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Time Salvager Hardcover – July 7, 2015

4.1 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Time Salvager Series

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Editorial Reviews


Chu creates a fascinating world, strange and familiar, infused with humor, sorrow, courage, greed, and sacrifice. This page-turner is a riveting, gratifying read. - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

An utterly captivating time-travel adventure. To put it simply, Chu’s worldbuilding is extraordinary. - RT Book Reviews (4 ½ stars, a Top Pick!)

Smart, fast, and fun. - Brent Weeks, New York Times bestselling author of the Lightbringer series

Time twisting action-adventure as only Wesley Chu could imagine it. I enjoyed it a lot. Read this book! - Ann Leckie, author of the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Ancillary Justice

A gripping, taut space opera about keeping hope in hopeless circumstances. Immensely enjoyable. - Robert Jackson Bennett, author of City of Stairs

Chu has taken a simple, brilliant premise and built upon it an epic universe full of thrills and wonder. - Jason M. Hough, New York Times bestselling author of The Darwin Elevator

More than a compelling, innovative take on the perks and pitfalls of time travel - Time Salvager is a sharp study of how human nature might prove mankind's salvation, or eventually doom us all. This is world-building that will make you fear for the future. In a good way. - Cherie Priest, author of Maplecroft

A powerful and compelling search of the past for redemption in the present, by turns thrilling and sweet and gut-wrenching. - Kevin Hearne, author of the Iron Druid Chronicles

A clever, cautionary sf tale with cool gadgets, characterization that surprised me in the best possible way, and multiple cunning twists. - Kate Elliott, author of the Crown of Stars series

With time travel, force-field kung fu, and a huge helping of wit, Wesley Chu transmogrifies a bleak long-whimper apocalypse into vicious, high-octane fun. - Max Gladstone, author of the Craft Sequence

A fast-paced ride that offers a fresh spin on time travel, combines it with a high-stakes plot and genuinely innovative action, and spices the blend with a healthy dose of irreverent humor. - Jacqueline Carey, author of Kushiel's Dart

Exciting, interesting, and never forgetting the fun of ideas, this is brilliant new stuff. - Paul Cornell, author of London Falling

A time-warping science fiction thrill ride. - Jaye Wells, author of the Sabrina Kane series

Gripping - Howard Tayler, Hugo Award-winning creator of Schlock Mercenary

About the Author

WESLEY CHU is a finalist for the 2015 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. His debut novel, The Lives of Tao, earned him a Young Adult Library Services Association Alex Award and a Science Fiction Goodreads Choice Award Finalist slot.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition first Printing edition (July 7, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765377187
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765377180
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #441,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The short review:
An excellent premise with loads of potential squandered in shallow characters, cringe-worthy dialogue, cliches galore, and clunky writing. This is a bad book. You, on the other hand, might like it. I see lots of glowing reviews on the interweb. So if you don’t want me to pick apart a book that you like, then stop reading. However, if you want my complete list of gripes, then here is...

The longer, more brutal review and other thoughts:
Get out the cliche checklist. Here we go…

Earth and her oceans destroyed by megacorporation misconduct? Check.

Megacorporation and tech giant that abuses a poor and/or primitive tribal peoples? Check.

Disillusioned member of the megacorporation having a change of heart at a convenient point in the plot so that the protagonist can escape, but at least he feels good about himself now that he has a clean conscience? Check.

Megacorporation harbors secrets that aren’t really all that secret? Check.

Gruff main character who is a loner and a drinker but discovers his heart of gold when he meets a girl? Check.

Primitive tribal people, who are abused by the megacorporation, take in the hero and show him how the world can be a better place if the people just work together, care for the land, and care for one another? (paging Avatar and Dances with Wolves.) Check.

Scientist who is able to quickly figure out problems that no one else can? Check. (Well, okay...only kinda...but it’s still close enough for me to put it on the list.)

Two female characters who fight with each other because they’re both looking for the affections of the main character, but then come to an understanding and become close? Check.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The popular thing to do these days is for authors to write trilogies. The major downfall of Time Salvager is this could have been a very good stand alone book. Instead, one third is readable and the other two thirds are filler that does nothing to propel the story. The first part of the book was exciting and the character development was moving along nicely. The book hit a wall of absolute boredom in the middle. It was painfully slow. It was very repetitious. I think I read the same sentences in different parts of the book. The last third consisted of a never ending cartoonish fight scene. The book had strong potential that fails to deliver. I will not purchase the next book. If it is a ploy by the publisher to think that readers will just buy the books without substance, they are wrong. If authors are writing books so they can be movies, that saddens me as well. Of course Time Traveler has been sold to a movie studio. So I won't read the rest of the books and I won't see the movie. I hope this trend ends soon, however, I doubt it will.
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Format: Audible Audio Edition
**Originally reviewed for Audiobookreviewer.com**

Time Salvager is the first novel by Wesley Chu that I have listened to, let alone read. Having said that, I was blown away by the originality of the characters and environment, but definitely by the story line. The book takes place on a future Earth; a future Earth that is dying and devoid of critical resources needed for survival. Though there doesn't seem to be much hope, these humans have become masters of time travel. Groups of highly skilled agents, known as chronmen, are sent back in time to salvage items needed in order to create a future. Of course, that's easier said than done. These chronmen are sent back to a point in time just before a major disaster threatens, making it easier not to screw with the past and in order to avoid disrupting the natural progression of time. Of course, this is a very dangerous lifestyle and it doesn't come as a surprise that chronmen have very short lifespans.

Our main character, James Griffin-Mars, is a chronman and has been at it for a long while. Though he fulfills the job requirements and is one of the best, he is haunted by the deaths of those he has come across during his many salvages. I mean, don't you think it would be difficult to ignore the fact that you could stop a disaster from happening or save someone from dying? Too bad doing this could dramatically re-write the future as you know it. There are strict Time Laws put into effect to keep this from happening. In fact, the first law put into place is to never bring someone back from the past, and as you can imagine, doing so results in some very harsh consequences. Well, it was the only unbroken law until James went on his mission to the Nutris Platform.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Wesley Chu's books since I first read his The Lives of Tao. Time Salvager definitely has a darker, more gritty vibe than the Tao books. The future is not the nice, shiny golden age that we all expect. Humanity is barely hanging on. They may be able to travel through space and they've colonized many planets and moons, but they've lost a lot of their technological advancement because of wars and other things. Earth, itself, is a toxic dump that everyone with any means left a long time ago. In order for humanity to survive, they have to send people back in time to salvage resources they need. It is not a great time to live in. This book was the sci-fi/dystopian/thriller mashup that I never knew I wanted. I loved it! It had everything I love about science fiction! What enthralled me from the start was the dark and depressing take on time travel. I don't know about you but I've gotten sick of time travel books and movies that emphasize the time paradox where you go back in time and do something that results in you never being born or completely altering history. That's not how it is here.

Things involving time travel in this book get pretty timey-wimey really quickly: time ripples, time lag, preserving the chronostream. But there are rules. Very strict rules that allows Chu to ignore most of this because the Time Laws are designed to avoid making ripples in the timeline. They only take resources that would be destroyed in events soon after salvage, so anything missing would automatically be assumed that it was destroyed in whatever calamity that had occurred. The most important rule though is to never bring anyone from the past back with you. Sometimes ripples can’t be avoided.
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