RogerBW's Blog

And the Rest Is History, Jodi Taylor 15 May 2023

2017 science fiction, eighth in the Chronicles of St Mary's series (time travel). Everything is finally going well for Max. But not for long.

In fact this book seemed to be going out of its way to make everything go as wrong as possible, including killing off several long-running characters, and I rather lost patience with it. I was reminded of Lois McMaster Bujold's principle of working out what a character would least like to happen to them, then inflicting it on them; sure, it makes for a dramatic story, but sometimes it's just Too Much. Or perhaps I wasn't in a mood for being put through the emotional wringer.

The historical expeditions, a set of four leading up to the Battle of Hastings, are great, and go relatively well. But there's more deus ex machina villainy: and what is the point of arresting someone if you already know that he'll be free later in his timeline? What's the point of setting out to kill him if you've already seen him die? This feels like a serious fumbling of the time-travel ball, though Taylor has otherwise been doing a good job of building a world in which it's clear that all of past and future events are actually fixed, but trying to keep it dramatically interesting by preventing the characters from realising this.

A very rough start led to something of a recovery by the end. I'll carry on with the series, but perhaps reserve the next one for when I'm feeling more cheerful.

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Previous in series: The Great St Mary's Day Out | Series: Chronicles of St Mary's

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