Sunday, May 18, 2014

Book Review: Marking Time by April White

Marking Time (The Immortal Descendants #1)

April White

Request Disclaimer: I was not paid in any way by the publishers or author to review this book favourably. The review is my own honest opinion (Whether or not it is agreed with). 

Publication Date: October 30th 2012

Publisher: Corazon Entertainment

Pages: 445

Genre:  Time Travel, Paranormal, Historical, Young Adult

Seventeen-year-old tagger Saira Elian can handle anything... a mother who mysteriously disappears, a stranger who stalks her around London, and even the noble English Grandmother who kicked Saira and her mother out of the family. But when an old graffiti tag in a tube station transports Saira to the 19th Century and she comes face-to-face with Jack the Ripper, she realizes she needs help after all.

Saira meets Archer, a charming student who helps her blend in as much as a tall, modern American teen can in Victorian England. He reveals the existence of the Immortals: Time, Nature, Fate, War and Death, and explains to Saira that it is possible to move between 
centuries – if you are a Descendant of Time. 

Saira finds unexpected friendships at a boarding school for Immortal Descendants and a complicated love with a young man from the past. But time is running out for her mother, and Saira must embrace her new identity as she hides from Archer a devastating secret about his future that may cost him his life.
Marking Time marks my first book read and reviewed after a long hiatus. I had started reading it, per request of the author, right before I went through a mood where no books could catch my attention, and having just finished getting through it, I can't believe I was able to put it down!

Marking Time is an entirely unique take on supernatural elements. I'm a sucker for interesting world building, so it's not surprising that I was impressed with what White has created.

This book starts out seeming like it's simple. We are set up with this character who freeruns, graffities and has to take care of herself. We have this character whose interesting enough, right, and the stereotypical plot where suddenly she learns she is from of a family of supernatural beings and she has special powers. This plot could have stopped there, it could have just done what so many other books do and take that plot, add in a romance and call it a day, but White does not do that. Instead she goes up and above to give us this great read.

There are layers of mystery (including a certain famous London serial killer) keeping the reader's nose stuck firmly against their e-reader. Some are rather transparent (I figured out a major one almost immediately) and others were a bit sneakier, taking me by surprise.

There are a few cases where the prose felt clunky, such as the way Saira's nicknames for people were carried out, or other times where things felt over-explained. There are also a couple of places where I went back and read, wondering if I missed something (which I might have), but also might have been small plot-holes. As far of issues with the book however, that was it. The characters, plotting, pacing, and the rest were great.

The two things that I feel were done best by White, however, were the tIme travel elements and the romance. Time travel is a tricky, tricky thing to write about, but I felt like the rules put into work here are brilliantly done. It doesn't feel like it would be easy to create a time paradox and I really liked that about the whole idea of it (also allows for less worry while writing, I bet!).

As for the romance, that is hands down my favourite part of the book. It was not an easy romance to write, I'm betting, there's a complexity to it that I adore. I will more than likely read it again just to watch those two characters interact and fall in love. 

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys time travel stories, unique takes on urban fantasy or supernatural stories and to anyone who is fond of anything that includes Jack the Ripper. There is a lot of world building, so for some it might be overwhelming at first, but I feel like it's worth it.



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