I have finally finished the book that seems to have taken forever to get through… “The Map of Time”. For me, this book was one that I really wanted to fall in love with, to enjoy from beginning to end as the premise is something that really intrigues me – the idea of time travel. In most of the books that I have written myself there is usually an element of time travel – I mean it opens up a huge potential of novelling awesomeness.
Set in the late Eighteenth century, “The Map in Time” tells a story in three interweaving parts of three people and their experiences in the field of time travel. Sounds interesting, right? On GoodReads, and on Amazon, there are a lot of highly rated reviews for this book, and sadly, I would have to disagree with these. As mentioned I really wanted to enjoy this book – a cross genre adventure encompassing time travel, a bit of steampunk, a murder mystery – made of win. However not in this case. This is the sort of book that makes me want to write again just to prove that I could write a better version.
I shan’t bore you with the synopsis aside from what I have written above, and add that there are three distinct parts of the book, with three distinct protagonists, and a mildly interweaving plot between them all – so be warned, if you plan to read this book in order for me to review this how I want too, and with an adequate level of depth – there shall more than likely be spoilers. And I am fairly certain that there is not a cut function like those used in LiveJournal.
The first part of the book concerns the character of Andrew Harrington and the love of his life which just happens to be a prostitute by the name of Marie. Being as though this is Victorian London, and there would just be no greater cliché, she is murdered by none other than Jack the Ripper. Not content with being murdered by a random thug, dissatisfied customer or some other type of death the author takes from factual events and makes them fictional. Andrew Harrington goes into a deep and desolate depression. And doesn’t get over it.
This alone makes me dislike Harrington. Perhaps you think that I am not a particularly empathic member of the human race, but I like to disagree – it’s just when you are reading page after page about the eight years after the death of a prostitute that he was so deeply in love with – a love he had to pay for, I might add – it gets somewhat tedious. Eight years. You would think that this would be enough time to get over it. [Perhaps I am not as empathic as I would like to think?] It also takes a long old time to set this part of the story up – some of the detail could really have done with being cut out.
Then there’s how this depression is dealt with, yet more back story for Harrington in the form of his cousin. And then, if that wasn’t enough, we’re introduced to the character of H. G. Wells. And then a whole lot of his back story for the purpose of the novel – and, if you ever want to read any of Wells’ stuff [something I highly recommend!] read it before reading this book as it goes into far too much detail about The Time Machine – the author may have well have copied the entire novel into this one with the amount of detail he includes. I would have been disappointed to read this without reading The Time Machine first that’s for sure. It turns out that Wells’ is requested to save someone with the use of his “imagination”.
The second part of this novel is linked to the first via a Time Travel agency, Harrington’s cousins brief appearance, and again the use of Wells’ as a character, this time to “save” the main female protagonist Claire, again through the use of his imagination via the use of sending letters pretending to be someone from the future. I disliked this story for the main reason of the “love” story, the idea that someone needs to be complete by having a deep and committed love – life doesn’t have to have love to be complete and to have the idea forced into my brain for this whole section did nothing more than irritate me. And some of the stuff with Wells’ was thinking/saying/recapping was a repeat of the first part of the book.
I have only ever skipped part of a book once before this one. The letters between Wells’ and Claire didn’t interest me; I skipped most of them because they were so bloody long and dull.
The last part of the book was the most interesting for me, perhaps because it actually involves a bit more time travel than the previous two parts. Well, this mainly happens in the form of yet another letter. And even with this part being the most interesting, I felt that Wells’ in the previous two chapters was portrayed as an intelligent person, in this one it seems as though he’s one step behind.
I think that there is one potential redeeming factor for this book and it happens within the last few pages [and not because it actually ends] Wells’ is walking through London, after acting like a complete child and dousing Murray’s Time Travel with shit, he is reflecting on the nature of time, of parallel universes and the choices that we all make. Every juncture, every chance we as a human has to make a choice there is a universe in which the opposite, or different, choice has been made. This is something that I have always believed in, this juncture of choices, paths of the universe, from a very young age.
However, overall this novel has taken far too long, and was far too long, to read, and more so was not the most interesting of reads. One of the reasons I stuck with it for the entirety of the pages is because I really hate the idea of giving up on a book.
I hope that you have enjoyed this instalment of my blog, not about knitting for a change, and perhaps if you do happen to read this book let me know what you think of it, it would be interesting!
Keep well, keep reading, and keep creating!