Time’s Twisted Arrow by Rysa Walker
Publication date: October 1st 2012
Genre: YA Science Fiction
“Sharp writing, a flair for dialogue and a big, twisting imagination.” – Kirkus Reviews.
From the publisher—
They weren’t panic attacks. Of that, seventeen year old Kate is certain, no matter what the shrink told her parents. But it’s even harder to accept the explanation offered by her terminally ill grandmother – that Kate has inherited designer DNA from the time-traveling historians of CHRONOS, who were stranded in the past by a saboteur. Kate knows that her grandmother’s story could easily be the brain tumor talking, but that doesn’t explain the odd medallion or the two young men – one of them hauntingly familiar — who simply vanish before her eyes on the subway. It doesn’t explain Trey, the handsome stranger who now occupies Kate’s assigned seat in trig class. And it definitely doesn’t explain why Kate is now in an alternate timeline, where leaders of a previously unknown cult hold great power and are planning a rather drastic form of environmental defense.
In this new reality, Kate’s grandmother was murdered at age twenty-two on a research trip to the past, which means that Kate’s mother was never born, her father doesn’t know her and, for all intents and purposes, she doesn’t exist. The only thing keeping her from disappearing entirely is the strange blue medallion around her neck, and the only thing keeping her sane is her burgeoning relationship with Trey. To restore the time line, Kate must travel back to 1893 and keep herself and her grandmother clear of H.H. Holmes, the serial killer who is stalking young women at the Chicago World’s Fair. But that choice comes at a price – she’ll remember the past few months with Trey, but when he looks at her, he’ll see a total stranger.
The basic premise of Time’s Twisted Arrow is the well-known time travel conundrum: if you know it will change history, including whether certain people exist, are those potential changes justified to stop evil? Rysa Walker offers her take and she does so with a very interesting story.
When Kate finds out that she has the genetic ability to travel through time and that her help is sorely needed to correct some changes made in the past by a cult leader and his devotees, she’s skeptical but, once she realizes that the missing timeline affects her grandmother and herself, it becomes clear that she has little choice. Here, though, is where the author takes the reader down an unfamiliar path and I loved it.
Kate travels back to the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition (World’s Fair) and into the horrendous world of a true-life monster; Ms. Walker’s evocation of this nightmare is right on target. Having this as an important setting in her story is brilliant because it brings to mind the question of changing history in a very individualistic way—how could a time traveler not want to save as many victims of terrible events as possible no matter what collateral damage there might be?
On the whole, I enjoyed this first in a series with only a few quibbles. I really couldn’t like Kate’s grandmother very much and Kate’s acceptance of her new-found ability and her “duty” came much too easily to her. I also found it annoying that she kept telling everybody about it, something I’m pretty sure would not be appreciated by others in her very small fraternity, and I could do without the stale romantic triangle, even though I liked both of the guys. Still, this is a story that intrigues me and I’m looking forward to the next book.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2013.
RYSA WALKER grew up on a cattle ranch in the South. Her options for entertainment were talking to cows and reading books. (Occasionally, she would mix things up a bit and read books to cows.) On the rare occasion that she gained control of the television, she watched Star Trek and imagined living in the future, on distant planets, or at least in a town big enough to have a stop light.
When not writing, she teaches history and government in North Carolina, where she shares an office with her husband, who heroically pays the mortgage each month, and a golden retriever named Lucy. She still doesn’t get control of the TV very often, thanks to two sports-obsessed kids.
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