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A brisk, engaging, but uneven time-travel tale.

A time-travel researcher seized by abductors from the future must be rescued in this SF sequel.

Los Alamos, New Mexico, is home to Project Enlightenment, a secret research facility devoted to time travel. In Going Back (2020), the first volume of Abel’s Defenders of Time Series, a project team led by Special Agent Lou Hessman, head of security, traveled back to 1919 to prevent a time displacement wave from changing history. The team returned with Claire Hill, a 24-year-old reporter who would have died of influenza in her own time. That was three months ago; now joining the team is Dr. Sam Weiss’ niece, Samantha Weiss. She has a doctorate in time-travel physics and, as the usually impassive Hessman can’t help noticing, is “a statuesque beauty.” But she’s barely arrived when Russian-speaking terrorists from the future kidnap her. A rescue mission that includes Hessman, Claire, and her fiance, professor Ben Stein, follows the time-displacement trail to London in 2120. Just as important as retrieving Samantha is understanding why she was nabbed—and why the terrorists allow her to return. The danger is far from over. In this ambitious installment, Abel provides a fast-paced adventure with entertaining action sequences. The plot ties in well to readers’ serious contemporary concerns with plastic waste, lightened by humor and romance. But the book isn’t very imaginative about the future, mainly just providing some technological window dressing for familiar contemporary elements, and is downright retro in some respects. Claire and Samantha, unlike the male characters, are described in terms of their attractiveness: “At five and a half feet tall and slender, with long black hair, a pearly white complexion, and blue eyes,” Claire “was a beauty in any century.” Samantha is Miss rather than Doctor, unlike her uncle. The uncredited monochrome illustrations depict dynamic cityscapes but human figures are amateurish.

A brisk, engaging, but uneven time-travel tale.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-950906-92-5

Page Count: 198

Publisher: Indigo River Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2021

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From the Aurelian Cycle series , Vol. 1

Full of drama, emotional turmoil, and high stakes.

What happens to the world after the dust from a revolution has settled?

Friends Annie and Lee were children from very different circles when Atreus killed Lee’s father, dragonlord Leon Stormscourge, ending the uprising on the bloodiest day in Callipolis’ history. For too long the dragonriders held all the power while their people starved and lived in fear. Nine years later, a new generation of dragonriders is emerging, children selected and trained on merit, not bloodlines. Their dragons are finally mature enough for them to compete for Firstrider, a position of power that can give Lee back a small part of what his family lost. However, not only is Lee competing against Annie, but rumors are circulating that some of the royal family have survived and have dragons of their own. Everyone will have to make a choice: Restore the old regime, support the First Protector and the new caste system he created, or look for a new way, no matter what the cost. From the beginning, this book pulls readers in with political intrigue and action. What keeps them invested, however, are the complex relationships between many cast members. Choices are complex, and the consequences for all could be deadly. The world is well fleshed out and believable. Annie and Lee are light skinned; secondary characters are diverse, and race is a nonissue in this world.

Full of drama, emotional turmoil, and high stakes. (author’s note) (Fantasy.14-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51821-1

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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From the Warning series , Vol. 1

A glossy repackaging of a jejune tale.

A reissue of the 2016 novel published as Consider.

Alexandra Lucas and her boyfriend, Dominick, are about to start their senior year of high school when 500 vertexes—each one a doorway-shaped “hole into the fabric of the universe”—appear across the world, accompanied by holographic messages communicating news of Earth’s impending doom. The only escape is a one-way trip through the portals to a parallel future Earth. As people leave through the vertexes and the extinction event draws nearer, the world becomes increasingly unfamiliar. A lot has changed in the past several years, including expectations of mental health depictions in young adult literature; Alex’s struggle with anxiety and reliance on Ativan, which she calls her “little white savior” while initially discounting therapy as an intervention, make for a trite after-school special–level treatment of a complex situation; a short stint of effective therapy does finally occur but is so limited in duration that it contributes to the oversimplification of the topic. Alex also has unresolved issues with her Gulf War veteran father (who possibly grapples with PTSD). The slow pace of the plot as it depicts a crumbling society, along with stilted writing and insubstantial secondary characterization, limits the appeal of such a small-scale, personal story. Characters are minimally described and largely racially ambiguous; Alex has golden skin and curly brown hair.

A glossy repackaging of a jejune tale. (Science fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: June 6, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-72826-839-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

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