The Time Thief (The Gideon Trilogy: Book Two)
Age 12 and up
The Time Thief, by Linda Buckley-Archer, is the second book of her time travel series The Gideon Trilogy. Without giving away the ending of the first book, The Time Thief continues the adventures of twelve-year-olds Peter and Kate and the many acquaintances they made along their journey in book one. I recommend reading The Time Travelers (book 1) first, because this book does not completely stand on its own. The author does attempt to bring new readers up to speed, but the nature of the story is such that the reader should start at the beginning.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the first book. It moved too slowly and the characters never really resonated with me. However, while the pacing wasn’t ideal, the plotting and her use of time travel were some of the best I’ve come across. The second book was much better on all fronts. The characters really came to life and the pacing improved as well.
The Time Thief uses many different viewpoint characters which does help in telling the story, but at times I felt there were a few too many. On the other hand, while the author uses a lot of viewpoints, she doesn’t randomly add characters to suit her needs. Characters that came and went in the first novel (that I had completely forgotten about) make appearances and play rather large roles in the second book. It really is quite a feat of plotting.
This novel takes place in modern day England, 18th century England and revolutionary France. The amount of detail is amazing…sometimes a little too much as it bogs the story down…but the research that had to be done for this novel is truly mind boggling. Through all this history the action still does a good job of moving the story forward and it’s never predictable. As a reader I never knew what would happen next or even how the novel would end. I loved that the book kept me guessing the entire time.
If you want to study how a good time travel works, read this book. It’s a really, really good example, despite its slow beginning, and plot-wise it is a masterpiece. The author sets up rules and strictly follows them. The consistency with how the time travel works, the effects it has on the characters and the consequences of those effects are brilliant. The time travel isn’t static either. The characters learn how to manipulate time. Time affects the characters. There are so many layers to the time travel in this novel—when I say brilliant I’m really not exaggerating.
I can’t say I loved this book, but I absolutely appreciated what the author has accomplished. I definitely think it’s worth the read, especially if you’re interested in time travel.
On a side note: I never quite understand why, when a British book gets “translated” into American English, the titles sometimes change too. I actually like the British titles better and even the series name is more suited to the novels—The Time Quake Trilogy (British) vs. The Gideon Trilogy (American). The books really are more about the time travel than Gideon. I just wonder sometimes, who makes these decisions and why. I even like the British book covers better! (comparisons below)