Do you like transformational stories where the underdog succeeds against all odds and comes out on top? All while being thrown into a previously unknown multidimensional universe, where what you previously knew to be true no longer holds true on so many levels, and you must adapt or die from the moment you arrive? An action packed, non-stop, fun romp of Speculative Fiction at it’s best.
*mild spoilers ahead*
Time Bridges is a raw, high energy, kill or be killed, story of survival. Brimming with action, non stop pacing throughout. We meet Piffle, who has been plucked from her home, and reality as she knows it. To be injected into a reality that is multiple realities. Thousands of them, in fact. She must keep up, and quickly learn to protect herself, to thrive in her new environment; because there is no option to go back home. Fortunately, Piffle does thrive, and excel. We journey with her, through the training program of the Kanean Federation – the outcome of the the training are the skilled people who jump between time streams – for various reasons, such as transporting supplies from one to another, or transporting rare material that can be found in no other streams, and distributed for use. The training academy is brutal, and most Drips do not finish, some do not survive. The journey Piffle must make to survive training is filled with action, adventure, new times, and places, and the discovery of a path that she alone must follow. And succeed at all cost.
Personal Disclaimer: I must start with saying, the first time I read Time Bridges, it was in draft form, on a floppy disc, in the mid-90’s. I loved it then. I loved it when our author made it available through Amazon a number of years ago [I bought a real bona-fide hard copy]; and I re-read it now, to prepare myself to read the sequel, Time Bridges 2….
So, that said – clearly, I consider the author a personal friend, and that may or may not tint my feelings here. But also that said: I’m [now] a passionate lover of science fiction, and soak in as many stories as I can. Back during my first read, I was not knowingly a science fiction fan. I simply really liked to read. So my first read through, wasn’t swayed by my love of all things sci fi.
I remember, when I read it, thinking: “This would be a crazy awesome movie!” And, I still think that – which says a lot, in my opinion. Back then it was ‘before’ movies such as The Matrix [A personal favourite of mine.] And I had mostly likely never watched Star Trek, or Star Wars [yet, friends, Yet.] So I want to say… back then I don’t know how it would have transformed into a movie, and been amazing [Meaning, we didn’t have the capabilities to do such a script justice.] But I thought it would be amazing…. But now? Now we know what VFX is capable of, and have so, so, so, many spectacular Science Fiction movies that are inspiring, and leave me speechless with the quality of the Visual Effects. So now? Yes, now Time Bridges could be made into the movie it deserves to be; and I personally still feel the story is relevant and different enough that it would succeed.
But back to the book review!
Time Bridges gives me all the feels. Good feels, nostalgic feels, icky feels…. There are so many ‘touchstones’ that personally remind me of places, people, events; good and bad. The author does an excellent job pulling up all the emotions, as she weaves us into Piffle’s story. We begin with Piffle, and get a very strong sense of who she is, in that moment. Strong, indefatigable, tireless modern life warrior. Piffle deals with all the crap people bring at her. We learn though the story building, that she has not had an easy life. The detailed descriptions of the hardships and mistreatment she takes, and lets slide off her every moment of every day – this gave me the skin-crawly-ick-feels. And to clarify – it’s more of a ‘PTSD’ feeling of knowing how that feels as kid as well, to be bullied, picked on, etc. It’s presented in a way that just feels like an emotional gut punch. You’re back there feeling insignificant, hurt, unworthy. [That, my friends, is good story telling.]
But, I also feel the highs as well, so many feel good tickles. Sure, part of it is my connection to the author, and understanding the inspiration behind locations, character traits, characters, etc. This leaves me feeling warm and fuzzy inside, happy. Nostalgic for times and places long past. Memories of good times. My point though… is that the writing here pulls you in to the story. In to the characters. We feel with them, we ache, we hurt, we cheer them on, we celebrate in their successes. We care about them. A good story hooks you in like this without you knowing it, and before you know what’s happening, you’re hanging on every word, holding your breath, hoping for the good outcome for them.
- Story pacing?
High energy, and non stop. But without being tiring or confusing. 10/10
- Story character arcs?
Piffle has a huge character arc, filled with journey, one she never even knew was possible. Not only does she grow as a person, she learns, and changes.
Kendris goes from being a self serving asshole with a god complex, to someone who may even be caring and compassionate – at least for those close to him.
Closet monster has big emotional and character arcs. 10/10
- Story arc?
The story has a full arc with a clear defined beginning and end… except.. is it? Because the end of the book answers the how and why of the very beginning. So it’s a circular arc! Just kidding… while it does have some ouroboros happening, there is a full story arc one can feel and appreciate.
The Plot twist at the end I didn’t expect, with the trip to [redacted]. Though, it is foreshadowed in the beginning, it just gets zero play in the story arc from mention in the beginning, to the thread being picked up in the end section. 10/10
- Story writing quality?
Elisa has a knack for good story telling. We are given characters we are invested in, outcomes we root for, and a story that pulls you in, in the kind of way that pushes to you to keep reading hours past when you should have went to bed. Not being able to put down a book is a sure sign of a good story – you must know what happens next! There were a few instances where more careful editing was needed, in my opinion, but overall well written. 8/10
- Story wokeness? ( tolerable / gag me)
We have Sugar, who is presented in a gender-fluid way, and We have Piffle’s interaction with them – being conscientious bout using the correct pronouns, when she wasn’t sure what was preferred for Sugar.
There is no annoying wokeness interjected into the story, which is a true relief. 10/10
- Grates against my annoyances?
None aside from fictional words, as below. 10/10
- Grates against my annoyances? (fictional words)
Most character names are fictional ( or very new to me at least.) They did not roll off the tongue; and were not easy to recall. I’m not a fan, as you know. However, they were not as complex and utterly gibberish as I have seen in many places – they could be sounded out, and ‘said’. So, there’s that. Medium on that scale of tongue tying. 6/10
- Story romance level?
No Romance so to speak. Which is perfect. Stories do not require a romantic component to be complete. 10/10
- Story readability?
I personally was not a fan of the use of an outside narration. In sone instances it felt a wee bit clunky, and intrusive (to my mind), which I think is the opposite of the intention. For me, if just didn’t flow as seamlessly to read as it might. But this is purely a personal preference, not a reflection on how well it was employed within the story. 8/10
- Story Completeness (did it end on a cliff hanger, or a see my next book!)?
The story arc feels complete, and it satisfying. But there are a few lingering story threads that didn’t get tied in to the finished tapestry of it all. One being: Where is Terrel? And why hasn’t he ‘returned’ to the first? 9/10
- Did the story cover familiar ground, or go new places?
All the new places! We should more accurately ask: Where did this story go that was familiar? Time streams. Bridges. Ice Wolves. 10/10
- Was there anything I wanted to know that was left unanswered?
- what reason is a time stream ‘restricted’? [and why was Piffles’ home stream specifically a restricted stream?]
- what consequences happened in the 200th, after piffle just disappeared? (as in what’s happening in the 200th now?)
- what about Ziz made Brenden think it’s Gorean? (we learn later that Bridges can look like so many different appearances, and sizes, so this confuses me.)
- what exactly is a ‘Drip’?? We definitely understand it’s derogatory in it’s use, but we’re never given information to what it means.
- piffle kills the Closet Monster. But then doesn’t pull his own trick and destroy his resurrection backup. So, He’ll return and be even more angry and filled with revenge? Does not seem like a good outcome. 6/10
- Things I really liked / or didn’t like
I loved the originality of the story. Science Fiction is a well filled genre. Having a story feel fresh is a great accomplishment!