2013 Winner — Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award — Grand Prize and Young Adult Fiction Winner
When Kate Pierce-Keller’s grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes the old woman is delusional. But it all becomes horrifyingly real when a murder in the past destroys the foundation of Kate’s present-day life. Suddenly, that medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from blinking out of existence.
Kate learns that the 1893 killing is part of something much more sinister, and her genetic ability to time travel makes Kate the only one who can fix the future. Risking everything, she travels back in time to the Chicago World’s Fair to try to prevent the murder and the chain of events that follows.
Changing the timeline comes with a personal cost—if Kate succeeds, the boy she loves will have no memory of her existence. And regardless of her motives, does Kate have the right to manipulate the fate of the entire world?
Timebound captured my interest from the very start. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres; add in some time travel and you've got my attention. My attention was maintained throughout and when I reached the end of the book I was glad that I had the other two books in the Chronos Files series already at hand. Rysa Walker has a gift for creating well-defined and interesting characters. Walker also seems to understand her audience, thereby reflecting the idiosyncrasies of the typical young “adult” which can either be humorous or frustrating.
The Chronos Files series is full of historical information, situations, and people that I was completely unaware of. A good portion of the story revolves around the Chicago World’s Fair. I found the historical information fascinating; I was frequently making side trips to google the people and/or events. One example is that I had not heard of the serial killer H. H. Holmes who used the exhibition to easily find female victims and to cover up his grotesque fantasies and lust for murder. Holmes is utilized in Timebound as a means of facilitating one of the more intense action situations.
An interesting aside…I found my homeschool curriculum via this book. Just a small tidbit in the story about the food available at the exposition during Kate, our protagonists, first jump through time. Her first jump takes her to the Chicago World’s Fair. Kate had read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair and when she was given a hot dog by my favorite character, Little Mic, she was unable/unwilling to eat this 1800’s era hotdog due to her reading. I have not read Sinclair’s The Jungle and so I searched online for a summary of the story. I was led to a summary on Shmoop. This led me on a jaunt around Shmoop (do I seem easily distracted?!) and there it was… an affordable online curriculum that, while not quite perfect, would work well for us. Nothing like young adult literature taking you in a round about way to something we so desperately needed.
This series is like a roller coaster twisting, turning, and occasionally flipping you upside down. I need a visual timeline to make sense of it all, or in this case, multiple overlapping timelines.
Two thoughts for Christian readers
No 1 There is a religion being created throughout this series, which you are just starting to see a glimpse of in Timebound. The villainous character Saul is the primary force behind the new religion. He is making himself out to be a prophet. A quote from the story sends a plain message. A rather frightening one.
Just as Christianity pulled in elements of pagan religions in order to attract followers, he would incorporate elements of Christianity, Islam, and other religions, laying the path for the reign of the prophet Cyrus… who would, of course, be Saul.
No 2 This story has a distinct romantic component; one which is filled with teenage angst. Sex does not occur but conversely, it portrays teenagers wanting and willing to engage in it once they have found the right time. Think along the lines of Edward and Bella’s relationship in the Twilight series.
In conclusion, Timebound is interesting, easy to engage in, and a bit confusing. It is most definitely young adult fiction. A genre that I am reading more extensively than normal as my girls are of an age to read these types of books. I am waffling as to whether or not I would let my 16-year old daughters read this. If they read it my husband and I will definitely discuss the two concerns expressed above with them.
I received a review copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. My thanks to the author and publisher.
The Chronos Files series
Rysa Walker is the author of the runaway hit Timebound, which was the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Grand Prize winner, its sequel Time’s Edge, and the novella Time’s Echo.
Walker grew up on a cattle ranch in the South, where her entertainment options included talking to cows and reading books. On the rare occasion that she gained control of the television, she watched Star Trek and imagined living in the future, on distant planets, or at least in a town big enough to have a stoplight. She now lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and their golden retriever, Lucy.