“Riley, an orphan living in Victorian London, has had the misfortune of being apprenticed to Albert Garrick, a former illusionist turned murderer, who now uses his conjuring skills to gain access to his victims’ dwellings. On one such escapable, Garrick brings his reluctant assistant along and urges him to commit his first killing Riley is saved from having to complete the grisly act when the intended prey turns out to be a scientist from the future, part of the FBI’s Witness Anonymous Relocation Program (WARP). Riley is unwittingly transported via wormhole to modern-day London–with Garrick close on his heels.
In modern London, Riley is aided by Chevron Savano, a seventeen-year-old FBI agent. Together, Riley and Chevie must evade Garrick, who has been fundamentally altered by his trip through the wormhole, Garrick is now not only evil, but he also possesses all of the scientist’s knowledge. He is determined to track down Riley and use the Timekey in Chevie’s possession to literally change the world.”
The main thing that I really had a problem with in this book is how plucky Chevie Savano reads too much like Captain Holly Short from the Artemis Fowl series. Other than that, I found this book highly entertaining.
In this new series, author Eoin Colfer brings to us a genius new premise: what if the government found a way to ensure the safety of witnesses by taking them into the past? Hijinx ensue, of course, but it’s what happens in the past that’s really the highlight of this novel.
Victorian London is a staple to time traveling works of fiction, whether it be in books, television programs, or films. While the locale is usually a character in itself, you can only present this era of London in a very finite number of ways.
So it really helps when you have an interesting host of characters to pad this milieu with. And we do meet interesting characters in this version of Victorian London. Definitely more interesting than the characters we meet in present London anyway.
Although I’ve already written that I found this book entertaining, that doesn’t mean that the book is amazing. It’s not. Especially if you hold it up against author Colfer’s other works. Aside from my aforementioned problem with lead character Chevie Savano, there’s also traces of the Artemis Fowl formula in the other characters too: there’s Opal Koboi in the main villain Garrick, and a very watered down Artemis Fowl in Riley.
But there is potential in this series, I think. Especially with the story trajectory of Riley’s quest to find the mysterious Ginger Tom. Hopefully when the sequel comes around, Chevie would’ve already found a personality of her own.