With the help of a rag-tag group of historical and mythical figures with various supernatural abilities of their own (Joan of Arc, Jesse James, etc) known as the Knights of Time, Rolland solves the mystery behind his mother's murder, falls in love, battles the evil Edward Vilthe - reaper of souls, and finds a home of his own in the paradise known as Eden.
A novel Kirkus Review calls a 'blend of X-Men and Doctor Who with a side of historic fact' Time is Relative for a Knight of Time is fantasy fiction at its finest.
The Time is Relative series chronicles the origin story of the mythical figure Father Time, beginning with the award winning first novel, Time is Relative for a Knight of Time. All dates and events are historically accurate.
The participants... maybe not.
I have mixed feelings about this book. The author did some really wonderful things, while simultaneously struggling in a few other areas. Either way, I really feel that this author possesses a natural knack for storytelling with this wildly imaginative time travel adventure. I think it simply needs a little direction as far as plot and structure goes, but I'll get to that in a minute. I want to point out the things that were wonderful about this book. I'm not going to waste time telling you what the book is about because I assume that most of you have already read the synopsis.
The author did a nice job of demonstrating the thought processes and actions of a normal seventeen-year-old boy on the cusp of adulthood. A lot of young adult novels tend to make these male heroes more mature than I think is believable. Rolland's behavior concerning two young women who are cute and attracted to him was just so typical I had to laugh outright at some of the things he said or did that were awkward, sarcastic and sometimes spot on. A nature-gasm? Seriously? Hilarious! His propensity for witty sarcasm and a blatant disregard for rules was, in a word, awesome. I couldn't help but like the guy. He finds out he is capable of time travel and decides that the best way to use that gift is to alter history to prevent the murder of his mother. This choice leads us to a different part of history, landing all of the characters smack dab in the middle of a war between Native Americans and Andrew Jackson's American troops in Florida in the 1800's which lends itself to a variety of settings and some really intense obstacles to overcome.
Rolland is nicely flawed, dealing with abandonment issues and an impulsive nature where his instincts urge him to take on villains with no thought of himself. His character is given dimension when his natural propensity for saving lives is challenged while he attempts to kill Andrew Jackson for all of the monstrous acts the man has committed. He's the kind of character one can really sink their teeth into.
The secondary characters were a great support for the story and added depth and dimension to the plot. I found the writing to be entertaining, eloquent, and fluid with its brilliant descriptions of scenery, fighting sequences and sparkling dialogue. The idea of a team of Knights of Time defending the flow of time and innocent people is noble and exciting while being original in the way it was executed. As I stated before, I thought the whole concept was very imaginative.
There are a few suggestions I would give to the author, not to discourage him, but to help him make the book that much more enjoyable for his readers.
*Spoiler alert here. Just wanted to warn you.*
I think a content editor would do this book a world of good. The plot and structure seemed a bit random and sometimes out of sync with certain goals the characters had or even with certain scenes. The only clear goal I picked up was from Rolland himself when he decided to go save his great great etc. grandmother from being killed. Wonderful. Marvelous. So I'm all set for a rescue mission which will probably go awry. Love things like that. He arrives with his teammates and saves his ancestor (Blaisey) in the nick of time, but the team is separated into two separate groups with one random teammate, Victor, being captured by Andrew Jackson.
You would assume that with the group's separation the next goal would be to get everyone back together, rescue Victor, and return back to Eden with curve balls thrown in to prevent this from happening. One group is with the natives and another is with Rolland and Blaisey. I was a little confused with Tina's behavior when she went for a walk away from the native's living area and eventually stumbled upon Rolland's group. The natural reaction would be to announce herself and then say, "Hey, so glad I found you guys. The rest of us are back that a' way." Instead, she remains silent and merely listens in on a random conversation between Sephanie and Rolland about Rolland's father. Then she leaves without announcing her presence, without letting them know where the rest of the group is, and without reuniting them as a team. I was super confused by that. Her behavior didn't line up with what I assumed was the next plot point or even her own feelings for Rolland.
So then I thought that maybe I had missed something and went back to see if she was astral projecting, not even sure if that was her gift as well as Marcus'. I don't think she was, but even if she had been, and I missed it, wouldn't she have told Marcus and Joan where the other group was and gone after them? Or why didn't Blaisey lead them back to the native's camp? She lives there. She must know her way around enough to do that, right? Just some inconsistencies I noticed that didn't help to make sense of where the author had decided to go with the story.
Then the next goal is to go and help Blaisey get her siblings back. Their several confrontations with Andrew Jackson seemed a bit discombobulating, and I had no idea how the heck Victor escaped or who the men in black body suits were until later, which I felt needed to be addressed right away. With so many players involved and so many people fighting on different sides of the war it was difficult to keep all of that straight. And where did Victor's group get those black body suits? A little confusing there.
Then pirates come into play and green clawed creatures on a beach with a crazy monster fighting as well. Once again, a lot of players with no clear goals pertaining to what these various sides wanted. The author didn't really make that clear until about halfway through the book where we find that Vilth, one of the villains, is the one guiding Andrew Jackson, the green creatures, and even the pirate's captain in order to wage a war against the Knights of Time. I really feel like it would have been helpful if the author had added a scene from Vilth's point of view, right after Rolland takes everyone through the time portal.
Vilth could have had his informant let them know about the team's accidental time travel. Armed with that knowledge he is now intent on arriving there as well in order to thwart the Knight's plans and recruit Randall to his side. Yet another opportunity to clearly state the villain's goals and reasons for being present in the 1800's where Randall's team is, otherwise, why in the world is he there? Was he already there, and the team just happened to get there when he was orchestrating the destruction of an entire native american tribe? To what end was he orchestrating the tribe's destruction if that was really the goal? Again, some clarity is needed.
One more thing I want to point out. Sephanie demonstrates her power over the elements at the very beginning of the book, but then we never see it again after that. There were so many moments she could have used her gift to save them from precarious situations. If she is capable of turning the tide of a war against the Americans at the very beginning of the book then it stands to reason she would have enough power to give their enemies a run for their money during that attack on the beach. Now clearly she is working for a different side, but it seems more prudent for her to aid her comrades to further perpetuate the lie that she is on their side. Then suddenly she is Persephone right out of mythology. That, though a bit random, is an intriguing plot twist. I think if the author does a little more foreshadowing in that department, that revelation will make a bit more sense.
There was a lot of head jumping. At one moment we see things from Randall's POV and then within the next paragraph we are getting Sephanie's or Tina's POV or whoever else he is with. Each point of view needs to be in it's own scene otherwise we aren't sure from which POV the narrative is coming from.
Marcus goes from chasing after Randall in order to prevent him from killing Jackson to aiding the Creek Indians in their war against the Americans then back to chasing Randall again. He can't be in two places at once, unless he was astral projecting again and that wasn't clearly stated, though I'm assuming he would need to be lying prone to do that in which case he can't be chasing Rolland up a hill. Another inconsistency worth rectifying.
One more question. What happened to Dolly's companion Hannah once she reached Eden? I assumed her introduction in the book meant she would be a key player. Just wondering.
After reading this, one might think I didn't like the book. I did. Quite a bit, actually which is why I took the time to point out these items that will fix structural issues and plot inconsistencies making this book sparkle like the gem I know it is. So, yeah, a content editor. Helpful, those!
All suggestions aside, I really think young adults will eat this book up, especially fans of time travel who also enjoy a nice hint of romance. This series is clearly going places, and I am anxious to find out where Brett Matthew Williams intends to take us. He is a talented author worth following.
He quickly moved on to serve as an Original Series intern with the USA Network in Studio City, California. Following work on shows like Monk, Psych, and Burn Notice, Brett returned home to Texas to continue his education, graduating with his degree in History from Texas State University. A proud Master Freemason, Brett thoroughly enjoys fantasy fiction, watching Netflix, running, baseball, Shakespeare, and spending time with critters.