*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*
A 15-year-old in a 29-year-old body, stuck 14 years in the past, trying to keep a baby safe and change the future for the better. That was a premise that caught my attention. It’s unique and intriguing but also very heavy and sad when you realize that no one, especially a teenager, should have to sacrifice that much or have that much responsibility put on their shoulders. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I think this is a good time for some lists!
Things I Disliked:
– The book was a little too slow-paced for my taste.
– There were a lot of descriptions of settings (rooms, cities, buildings).
– There were multiple POVs, and I liked some more than others. But the various POVs did give the book a slightly more epic feel with a wider scope, without going overboard, so that’s something some readers may like.
– This is not my preferred version of time travel—the kind where characters are actually able to change the outcome of the future. However, I accepted that as the premise of the book going in, so I can’t really complain about that.
Things I Liked:
– The creativity of the Walkers, Crossers, and Spanners. Walkers can walk back in time. Crossers can pass through wood or stone. Spanners can teleport over distances. But they all require training and the proper tools, and there are rules and limits and sometimes consequences (like how Walkers age whatever amount of time they travel, both when they go back in time and when they go forward to get back to the present).
– The creativity of the whole premise. A 15-year-old in a 29-year-old body getting stuck in the past and having to keep the princess, who’s only a baby, safe, with assassins following close behind.
– The main characters were good people who were trying to do the right thing, so they were easy to root for.
– The heavy topics were handled with the seriousness they deserved. No teen should have to sacrifice as much as Tobias did, or take on as much responsibility as he did, and those things were not taken lightly or glossed over. This whole book had a heavy, serious feel to it. And the dark scenes, violence, etc. were written well. I feel like the author found the perfect balance of not being gratuitous in his descriptions of violence but not pulling any punches or sugar-coating things either. (Trigger Warning: *MILD SPOILER* There were some fairly explicit scenes of torture, but it was a brief section that could be skipped, I think, if need be. *END SPOILER*)
– Interesting supernatural creatures. Like time demons that fed upon the years of life left in a person and loved riddles, and mist demons that loved song.
– The writing flowed well.
– Just a heads up, since at the time of this review it’s not stated on the Goodreads page, this is the first in a series (a trilogy, I believe). So this is only the beginning of the story for these characters.
As I said, this was a little slow-paced with a little too much description for my taste, but I still thought it was a good book. The writing and the creativity made this a worthwhile read that I think many fans of high fantasy, time travel, and fantasy/sci-fi mashups will like.
Anyone who likes high fantasy worlds, time travel, slow-paced stories, heavy themes, and the unique premise of a teenager in an adult body.
A time traveler trapped in a violent past must protect the orphaned child of a murdered sovereign and find a way home, in this astonishing epic fantasy novel.
Fifteen year-old Tobias Doljan, a Walker trained to travel through time, is called to serve at the court of Daerjen. The sovereign, Mearlan IV, wants him to Walk back fourteen years, to prevent a devastating war which will destroy all of Islevale. Even though the journey will double Tobias’ age, he agrees. But he arrives to discover Mearlan has already been assassinated, and his court destroyed. The only survivor is the infant princess, Sofya. Still a boy inside his newly adult body, Tobias must find a way to protect the princess from assassins, and build himself a future… in the past.