Review: Timehole by John Nielsen

John Nielsen; Paperback, 120 pages
Published January 4th 2011 by
Stacy Carver, a seventeen year old schoolgirl, embarks on a fantastic adventure through time and space. After sending an unmanned spacecraft off course, she inadvertently provides herself with the ability to create wormholes using a common garage door opener. To prevent this power falling into the wrong hands, she must battle evil, both past and present. Her journey finds her trapped in the Middle Ages, where she must fight for her life while seeking a way home to rescue her family from the dark corporation known as Shadotek.

I had fun reading this short novel; there were these adventure scenes that were so exciting and thrilling, a lot of humor thanks to Stacy and Emily, and this strange mix of sci-fi-ish elements with fantasy settings – a really fun way to spend the afternoon.

This is a short, compact read, and it delivers quite the punch. Of the 120-ish pages, I don’t know if we can add up something like 10 where there isn’t some exciting adventure, perilous situation or amazing thing happening to or with one of the two girls or both. I mean, it’s a really exciting ride. The plot itself has this feel of fairytale meets sci-fi-ish sort of thing, very visual and dynamic and I’d see this turned into a YA movie or an anime or something with great success, because the characters are really funny and young and awesome, and the story is entertaining and fast paced.

This of course brought me to a feeling I sometimes get in these fast paced stories: not a lot of connection to the characters. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Stacy and Emily as a duo, they’re fun, witty, snarky in places, a lot of fun to read, but there wasn’t much depth to them because the focus was always on this or that amazing thing that they were doing or that was going on. They didn’t feel shallow or weak, but I felt like there wasn’t enough focus on them to actually help me build a connection as well I could have. And let me tell you why I feel there should have been; for one, the length of the book permitted it, we’re not talking of a 600 pages book here so there was no need really to cut it shorter or something. Then because as these characters felt, this could easily turn into a series for instance, and if I’d gotten a bit more of a connection with them, and I could have, all the elements were there except a bit more focus on them as personalities, I would follow their adventures high and low and never once get bored, of that I’m sure.
In this of course personal taste is the main key, I’m cool with action, fast-paced or less so, as long as I get consistency of character with it; I’m not the type to watch action movies because of the high-speed chases and monumental blasts, but I will watch a movie like that if one character in there, preferably the main, has real depth and substance to it. If not, it goes into the “simply entertainment” category, that’s a pile of things I probably had some fun with on our first “date” but I wouldn’t give it a second go, you know?

This book felt like it could have been considerably more charming if the characters would have been a bit more of characters then action heroes, but then again it is YA so maybe it’s a good thing the focus falls on the action and fun part of it, and less on the inner workings of the characters involved. I’m having more of an adult mood lately, I want substance and complexity, and then we can have some entertaining stuff going on as well. I dunno.

Overall I say give this YA a try, it’s a short and entertaining read, and does leave you with this upbeat feeling.



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