Saturday 2 July 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Infinite Time by H.J. Lawson

Infinite Time
Author: H.J. Lawson
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi
Date Published: June 1, 2016

Book Description:
Save the girl.
Save the day.
Save yourself.

The mission sounds easy enough, but it is anything but easy for Parker Jenkins. Yesterday, ordinary, poverty-stricken Parker was an ordinary high school kid, getting bullied relentlessly and trying to get by. Today, he's a time traveler with gifted powers expected to carry out the extraordinary. Teaming up with another time traveler, Scarlet, they must save an innocent girl on the run before the villains kill them all. If they don't, their present-day selves will die. But can the ordinary perform the extraordinary?

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Infinite Time was a book that began with the essense of a coming of age drama and spiralled into a non-stop, time-travelling rollercoaster but not in the thrilling sense. It got off to a good start but didn't captivate me enough to make me want to continue with the series. I didn't read the blurb for this book before I started reading, which was a new approach for me, and something I will continue to do as it felt great going into something having no idea what the story entailed. It deminished all forms of expectation. Here we have a story about a young boy, Parker, who tragically loses his dad and ultimately the loving relationship he and his mum had prior to his father's death. Parker has it rough. With his mother always working to keep a roof over their heads, she is distant and somewhat bitter, not to mention apathetic when it comes to the fact that Parker despises his abusive stepdad. The only ray of light in Parker's depressing life are his best friends, Douglas and Kimi - oh, and Clara, the love of his life, who has no idea he exists, but her boyfriend, Travis, does, and he makes Parker's life a living hell.

Before we delve into the world of time-travelling, the story felt as though it was going in circles with Parker dealing with his fantasies of Clara and trying to avoid Travis's fist most of the time. It was the same problems one chapter after the other, so when it jumped to Tokyo, thrusting Parker on a different course, I was happy. For a little while, at least. There was a lot of running around, too much at times, and not enough effort put in establishing coherency. There were a few inconsistencies that went against the paradigm established by the narrative. For instance, there was a moment when Scarlet told Parker that for every three hours that passed in their dream state, a minute passed in their present time. Now, whenever they time travel, ultimately vacating their bodies, they're not breathing. Scartlet goes on to explain that if they don't return to their bodies before two minutes have passed, they will die. At one point, Parker slips back into his body, establishing that he'd been sleeping for one minute. A further two minutes pass in his present time before he returns to Scarlet in the past, and considering Scarlet didn't slip back and forth as Parker did, she'd been under (not breathing) for at least three minutes. When they finally accomplish their assignment, Parker discovers a further few minutes had passed. He went under at 01:00:00 and came back out at 01:07:32. Minus the two minutes I mentioned earlier, Parker was under for at least five minutes, and he didn't seem as though he had any problems. He certainly wasn't dead, nor was Scarlet. The characters seemed to have completely forgotten about timekeeping. I had to wonder if there would have been a difference if they had stayed in their dream state a while longer, say ten or twenty minutes. It just seemed as if this key element in the story was dismissed, and considering the characters' lives depend on how long they spend time travelling, it's definitely detail that should not be overlooked.

Scarlet being so experienced with time travel didn't really offer much in way of explanation of certain things that took place, and this made it hard to accept things as anything other than coincidences.

Parker was a likable character, the writing style engaging and fluid for the most part, but the plot, while it had great potential, was overshadowed by a cast of one-dimensional characters, none of whom served much purpose to Parker in a way to help him grow as a character. I don't mind stories with many questions, a little mystery to unravel, but give me something to work with, something to get my mind ticking as opposed to having it on standby. With better execution, this story could have been so much more. Despite the lack of attention to detail, I still found it to be a quick, fun read.


Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
Source: Review Copy

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