“Chevron Savano, a seventeen-year-old FBI agent not known for obeying the rules, has arrived home after a time-trip to Victorian London where she helped an orphan boy named Riley escape his murderous master. Present-day London is very different from the one she left. England is being run by followers of a Colonel Box, who control the territory through intimidation and terror. Chevie is absorbed by this timeline and cannot remember fully the history she once belonged to. Though a part of her senses that something is wrong, she moves on with her life as a junior cadet in the Boxite police.
The day Chevie is ordered to confront Professor Charles Smart, the inventor of the time machine, she finds herself thrust back into the past. There, with the help of Riley and a few unlikely allies, she must venture into London’s catacombs and derail the plans of the charismatic leader who is intent on using his knowledge of the future to seize power.”
I had such high hopes for this book. Seriously. Although the first book was, by any means, no Artemis Fowl, it was still entertaining. It was still a fun romp. This second book, on the other hand, had none of that fun. The stakes are raised, the consequences are harsher–and the few cheeky dialogue came off like an attempt at diffusing tension more than actual fun banter.
My main problem with it, I think, is the fact that author Eoin Colfer refused to tone down his humor despite of the story’s heavy theme. The Hangman’s Revolution talks of a future gone wrong because of one small change in the past. Our present becomes a dystopian future come early. And you can understand why Chevron would cling on to her acerbic tongue, but not the other characters. Not the villains, certainly.
I felt a disconnect. Instead of getting absorbed into the action, into the world, I felt displaced by the light tone given to the grim reality being presented. And I can’t help comparing this book to any of the latter releases from the Artemis Fowl series.
That series became more serious as the story progressed, but the characters kept their wits and their humor. And it felt organic, even during the times the characters were reset, memory-wiped, or meeting past selves. That’s because their humor came from the situation. The tone continued to be serious, and the dialogue can be taken seriously–but it’s tongue-in-cheek. It’s situational comedy.
The Hangman’s Revolution‘s humor felt more like slapstick forced into a macho-action thriller. It was out of place. And that affected my overall enjoyment of the novel. And this saddens me. Because I like Chevron and Riley as characters. They have a tendency to be like Holly Short and Artemis Fowl, but they have enough personality of their own to not be a carbon copy.
I will still, however, keep my eye out on a possible third installment from the W.A.R.P. series. Because I believe that, with the time travel arc closed, we could start to have fun with just Chevron, a Native American girl from the future, being in Victorian London.