Review: Towards Yesterday by Paul Jones

    Towards Yesterday
Paul Jones ; Kindle Edition, Published May 3rd 2011 (first published May 2011)
When a seemingly simple experiment goes disastrously wrong, James Baston finds himself stranded alongside the rest of mankind, twenty-five years in the past. A past where the old are once more young, the dead live and the world has been thrust into chaos.
Contacted by the scientist responsible for the disaster, James is recruited to help avert an even greater catastrophe. Along with a team of scientists, a reincarnated murder victim and a frustrated genius trapped in a six-year old body, James must stop the certain extinction of humanity. But if the deluded leader of the Church of Second Redemption has his way, humanity will disappear into potentiality, and he is willing to do anything to ensure that that happens.
A serial killer, a murder victim, a dead priest, and James’ lives are all inextricably bound together as they plummet towards an explosive final confrontation, the winner of which will decide the fate of humanity
Goodreads on Towards Yesterday

This review will be a disappointment; apparently, Paul Jones enjoys 1 star reviews. Seriously, he says so himself right here. You know how you know it is a really good writer? It’s not just the novel they wrote that you like – it’s basically everything that they write that you like. Those are keepers. Now, let’s get back to what really matters: how about them Bulls? No, wait, that wasn’t it…

I’ll begin the properer part of my review by saying I’m not a particular fan of post-apocalyptic sci-fi; there’s something about cleverly thought up ways for me and my cat to be disintegrated as material forms that just doesn’t strike my fancy, you know? I mean, give me a fantasy version of some monster hot-stud villain that wants to kill me, oh I’m down with that, because in the back of my mind, as real and riveting as your tale might be, I know it’s a tale. It’s not jarring, it’s not disturbing, no matter how gore-ish you’re making my villain-happy ending. But cleverly thought up sci-fi versions of the end of my world? That doesn’t quite come through as fiction, much. That’s more like moderately imminent impending d00m. Which is fun, of course, if you’d like to have your hair white before age 30.
Hence, this novel benefited from zilch benevolence from my part, and I mean, nada. It offers up smart ways for me and my cat to not be history, but just cease to have ever existed, pretty much. Nope, no benevolence from me, at all.

And here comes the proper part of my review. You love how I mapped it all out, don’t you?
Good God, the artful penmanship this writer has! To make me, a non-fan of the genre, twist and turn and cheer (for the most odd of characters, no less)! I’ll do my best to keep it logic-like instead of raving.

Ok, so, first stop on our tour, characters. Hell yeah! Erm…I mean, great work
Jim is entirely precious; I liked him at grumpy 60, and at happier younger times. I liked him in pain, and in joy. I loved Lark because he loves her so. I loved Rebecca and suffered right alongside her in the most horrific moments. And it is in such terrific, emotionally charged moments where Paul Jones‘s true talent shines the most; sufficiently intense, without becoming unbearable, it’s the tensest moments of the plot that truly won me over.

Of course, as far as characters go, my personal favorite is none other then Byron, and what a choice for a name, too! Pretty brilliant. This should come as no surprise for peeps reading my reviews, I am infamous for my propensity towards the bada$$/villain/evil part of the crowd. At some point while reading I was beginning to fear he might be just a momentary fun-ride, but no fear, Paul Jones did not forsake little old Byron. And as fun as the bad guy always is, in this particular case, I enjoyed even more the

“Bish! You lishle bish!”

moment. Upon reading, you’ll know what I mean, fu~fu.

Now, the plot is one nifty little thing; well, more like omniverse-dimensional nifty thing, but I thought I shouldn’t get all dramatic. Sci-fi classic awesomeness, I guess one could say.
It gets a bit hairy as you near the end of the novel, culminating with a young genius explaining things you’ll have to take a double take of (or maybe that’s just me; have I ever told you I never once had any resemblance of a soft spot for physics? Shocking, I know!), and most lovely of all, it provides you with a tightly knit lovely ending.
There were lots of moments when I seriously doubted any sort of similar ending would appear, the plot just kept me guessing all the while. I still expected it all to turn a totally different way, down to the very last words. You wanna know how it ends, don’t you? Well go ahead and read it if you haven’t already, I’m not spilling any beans

Why on Earth (and other places) did I not go for the sweet spot, 5 butterflies? This is a matter of totally subjective personal taste; it’s the structure of the novel. I have some sort of personal discomfort with sequenced plots, when the perusing of sequences goes, well, towards yesterday. It just gives me this off-balance feeling, that I can’t get over, no matter how good the writing is, or how lovely the characters are. There’s a seriously clockwise part of me that just doesn’t sit well with a trigonometric sense of time, you know? But as I’ve said, that’s a purely personal thing. If you’re into sci-fi, hell, even if you’re not into it, you’ll most certainly give it a full 5 out 5.

So, I enthusiastically encourage you to give this novel a try. It’s a sci-fi classic fabulous read, it builds up tenderly, then becomes tense, quick-paced, mind-blowing, riveting – oh just go ahead and try it, you know you want to!


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