Wednesday 13 July 2016

#bookreview: The Chronicles of St Mary's - Book 1 & 2

Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St Mary's, #1)Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wasn't intending to review this (picked it up free on Amazon, would rather have left a star rating only. Oh wait. I actually bought this with my gift card. I don't remember why.) but then I picked up the second book (A Symphony of Echoes) as an ARC from Edelweiss. So duh, now I have to review this too.

Just One Damned Thing After Another is an extremely enjoyable read. It's a time-travelling romp (if I may use that word) through history. If you like time travel stories, this is perfect for you. If you like snarky stories, this is also right for you. If you like powerful women protagonists (who are also charming and a little flustered) then this is it too.

One thing I have to say about it is that it does tend to meander a bit, like Maxwell, who can't keep her head on straight all the time, so if you want a quick read, this isn't it. It's long. Enjoyably long. And it's twisty. It's OH MY GOSH WHY DID THAT HAPPEN HOW COULD YOU twisty. Because it isn't just time travel and history. It's intrigue and betrayal and nasty people. Of course, there's a bit of romance - pretty nicely done for the most part; the prudish part of me says maybe one scene could've been faded to black. But eh, it doesn't overpower the whole story or take over the narrative, which is good.

So yes. Snarky strong woman time travel story. WIN.

(Get it here)

A Symphony of Echoes (The Chronicles of St. Mary's, #2)A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I often find the second book in a series not quite up to par with the first, especially when you've really, really loved the first book. Probably because the first one has set the bar too high.

Maxwell is still as engaging, and the stakes are as high as ever, and the plot twists keep twisting and twisting on themselves... and maybe that's it. After the mind-bogglingness that was Just One Damned Thing After Another, reading A Symphony of Echoes right away did not give my brain enough time to rest. Then again, did I really want it to rest? Thinking it through, I think the main reason I started balking over this one was the fact that she brought in my nemesis: time-travelling paradox.

I mean, yes, the paradox did appear a few times in the first book, but there, it was pretty simple to understand: DON'T BRING ANYTHING BACK, DON'T LEAVE ANYTHING THERE. In this one, you're faced with a pretty indestructible antagonist. Yes, Clive Ronan is still actively trying to destroy St. Mary's, but this time, history *has* to be on his side... merely because killing him now (or, at least, at the specific times Maxwell and her team are travelling to) would create a huge time paradox because he needs to stay alive in order to go back into the past to try to kill them. (Ugh brain. And yes, that last sentence made sense, I think?)

It's like you're hurtling through time and space over and over again, and you're like... stop! Just stop!

At any rate, this one is a little bit more heart-wrenching. I don't always like romances in my scifi, and yes, I mentioned it in the review of the first book, but the dynamics between Maxwell and Chief just drag you in and I don't know if I want to hit her over the head or side with her. Taylor still meanders a little - you can see the disjointedness between the first trip and the rest of the story - but oh well, it's still interesting even if it isn't exactly important?

So, minor annoyances aside, still a great read. :)

Note: I received a digital ARC from Edelweiss for review purposes.

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