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In a word, brilliant! This is a time travel story like no other whose surprise momentum towards the end takes the reader by surprise. Beautifully conceived, characters of depth highly developed, the journey this book takes the reader is without compare, Jules Verne's story included. A debut novel, its clear this author will have a brilliant future as a novelist, in spite of his existing screenwriter success. A version of time travel that's unique as well as the mechanisms, its so engaging, immersive and well thought out, were it not for the 'future time frame of 2016' I found myself wondering if this is what the future will evolve into. Love and family woven into the plot, this story is unique in all respects. Highly recommended for time travel fans, as well as those who appreciate skill at storytelling.
This was a winner. I will look forward to more books by this author. I liked what some of the other reviewers liked - short chapters, talk in second person. The approach to time travel was fresh. The language was engaging. I also find myself not wanting to put this book down.
I was expecting a story about time travel gone wrong and an ode to the earlier 20th century's optimistic vision of the future, and I got that, but I wasn't expecting such a funny and poignant examination of how we live with the choices we make in life, told in a way that reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut (probably helped by the narrator namechecking Vonnegut a number of times). I was expecting to like this book, and I did, but I wasn't expecting to love this book as much as I do.
This was real fun read. I was casting about for something to do on a Sunday afternoon and picked it up - someone else had just finished reading it and said it was pretty good. I proceeded to devour it! I finally put it down 7 hours later as I needed to get some sleep. Finished it the next morning at breakfast. Time Travel, the world of the Jetsons, our own messy world, a glimpse of a possible apocalypse, and the impacts each and every one of our decisions (and attitudes) can have on history and our own stories. Lots in here and, in my opinion, a well told story. For me, a good summertime book!
Enjoyed the plot and storyline, but the female characters fell flat for me--I wish the author had spent more time developing them. In addition Tom, the narrator/protagonist, is written in a bro-like, off-putting way, but I saw this as an intentional choice by the author and was willing to roll with it to see where the story went.
I enjoyed seeing the detailed alternate reality that Mastai imagined, and was interested enough to follow the novel through despite the character issues. When reading about the book, I learned that Mastai wrote this story, at least in part, to deal with his own mother's death; what would life look like if she had lived? Major life events have a way of changing us and altering our life's path, which is one of the key concepts that keeps me coming back to the time travel genre; I appreciate that he used this novel to explore that, and hope that the process brought some closure.
Ultimately, I think this book does a good job with the concept. That said, I'd love to re-read another version of this with a more thorough edit and more realistic/balanced characters. Perhaps in an alternate timeline? :D
It's been a while since I have seen such divisive reviews on a book. I did find it entertaining, but yes, the main character, Tom, is a man-child, and the female characters probably could have been a bit more. So great concept, not badly done, breezy writing but a definite bro-sci-fi. He's no Becky Chambers or NK Jemsin....
From the first page, I was hooked. I liked it so much I actually read it aloud so others would also want to read it. I like the short chapters and Elan’s use of language. This book has it all, time travel, romance, family dynamics, all tied up around what would happen if an event in the past was changed by the main character. The main character doesn’t have to wonder if he is living in the wrong timeline. He knows he is. After all, he was the one who messed it up. Read this book to find out why our reality is not like the Utopian future that the 1950s predicted. (Submitted by Deanna)
Halfway through the book, I still couldn't find the plot. Gave up after a few chapters, read like a diary.
One of my favourite reads of the year. I loved the alternate view of what our reality could be; and was genuinely moved by the characters involved.
I chose this because of the mostly great Amazon reviews and the fact that it was an alternate reality story, which I can't resist. I wish I'd read the bad reviews here. This author had too many ideas crammed into one novel. It was so poorly edited, and as other reviewers here pointed out, the anti-hero was whiney, tiresome, and puerile. I stayed with it because I was reading it out loud to someone and we were too curious to see how he was going to wrap up all the elements he introduced. It was awful. If the author had picked a few of the threads here and spent enough time writing it, thinking it through, it could have been fun.
The protagonist is so irritatingly "woe-is-me" to the point where it almost seems he's proud of his consistency to be a lack-luster person. It's tiring at best, frustrating at worst. You just get so fed up with his poor excuse of an existence that you stop wanting to find out the rest - I mean, you know at the beginning that he basically screwed up the whole world due to his stupidity. The premise of the story sounded so intriguing, it's really too bad they screwed it up with this horrible character.
Loved this book; found it imaginative, funny and thought-provoking. I've added Elan Mastai as an author I definitely want to read again. Looking forward to his next book.
Quite possibly one of the most poorly written and boring books I have ever read. It can succinctly be summarized as "underachieving man-child goes on fantastic adventure after having sex with female set-piece". I can mostly tolerate the 1 dimensional aspect of the female characters, I can mostly tolerate the worthless male lead, hell I can mostly handle the fact that it is barely science fiction. That I found it utterly uninteresting, boring and downright banal is unforgivable.
4.5 stars. Whew. What a ride! I absolutely LOVED this. The time-travel aspect of the story, all of the interesting characters, the short chapters, and the author's ultra-creative writing style that manages to be both intense and humourous. Plus, I really liked that it was set in Toronto. I could not stop reading this.
I loved the concept of this book--that the main character was born into the world we should've had, but somehow ended up in the flawed version of reality that us readers have known our whole lives. The main character in this book is not likeable in the usual sense, and that took some getting used to. The story was a funny and interesting and unexpected journey. Completing it lacks the finality and satisfaction that I tend to prefer, but I'm still very glad I got the chance to read this.
Best time travel, multiverse novel I've read in a long time. The author has a fun, engaging writing style with very clever explanations for how time travel works. His protagonist, Tom, has depth and strong emotions. I loved the world building. The author has a wonderful use of language without being pretentious.
The short chapters move quickly, and the author even provides summaries of previous chapters several places in the book. It's great when an author goes outside the usual parameters of fiction.
Even if you don't normally read time-travel books, I highly recommend this one!
This is a very quick read. The story is told in very short chapters with quite visual language, which you would expect from an author who is a screenwriter. Maybe because of this I found the flow a little uneven, but still the concept kept me reading. Tom Barren is living in a utopia we all imagined would happen once technology really got going. His 2016 is definitely light years ahead of ours. Then his father needs him to be a backup to Penelope, a star chrononaut - the first person to go back in time. Bad luck kills her chance and off Tom goes. The rest is interesting. Of course he changes the future and we follow as he tries to fix things and make sense of it all. My take away from this is 'there's no place like home, Toto'.
The protagonist says it best himself, blatantly, somewhere in the first third of the book: his ex-girlfriends and other friends were tired of his woe-is-me son-of-a-famous-man-who-ignores-his-son complex. The chapters are very short and create a choppy read which becomes as annoying as someone whose tone of voice makes it sound like every sentence they say is a question. This book provides some nice technophile brain candy, which makes for a fun read, but the protagonist and his extremely limited range of focus did this book in.
It was alright, definitely a worthy rainy day read if you liked The Time Machine and The Butterfly Effect. The ending felt rushed in my opinion.
This book is worth the read, but... Look, you may not share MY take on it, but the fact that it "takes a while" to really get going isn't what I consider a HIGH recommendation. My suggestion for maximum reading pleasure (and efficiency) is the try the following:
Read Chapter 1 (Note: They're all pretty short chapters!)
Skip to Chapter 43
Read through Chapter 66 (You'll know when you get there)
THEN go back and read Chapters 2 through 42 if you need to do so
...The book is well written and engaging, but following the above approach will minimize your aggravation and maybe even add to the magic of the story. You will need to follow these instructions to understand WHY I offer them, but that's ALSO part of the fun of this book!
For fans of READY PLAYER ONE, people who like main characters who are slightly sad-sack but end up doing good, alternate-history-as-reality, what-ifs, and thinking about how many chances we miss throughout our lives to change the course of history, whether the world's, or our own.