Sunday, 18 August 2013

Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrrill

Title: All Our Yesterdays
Author: Cristin Terrill
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: 1st August 2013
Rating: 5 out of 5

Description: Em is locked in a bare, cold cell with no comforts. Finn is in the cell next door. The Doctor is keeping them there until they tell him what he wants to know. Trouble is, what he wants to know hasn't happened yet. Em and Finn have a shared past, but no future unless they can find a way out. The present is torture - being kept apart, overhearing each other's anguish as the Doctor relentlessly seeks answers. There's no way back from here, to what they used to be, the world they used to know. Then Em finds a note in her cell which changes everything. It's from her future self and contains some simple but very clear instructions. Em must travel back in time to avert a tragedy that's about to unfold. Worse, she has to pursue and kill the boy she loves to change the future

All Our Yesterdays is bold and brilliant. From the moment I sat down to read this book, I was enthralled. I was so captivated that I stayed up until 2am reading. I couldn’t stop thinking about these characters and their story. Cristin Terrill’s debut is remarkable and leaves a lasting impression. The story is nothing short of ambitious. Terrill encompasses action, romance and politics into a time travel tale filled with tension and suspense. It’s an addictive adventure that will make you turn the pages until the last words.

Time travel books are often a hit or a miss and this was one of the best stories about time travel I have read. The story will leave you grasping for more, despite the satisfying conclusion. All Our Yesterdays is about saving the world and in the process, saving yourself.  In the future, Em is trapped in a cell, along with Finn.  In the past Marina is part of the wealthy elite of Washington and in love with her next-door neighbour James. James is a socially awkward genius who is the key to everything. In the future, Em escapes from her cell along with Finn and travels back to the past to kill James in order to save the future.  She’s tried multiple times in the past to fix the future and this might be her last chance. Told for Em and Marina’s point of view, All Our Yesterdays combines the future and the past to present a plot full of twists and turns.

The plot is elaborate and complicated. The characters from the future merge seamlessly into the past. The timelines all flow into each other flawlessly and click into place like puzzle pieces. There are flashbacks to past events that give insight into the events that occurred in the future and past. These flashbacks also allow great insight into the characters themselves and highlight their motivations. Marina, Em, Finn and James demand your attention and time.  I was completely invested in their story and the outcome.

This story is first and foremost about the characters and the relationships they share over multiple time lines. Marina is spoiled and acts very entitled. As the story progresses, you learn that deep down she has a caring side. Em is hardened by the events of her past and the task she has at hand. She has to reconcile the person she was with who she is now. James is a very cleaver boy but is damaged by his childhood and Finn is compassionate. These characters are all mixed up in an intricate web through bonds of friendship and love. You can see the dedication and affection Finn, Marina, James and Em have for one another. The events in this book cause certain relationships to bloom while others are destroyed. James, Marina and Finn have very different relationship in the past compared to the relationship they have in the future. Their trajectories are irrevocably tangled. Terrill is an expert at showing character development. The future characters are very different from their counterparts in the past. As the story goes on, you can see how certain events will slowly shape the characters in to how they appear in the future.  These changes are subtle.

As the plot progresses Em and the other become more desperate. Even through the story is quite bleak filled with plenty to hardship, there is also an abundance of hope incorporated into this story. A hope that drives Em to do what she came back to the past to do. A hope for herself and for the world. This is one book that must be read at all cost. It’s a spectacular time travel adventure about saving the world. I am eagerly waiting to see what Cristin Terrill writes next, because I am sure it will be amazing.

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