Title: Time Eternal
Author: Lily Morgan
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Is This Part of a Series?: Yes (Time Series–Book One)
*I received an electronic copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review
Skyla is a highly-trained member of a secret government agency involved in time travel missions meant to keep the world from falling out of balance and into World War III. Her carefully ordered life falls into chaos, however, when she meets a mysterious man while on a mission. Her body reacts as if she knows the man, but she has no memory of him. To make matters more confusing, he “pushes” her back to her time–without the use of the time machine! When he later shows up inside the secret, highly-guarded government facility, what she knows of her life begins to fall into question. Why is this man interested in her? Who is he? More importantly, who is she?
I found myself enjoying this book, although it was sometimes difficult to know why (due to a few elements of the book that I found distracting). The premise is great, the characters are fun, and when it comes right down to it, I kept going back to read more.
The Nitty Gritty:
As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, there were some (for me) distracting elements to this book. First and foremost was Ms. Morgan’s tendency to over describe thoughts and emotions. Don’t get me wrong, I do want to know what characters are thinking and feeling, but I don’t necessarily want to be told all of it. Tell me some, when it makes sense to. Show me some–maybe even a lot. And occasionally leave a little bit of mystery there too, to help build tension and make the surprises bigger. This was especially noticeable in the first half or so of the book, when the action was a bit slower and there was more time to share character thoughts. I would like to point out to positive things here: first, this “over” description came in handy in describing the landscape of the book–the scenery and furnishings and costuming, so to speak. Secondly, this desire to let us know so much about Ms. Morgan’s thoughts led her to switching point of view characters to those most able to share the appropriate information. It was never constrained by the fact that the character wasn’t the main character. That is a technique that I, personally, enjoy. The story should always be told by the person best suited to tell it, even if that changes from one chapter to the next.
Secondly, there were a several times that the wrong word was used in a story simply (I believe) because of a typo that resulted in a correctly spelled word (which therefore was not caught by spell check) or by a switch in approach mid-sentence (resulting in words like he and his being switched around). In a related issue, there were some word choices that I just plain felt did not fit. Some of the time there were too many words, slowing down the scene at an inappropriate time. Several times there were words that were technically right but didn’t seem to fit with the voice of the character, resulting in a jarring sensation that pushed me out of the story somewhat. And a couple of times there were words that gave details I did not feel were truly necessary–like mentioning that Skyla pulled out her Glock. There was a sentence early on mentioning how weapons needed to be time-appropriate and, in fact, another one later where there was a discussion on how they would not even work if the material components and technology to make them did not exist in the time period being traveled to. These two details combined to make me stop every time technology was mentioned and think about what time period they were in, whether or not the weaponry was appropriate for that time, etc. I don’t want to stop and think–essentially doubting the author–when I am reading. I want the world to be obviously cohesive and consistent, my author to know what he or she is talking about, and the characters to know that they can do X but not Y. I am not saying that anything that Ms. Morgan wrote was wrong–but, I was wondering about it, rather than just sinking into the book and flipping pages as furiously as I could. And all of that thinking could have been stopped by the omission of certain details. Omission can be as important as inclusion, sometimes.
As for the good…it was easy to get on board with Skyla, Rei, Knox, and the others. The antagonists were creepy, slimy, and powerful–and at least one of them was well-hidden for a good portion of the book. The idea of the TSCAA (the time-traveling government agency Skyla works for) is intriguing and fun, and I really like the premise that the time machine was invented during the 1500s, but due to a mishap was lost until present day. I also like the ideas Ms. Morgan plays with when discussing which events the TSCAA and Mr. X have been “fighting” over–some are big moments in history that are easy to imagine as history-altering. Some are smaller. Growing up on shows like Sliders, this is a concept that appeals to me. As a romance, there are sex scenes involved–both on and off screen–and I believe these were well done, with probably some of the best writing (for my tastes) in the whole book, with just the right amount of information, consistent and appropriate pacing, and a balance of sparks and character (and plot) development.
Goodreads Rating: 3.8 (5 Ratings)
Amazon Rating: 5.0 Stars (6 Reviews)
My Rating: 3 Stars
This was a tough one for me to rate. There was such a pull between things I liked and things that distracted me. What it finally boiled down to, though, was the idea that I did keep going back to the book. The premise and characters are a 4 or 5 star crew. I finished it. I would like to read at least one more book to see where the series and Ms. Morgan’s balance-in-writing go from here. But the distractions, well, distracted me. A lot. It kept me at the surface of the book rather than allowing me to really sink into it. Still while the typo/editing type errors are not a personal opinion type of issue, most of the other negatives are more of a personal pet peeve and, I believe, difference in stylistic approach than a strictly good or bad approach to the writing craft. So. I liked it a fair amount, but it felt rough around the edges.