My family is first. Secondly, I play golf with my friends and hike with a book.
Time travel is among my favorite genre. I love the idea, the design and the execution - usually. This book had no conflict. Characters were dropped 100 years into the past with no cultural challenges, no funny "fashion" mistakes, no one questioning their slightly "off" social behavior. Come on! If I were dropped into 10 years ago, people would notice. The characters just blended in with the "contemps." Unbelievable in a bad way.
The writing was so simple - 5th grade level - and I am a grown-up woman, so I turned it off. I don't read to learn about people doing household chores and waited to get back to the "drop" (home). I quit in the middle.
I quit listening after an hour or so. The story reputedly revolves around time-traveling historians going back to study key events during WWII. Maybe it gets there. But the bulk of the story in the beginning is about the historians' scheduling troubles and petty frustrations with drop dates and locations. The story never really starts and there are several useless and inane concepts, like historical events that cannot be entered because they are too critical, or downloading languages or Shakespeare in their entirety. Frivolous.
Being told up front this was just the first book in a two book series. The characters in the book just seem to whine about their problems. It seems that is what the whole book about. There is an interesting concept with time travel, but these characters just don't seem to get it at all. Throught the story they just wander around, whining about their problems, and wishing for someone to come help them. Not a good story, and through in some really bad characters and you don't have a good book.
OK, so I didn't read the publishers summary and didn't realize that it was the first part of a two part novel. I had to replay the last chapter to make sure I hadn't skipped some major part of the story. Having said that, I had read that the book wasn't really about time travel so much as the characters of war ravaged England and how their daily lives were so dramatically affected by the war. Some of the situations and characters were repetitious, but I still look forward to hearing the second part.
I don't like having to wait so long for the release of the second part. I hope I remember the plot and characters eight months later.
Time travel is always such a great premise for a novel that its hard to imagine you could ruin it, but Connie Willis does. Sadly this book is more of an attempt to prove that the author is a historian than a fiction writer. Too many hours of my life that I will never get back listening to people dither about wearing white blouses and dark skirts. never again for Connie Willis.
I love Connie Willis, so I knew that I was going to read her book. I should have read the other reviews first, so I would be prepared for the fact that the book ends abruptly. Apparently part 2 comes out in November, and I would have liked to read it all the way through. I agree that the book is less about time travel than about how Brits made it through WWII, but I was fascinated with the storyline. The stories of various characters interweave with each other, so be prepared for abrupt shifts. I actually found this juxtaposition interesting. I would have given it 5 stars, but for the abrupt "non ending".
I'm well into the listen and am entranced. I know it's a two-parter and that it contains many of the themes and characters of Willis' previous novels--and that's fine for me. The breadth of characters and points of view are complex, but manageable in the listen with the different accents of the narrator. Looking forward to savoring the remainder. It keeps me going at the gym. . .
I've been waiting for this book for years, and it doesn't disappoint. The story and style are familiar, like an old friend coming to visit after a long time apart. a warning for people who don't know this though-it ends in the middle of the story-the last half will be published in the fall. But then we have that to look forward to.
Connie Willis is one of the most literate scifi writers, and she doesn't disappoint. There actually isn't a lot of "sci" in this, other than the time travel that allows the present to mingle with the past.
The portrayal of the Blitz and life in London.
I have listened to other Connie Willis books and LOVED them (Bellweather, To Say Nothing of the Dog) so I thought I would listen to this one too. It is a fantastic book and I can't wait for All Clear to be published so that I can listen to the end of the book. It should be out October 2010. I thought the narrator was really good. The history of the Blitz is fantastic. The characters (particularly Mike) do go on a bit about "changing history" but that is really my only complaint. I think that it will get better reviews after All Clear comes out and one is able to listen to the entire story without waiting for a year.