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THE SHAPE OF TIME by Ryan Calejo


From the Rymworld Arcana series, volume 1

by Ryan Calejo ; illustrated by Julia Iredale

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 2023
ISBN: 9781419759888
Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

A South Florida teenager who yearns for far horizons really gets his wish.

Calejo delivers a time-travel tale rich in inventive twists. The “wrinkles” (wink, wink) begin with a trio of mysterious strangers named Mr. Now, Mr. Minutes, and Mr. Hoursback. Afterward, 14-year-old Antares de la Vega finds himself abruptly hustled away to a prison in the Bermuda Triangle, where he learns, among other things, that the Earth is actually flat and we spherers are all victims of a huge hoax, that lands like Atlantis actually exist and are full of magical creatures, and that his long-vanished parents may still be alive. Soon, along with fierce fellow prisoner Magdavellía and her robotic bodyguard, Deus Ex, he’s engaged in a desperate race to beat a mysterious warlord in finding a compass that will lead to an island where one can find knowledge, youth, power, and wealth. Besides weaving significant elements ranging from ley lines and Platonic solids to Martians into the plot, the author plays creatively with language (“It’s mindbafoggling!” “This is wondificent!”). But a scary climax that cuts off abruptly with an epilogue featuring newspaper headlines will leave readers puzzled as to whether events have somehow been resolved offstage or have just been suspended until the next episode. Antares, prone to panic attacks and foot-in-mouth disease, is a winning protagonist who is Mexican and Cuban on his father’s side and Indian and Irish on his mother’s. There are occasional monochrome illustrations.

Stumbles at the end but otherwise mindbafoggling and wondificent.

(Fantasy. 9-13)