After discovering her ability to manipulate time, Nicole must fight otherworldly insects preparing to attack the human world.
Holo’s (The Dragons of Jupiter, 2013) novel begins in a hectic rush, as teenage Nicole finds herself seemingly the only moving person in a world suddenly frozen in time. She encounters Daniel, also moving in the freeze, and she’s given a crash course on tau guards—people like Daniel who have special powers when time stops—and reavers, giant metallic bugs that also freeze time and attack the tau guards. In the freeze, Nicole gains telekinetic powers, a rare ability among tau guards, and Daniel is assigned to keep an eye on her until she learns how to defend herself. Daniel has enough time to explain the world through the visual metaphor of a hamburger (an oft-mocked but surprisingly useful comparison) before reavers launch a well-coordinated ambush against the tau guards. After Nicole discovers that her sister, Amy—a goth girl so selfish she requested an adopted sister (Nicole) as a birthday present—is also a tau guard, Daniel and other tau guards take Nicole through a glut of nonstop fights to the secret city Chronopolis. During all this, nightmares haunt Nicole, leading her and her new friends to the true source of the danger. Though Nicole possesses special abilities—including the ability to hear what reavers think—her determination and quick thinking save her skin more than any newfound powers, and in spite of her fear, she remains funny and loyal. Characters joining the team on the way fit into standard categories—smarmy guy, tough young woman—but their bright, complicated personalities keep them from being stereotypes. After the fast opening, chapters rarely pass without a big, life-or-death battle, which leaves the novel in a nearly continuous intense state, which can be a bit overwhelming, though Holo’s clear descriptions prevent any confusion. The fast pace forces the narrative to truncate or skip lengthy explanations; since Nicole so frequently picks up history and fighting techniques as she goes, those lengthy explanations are hardly missed.
A thrilling, if overly action-packed, sci-fi adventure.