Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Map of Time - Felix J. Palma

Title: The Map of Time
Author: Felix J. Palma
Hardcover: 609 pages
Publisher: Atria Books
Published Date: June 2011
FTC: Received/won from Atria via Shelf Awareness

I was beyond excited when I received a copy of The Map of Time in the mail.  The cover is just simply amazing.  This is simply one of the many reasons why I love physical books.  The end paper is gorgeous as well.  Check out the picture I snapped at the end of the post.  Anyway.  The book deals with classic authors, the Victorian era, Jack the Ripper, time travel...I was sold.

The synopsis from GoodReads:

The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma. Set in Victorian London with characters real and imagined, The Map of Time is a page-turner that boasts a triple play of intertwined plots in which a skeptical H.G. Wells is called upon to investigate purported incidents of time travel and to save lives and literary classics, including Dracula and The Time Machine, from being wiped from existence. What happens if we change history?

My thoughts:

The first thing you'll notice is this book is a chunkster.  It's beautifully bound but at just over six hundred pages, it can be a bit daunting.  The good thing is that it is actually a quick read.  I thought the GoodReads synopsis was quite a bit - well if not misleading then a little simplistic for what the book really was about.  I don't want to give too much away so I'll try to be as enigmatic as possible and still get across my ideas.

The book is divided into three parts.  The narrator is this omniscient person who sees all and sometimes talks to the reader.  I usually find this pretty fun and this was no exception.  Part One deals with wealthy Andrew Harrington.  He is planning on killing himself.  The reasons involve Jack the Ripper, a prostitute -- again I don't want to give too much away.  Very early on we learn that it's been a year since Jack the Ripper was caught.  (What?!)

The story includes a gentlemen in London who claims to have found a way to travel to the year 2000 when the automatons have pretty much razed the world (again ???).  He sets up a business called Murray's Time Travel where wealthy travelers can take a day trip to the year 2000 and see a famous battle.   Part two deals more with Murray's Time Travel and a wealthy girl named Claire who wants to escape the drudgery of being a woman in the Victorian era.

As you can see.  Quite not what I was expecting.  I talked a little bit to a fellow blogger who was also reading The Map of Time and wasn't quite sure if she was liking it or not.  I said....I totally understand but hang in there until Part Three.  O yeah.  Totally worth it.  While Parts One and Two were well written and entertaining --- it just wasn't turning out to be the book I wanted.  That's always dangerous to go into a book with certain expectations.  HOWEVER ---- Part Three totally shifted everything into a whole different focus and totally made me end up - if not loving the book then being exactly the kind of book I was wanting to read.

To sum it up:

Parts One and Two are a bit odd.  Entertaining but odd.  Part Three rocks.  I loved that H.G. Wells really is a major player throughout the book.  Historical and literary characters such as Bram Stoker, Henry James, Jack the Ripper, and Joseph Merrick (the elephant man).  I loved learning new things like the real automata dolls built by Jaquet-Droz (seriously check out the link...weird...).

I didn't like that it took until Part Three for me to really enjoy the book (about five hundred pages).  It's not that the rest wasn't entertaining - but I kept eying other books on the shelf.  That and every so often I'd think that something was a bit juvenile - for instance when Claire first meets Captain Shackleton (I'm trying not to have any spoilers so that's all I'll say - but if you've read the book then you'd see what I mean).

So there we go.  Quite an interesting read and quite the perfect Autumn read for the R.I.P. VI Challenge.

Another cool cover:

As I was persusing the internet, it looks like this may be the first book in a trilogy.  This would surprise me because it seemed like a very much stand-alone type of book.  Anyone know anything about this?

As promised, here's the gorgeous end covers of the book.  Lovely, right?

Head over to the book's website for some cool stuff.  I have the wallpaper on my laptop and he has a cool list of Additional Reading for time travel/Victorian stuff - like Jack Finney's books.  I love when author's do that.

Also Reviewed by:

Book Chatter
Alive on the Shelves
At Home with Books
Fyrefly's Book Blog

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