My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a review of an ARC from NetGalley 3.5 stars
Time’s Edge is the second book in Rysa Walker’s Chronos Files series. It’s definitely NOT a stand-alone novel, those who have not read the first book in the series (Time Bound) will be very confused. The story is thus: Kate may look like an ordinary DC teen, who lives with her father and grandmother, but she’s really part of a family of time-travelers. In the future, the Chronos organization uses time-travel to send historians into the past to study and research. But one of those historians, Kate’s grandfather Saul (yes, grandfather. Time travel, remember?), has turned evil, destroying the Chronos facility and using time travel to create a powerful cult with himself and Kate’s aunt Prudence as its leaders, and planning for a future world-wide “culling,” that only he and his followers will survive.
The first novel dealt with Kate learning about Chronos and her place in this time-travel set-up. In Time’s Edge, Kate is fully on board fighting Saul and his followers, the Cyrists. She’s tasked with hopping back in time to the 24 historians who were stranded when Saul destroyed the home base, breaking the news to them that they are stuck in whatever past they were researching, and getting their time travel keys before Saul and the Cyrists can get ahold of them.
Kate’s also dealing with the emotional fallout from some time shifts, as the Cyrist cult changes the past to give themselves more power. While Kate and other travelers can remember these changes, they don’t always know the new bits of history. Sometimes that means Kate has to study extra hard in school (because the way she remembers history is not the way her teacher does). But other times it means friends and loved ones suddenly don’t know who you are. This comes through in Kate’s relationships with two boys – Trey, her boyfriend from a changed past who no longer remembers what they meant to each other, and Kiernan, former Cyrist who has turned on the cult, and can also use the Chronos keys. In his past, Kate was much more than a fellow Cyrist-fighter, and Kate is torn between the boy she loves who can’t remember her, and a boy who loves her that she can’t remember.
While the jumps and twists in time can be confusing, the novel is fast-paced and keeps you interested, even if I confess I wasn’t always exactly sure how the time-travel bits were working. The jumps to the past allow Walker to include historical details and research that make it more grounded – it’s sci-fi, but it’s taking place in a real world, with characters who (in some cases) actually lived. Walker has done her homework, the jumps to the past include real people and places, and her attention to detail makes it come alive. In this case, Kate’s in 1930s Georgia, as the Cyrists try to take over a small church and test out their culling plan. (Although a plot about the future historians running into a real-world lynching did seem to be a major plot hole – these people pay extreme attention to detail, down to prohibiting travelers from bringing a toothbrush back in time, but no one foresaw any problems with a biracial married couple with Northern accents blending into rural Georgia in 1938?)
That aside, the book was a page-turner. While there’s not a lot of character development, Walker’s ability to move the plot along has me waiting eagerly for the next installment.