Grown Up Thursday Review

Victorian. Time Travel.

Intrigued yet? Well, you should be because not only is it awesome, but also that’s essentially what Map of Time is about. It just toes the line at steampunk, though some might argue it easily falls into that category. And H.G. Wells is a main character! More literary authors should be written about in novels. It’s almost like bringing literature around full circle.

Set in Victorian London with characters real and imagined, The Map of Time boasts a triple play of intertwined plots in which a skeptical H.G. Wells is called upon to investigate purported incidents of time travel and to save lives and literary classics, including Dracula and The Time Machine, from being wiped from existence.

What happens if we change history? The author explores this question in the novel, weaving an historical fantasy as imaginative as it is exciting—a story full of love and adventure that transports readers to a haunting setting in Victorian London for their own taste of time travel.

In a way, this book could be called three novellas starring H.G. Wells because it kind of felt that way. Even though the stories do intermingle with the same characters and time travel is a common theme in all of them, they each follow a different POV. In the first act, we meet Andrew Harrington, who is trying to figure out which gun to use to kill himself. (You read that right.) In the second act, Tom Blunt tells us his story, and in the third, it finally comes to H.G. Wells.

I realized after the fact that the three-part book was necessary to wrap everything up that needed to still be wrapped up, plot-wise, but when it came down to it, I really enjoyed the third part and found the first two parts only so-so as I was reading them. In its entirety, I thought it to be an interesting storyline and once events started coinciding and picking up speed, it became quite good.

Now, I don’t know much about H.G. Wells, the man. I, of course, know his body of work, but the man himself, not so much. So, I don’t know if Palma’s depiction of him was accurate, but it certainly was entertaining so there are no complaints on my part. I’d recommend you don’t look up a lot about H.G. Wells until after, just in case Palma did change things around to fit his timeline. (Hah. Timeline. Get it? … Because it’s a time travel book. … Where’s the Doctor when you need him to laugh at your silly time travel jokes?)

Map of Time is only the first book in the Victorian Trilogy. The next one is called The Map of the Sky and comes out September 12th from Atria Books, which I’m very much looking forward to.

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