Marking Time by April White
Thrifty Thursday is a challenge hosted by Anne @ Books of My Heart. The purpose of Thrifty Thursday is to read a book which was free (at some point). My goal is to read 12 books this year, and review one each month. This months book was:
Kindle freebie on March 25, 2020 (currently $5.99 and in Kindle Unlimited as of writing this post)
Series: The Immortal Descendants #1
Published by Corazon Entertainment on October 30, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Time Travel, Young Adult
Source: Amazon Freebie
Winner of the 2016 Library Journal Indie E-Book Award for YA. “This series has time travel, vampires, shape shifters, but most importantly the best characters! Saira is one kick butt heroine who falls in the Katniss category. And I basically dare you not to fall in love with Ringo.” Updated with new epilogues for the 10th Anniversary editions of the series.Seventeen-year-old tagger Saira Elian can handle anything …… a mother who mysteriously disappears, a stranger who stalks her around London, and even the noble English grandmother who kicked Saira and her mother out of the family. But when an old graffiti tag in a Tube station transports Saira to the 19th century and she comes face-to-face with Jack the Ripper, she realizes she needs help after all.
Saira meets Archer, a mysterious university student who helps her blend in as much as a tall, modern American teen can in Victorian England. He reveals the existence of the Immortals: Time, Fate, Nature, War, and Death, and explains to Saira that it is possible to move between centuries – if you are a Descendant of Time.
Saira finds unexpected friendships at a school for Immortal Descendants and a complicated love with a young man from the past. But time is running out for her mother, and to save her, Saira must embrace her new identity as she hides from Archer a devastating secret about his future that may cost him his life.
My top thoughts:
I’ve had this for a couple years now, so I was really glad when Lenore suggested it as a buddy read! We ended up reading it together along with Linda. I think we all ended up rating it 3.5 stars, with hope that the series will continue to improve now that we know the characters and the world better. I know we all liked it enough to continue because we’re already working on book 2!
What didn’t work:
- It starts off very fast and I felt a bit lost for a while. I didn’t understand the characters or the world for longer than I would have liked
- I’m a little uneasy about the relationship between Saira and Asher – the intensity of his feelings, while they make potential sense in the long term, are hard to reconcile with his current situation (best way I can say it without spoiling things)
- Saira is a free runner, which in itself is cool. But the way it’s used feels kinda like a gimmick and often inserted in moments that feel it doesn’t fit. Sometimes her running is just wrong for the situation in my opinion.
- I’m a little dissatisfied with the resolution with her mother at the end — too much is happening off the page, I think, that I want explained. Or perhaps it’s coming in a future book?
- As is typical for YA — too many dumb / absent / problematic adults with so many smart / present / brave / world-saving teens LOL
What did work:
- The world – once I came to understand it – is very cool. I like the way time traveling works and the different types of abilities people can have.
- There’s something very Harry Potter-ish about the school and the way the people are separated out by their abilities. It’s not the same, it just has a similar feel and I like it.
- I grew to like a lot of the characters quite a bit. World-saving teens though they may be, Saira, Ringo, and Ava became some of my favorite characters. I like Asher, particularly Asher of the past, quite a bit too. And even some of the adults are pretty likeable most the time – like Mr. Shaw. I look forward to seeing the characters develop over the series (assuming I continue to the end, which I plan to at this point).
- The mystery/plot worked for me, once the world came into clearer view. It was pretty faced past, which was a bit much at the beginning, but became really compelling as the story continued. There were several elements that Lenore, Linda and I enjoyed discussing and guessing at (some correctly, others not so much).
- There’s an underlying theme that feels like it could end up being a commentary on race or maybe eugenics that I’m curious to see where it goes. It could also end up being just basic magic stuff of the world so I’m holding judgment on that, but for now it’s in the works category and we’ll see how it evolves.
Overall an enjoyable read that was pretty strong by the second half, when I had my bearings. I look forward to continuing (as I already am in book 2) and seeing some of the larger series questions unfold.