Classification: Young Adult; (12 - 17 years)
Format: Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Walker Childrens; Reprint edition (August 31, 2010)
Three young, intelligent, and gifted individuals have been recruited to be the unsung heroes of the world. Each was snatched from their time before their tragic deaths. In the year 2044 a scientist by the name of Roald Waldstein created the world's first time machine. Soon after, he realized the error of creating such a machine. The implications of what could be done with it were endless and he decided to destroy the device, or so he said. Realizing time could be altered in significant and devastating ways and that once it was known that such a device could be created it wouldn't take long before someone else created one, a special group was formed to prevent time tampering from occurring. A sort of time police task force was created called Time Riders. Their job is to detect fluctuations within the fabric of time which could cause drastic changes in history.
This sounded like it would be an awesome read and while I liked it, it fell a little flat for me. I got a feeling of déjà vu during the opening scenes as I was reminded of the movie Millenium from 1989. In it, people are rescued from a plane crash and other fatal tragedies so they can help repopulate a dying world. Not exactly the same as this book, but I always thought the idea of snatching someone up before a tragedy was a brilliant one so the movie stuck. At times, It felt a little more like Groundhog Day than Time Riding or time travel. Plus, one of the characters, Bob, was fashioned after Arnold Schwarzeneggar's character in the Terminator. Additionally, there were numerous references to movies and it started feeling like a tribute to all the movies the author ever liked. This isn't a bad thing for an author to do if done properly, but it just got to be a tad bit too much for for my taste and felt overdone.
Parts of the book confused me. I felt like I was seeing rips in the fabric of the story when the author began ignoring his own rules on time travel. In chapter 14 he states, “The archway you awoke in, the field office, exists in a time bubble of forty-eight hours. Two days. Monday the tenth and Tuesday the eleventh of September, 2001. Come midnight on Tuesday it automatically resets back to the beginning of Monday. You, as a team, will live within that time bubble. You will live those two days over and over again, while for the rest of the world those two days will come—and go.” Yet at one point in the book, the bubble limitation doesn't seem to be true for Sal. She's outside the bubble at the wrong time yet there don't seem to be any consequences for her not being where she should be. I wish this had been explained better. Granted the whole concept of time travel and the rules of it are very confusing and complicated, but still...
Overall I liked the book and gave it 3 out of 5 roses. I couldn't really give the author a lot of points for ingenuity as many concepts seemed to be borrowed from other books and movies. It did, however, keep my attention and was entertaining. If I hadn't watched all the movies I have, I probably would have loved the book. It did leave me curious about what time period Foster, their trainer, is from and who exactly he is? Additionally, where are all the other TimeRiders and what about the department they supposedly work for? I guess the author had to leave us with some questions in order to lure us into reading the next story. I have a feeling I'll like the next books more than the first. Hopefully some of the timeline issues will be ironed out and the author will have gotten his love of movie references out of his system. I found it way too distracting.