with you on that - no way I could understand any scientific explanations anyway, so I might as well just focus on the other aspects that make up this book! (And they all do sound pretty awesome) :)

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  5. Oh my gosh, I am excited for this book! I've had it on request since it was first ordered from the library. How I missed this book at BEA I will never know. I'm pissed at myself. Fail on my part. Lovely review as always! :)

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  6. Oh my gosh, I am excited for this book! I've had it on request since it was first ordered from the library. How I missed this book at BEA I will never know. I'm pissed at myself. Fail on my part. Lovely review as always! :)

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  7. Oh, everyone keeps saying how awesome this book is, and after hearing what you have to say, I have to pick it up now! I love it when a time travel book is done well.

    Vi
    AKA Vi3tBabe
    Deity Island

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  8. Knowing you liked it makes me even more excited to read it!! I keep hearing amazing things and it came in the mail this past week, soo..... :)

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Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)

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