This sequel to Chronal Engine (2012) finds Max and his friend Petra thrust into the Cretaceous.
The Pierson family has generations of experience with time travel to the far-distant past on their Texas ranch, starting with World War I–era Mad Jack and his invention of the Chronal Engine. It is now up to current-day Max and his friend Petra to travel back in time, apparently to save and bring back his 1985-era teen uncles. Naturally, not everything goes as planned. Max and Petra run into a wide variety of dinosaurs and threats to their safety, not to mention a fellow time traveler who apparently holds a grudge against them…even if they’ve never met before. Can they find Max’s uncles in time to save them? If they do, should Max share with his uncles what he knows about their futures? The narrative alternates between chapters related in the third person from Nate’s point of view and Max’s first-person account, a device that only emphasizes the confusion created by the mess of generational references (readers may find themselves wishing for a family tree to consult). Likewise, dinosaur names are flung about almost dizzyingly during action sequences, but none are particularly scary, even T Rex. The plot feels mostly like an excuse to put the characters up close and personal with the giant reptiles.
Reserve this read for serious dino fans only. (Science fiction. 10-12)