The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma(4 out of 5)

When I say this was a weird book, I mean it in the nicest way. It is weird. Unlike a book I have read yet. The closest I came to the format and overall style of writing was Orson Scott Card’s book Pastwatch. Which is funny, because my co-worker Matt had recommended that to me and I read it and enjoyed it. In fact, I had just re-read the end several times before I started this book. There are parallels, but I think Orson Scott Card gets the 5 stars.

It’s hard for me to go into a lot of parts of the novel because what I would normally say- would give quite a bit of it away. And it’s quite a tangled little web, this novel. H.G. Wells, author of The Time Machine, is the central character in the book, but there are also memorable plot appearances by Bram Stoker and the Elephant Man. There is history, romance, time travel, deception, and some beginning elements of steampunk in this book. It’s also hard to write a review because I am at a loss how to tie it up into one neat little review package. You have three parts to the story- all of them tie H.G. Wells and time travel into the story. What I did like was all of the characters were extremely well-thought out in thought, plot and dialogue. What I didn’t like was there were parts of the story where it felt like you were reading a page out of a cheesy Victorian romance novel. There were parts you could dream in detail about what you were reading, and then parts where I sat there and said “What the fuck? Is this over yet?”(something I hadn’t said since my ex). Books like this are going to make me indecisive over rating. I hope his next book, following up this one- is a little bit more cohesive and a little less rampant with the jumping around. If it’s a House of Pain song, ok. But a time travel novel well, not so much.

I always liked The Time Machine. Now I feel a need to revisit it. H.G. Wells, as written here, is a fascinating psychological character study. I know find I want to know more about him. Tom Blunt and Clarice Haggerty- the second story- you’re pulled into their unconventional love story and how it plays into this. The grisliness of Jack the Ripper’s murders- reading about that made me want to pull out that Patricia Cornwell book where she figures out the identity of the real Jack the Ripper. Henry James- another misunderstood and often unheralded talent in literature- makes an appearance. All of these appearances into the stories- make you want to revisit the literary stage you may have not been on in a while. That’s definitely a good thing. The book, despite being lengthy, makes it so easy to get into. You read through it quickly- sans those lengthy missives that take up a lot of the book- and you aren’t disappointed. It’s just hard to plow through all of those letters. If you can get past that, I think you’ll give the book 5 stars. Overall I loved the unpredicatability of the stories.

~ by generationgbooks on October 30, 2012.

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