“Time,” he said solemnly, “is comparable to a river flowing under a layer of ice. It stretches us out like water weeds, from root to tip, from birth to death, curled around whatever rocks or snags happen to lie in our path; and no one can get out of the river because of the ice roof, and no one can turn back against the current for an instant.
Well that’s a fascinating read.
We have a magical mishap that blows holes in time, secret societies at each other’s throats, beggers’ guilds, poets, time traveling tourism, and body swapping shenanigans.
It’s certainly a longer read, yet even with the runtime I found myself wanting more in certain areas.
Things I liked:
The worldbuilding. The idea of a magical explosion rippling through time, with more smaller holes close to the point and fewer, larger holes further out is cool. The secret society bits were fun (although we could have used more) and the magic–once we finally got more of it–was pretty off the wall (in a good way).
The characters. I really felt for our protagonist, stranded out of time. I got a feel for just how little hold on reality Dr. Romani had. And oh Horrabin … that is certainly one that’s going to stick in my mind for a while.
All the random interactions with various time period poets–both real and (I assume) not. It was fun seeing people I’d vaguely heard of. Makes me want to see what they’d written.
Things that took a bit to get into:
For a large chunk of the book, it’s not really a time travel story. The main character is a man out of time, which I appreciate, but having amnesia or just being from another land would probably have done the same. It does really pick up towards the end though, with time loops and other shenanigans taking center stage.
I totally didn’t realize this was written in the 1980s… until they talk about going back to the present in 1983. Thought it was a weird choice at first.
The focus around beggars, especially around those with all manner of real life disabilities–and including those with said disabilities introduced forcefully to them… just feels weird and a bit out of time. I expect it’s mostly a factor of the book having been written around 40 years ago. I think it fits the story really well… just perhaps a bit too much.
Overall, I’m glad to have read it–and find myself wanting more. Onward!