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Here and Now and Then – Mike Chen – Review

Kin is a time traveling time cop. He is tasked with keeping the time line intact but a malfunction stands him in the past. Eighteen years later he has a wife and daughter and his future catches up with him. He his torn away from his life and forced to return to his old life.
He finds out that his departure caused issues for his daughter. In an effort to help her he put a target on her back. Now he must go where and whenever to save her.

“I need more time.”

Kin, pg, 78

I was impressed with the way that time travel was done in this book. Sometimes time travel becomes one of those concepts that you have to have a science degree to understand. I love time travel but if I can’t follow how it works I get bogged down and taken out of the story.

I felt like this book did a good job of explaining the idea and how it worked in this world. While there was science that I can’t verify or full understand I felt like I knew enough to follow what was going on. I understood why the decisions were made that were made. I got the consequences of the actions made. It all flowed nicely.

I also liked how the future was presented. I felt like it fit in well with our time period. While you have flying cars and museums with fried food you also have standard jobs and homes. It wasn’t made to seem like the whole world changed in a century. Sometimes I feel like the “future” becomes this huge monster that you can’t even relate to in this books. In this one it kept us grounded.

“Impossible tasks don’t have happy endings, just burdens.”

Markus, pg. 195

I had a bit of an issue with the way actions or behaviors was talked about in this book. While I am not someone who thinks show don’t tell is the bible for writing stories I felt like this one did a lot more telling the showing. There are ways to make sure the reader understands that a certain action is a nervous tick without having to be told it is.

It then becomes a recurring thing. If we are told once that a certain hand movement is a result of nerves, all of a sudden we are remind of that over and over again. It becomes something that bogs down the story. It would have worked fine to just tell us what they were doing and let us as a reader figure out what it means.

“My life is different now. It’s the same, yet different.”

Penny, pg. 286

My biggest issue with this book were the characters. I am a character reader. I need to be attached to someone, if not multiple people. I have occasionally found a book where the plot is so fascinating that it makes up for the characters being lackluster. Unfortunately the book was not one of those.

I found that by the end that I did not have any attachment to anyone. I didn’t care if Kin lived or died. I didn’t care what happened to Miranda. I sat with the book for a while trying to determine why I didn’t care and I think it was because there was no true depth to them. They were all very surface level.

Kin almost loses his daughter and I never felt like he was too scared. I didn’t feel any desperation from him. I also didn’t feel any real love between him and Penny. They were all just there. They moved through the plot doing what they had to do but never did I feel like they left an impression on the story.

I think a few more intimate moments with them might have made me feel more connected. I needed them to have a true and unique voice and in the end they all sounded the same. If I can’t pull out their speech and actions from each other I feel like they are all the same person.

I have this book two stars. Without being attached to any characters the book left little to no impression on me. I walked away without wanting to know more or even thinking about the characters.

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