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Untimed Hardcover – January 1, 2013
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About the Author
Andy Gavin is an unstoppable storyteller who studied for his Ph.D. at M.I.T. and founded video game developer Naughty Dog, Inc. at the age of fifteen, serving as co-president for two decades. There he created, produced, and directed over a dozen video games, including the award winning and best selling Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter franchises, selling over 40 million units worldwide. He sleeps little, reads novels and histories, watches media obsessively, travels, and of course, writes.
Find him at: andy-gavin-author.com
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Top customer reviews
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Charlie is a fascinating character. He doesn't know how special he is at the beginning of this book, all he knows is that no one can remember his name, not even his own mother! The only exceptions are his father and his aunt, both of whom lead unusual lives and travel often. Charlie has been studying history his whole life, but he never imagined he'd be living it until he's chased through a hole in time, right into 1725 London. Stuck in the past, Charlie finally meets a girl who actually remembers him; another time traveler like himself. Problem is, she has some baggage. Namely, a baby and two boyfriends--one of whom wants to kill Charlie, and the other none other than Benjamin Franklin. If you've ever wondered what the world would look like now had Ben Franklin met an untimely death, Gavin answers that question.
I don't want to spoil anything, but this romp through the past is action-packed, thought provoking, romantic and fun. You also don't want to miss the extraordinary black and white illustrations throughout this book that just brought the whole thing to life. And check out the cover. AMAZING! But I wouldn't expect anything less from the man who also created the video games Jak & Daxter and Crash Bandicoot.
All I can say is, write faster Andy Gavin. I'm dying to know what happens next with both your series! :)
While the story is good, the characters are a bit awkward. Yvaine is a teenage mother. Why? Did it add to the story? Was it integral to the plot? And why did Charlie's dad have to become obese? What was the purpose of that? It just made the story awkward, in my opinion. Of course, maybe I'm being nitpicky, but these details actually robbed me of enjoying the story to its fullest potential.
If Charlie and Yvvaine had been ten (or twelve), this would have been a deliciously delightful adventure story. As it was, it was good, but it could have been so much better.
As I'm reading on my Kindle, I routinely highlight passages or words where the author, and their editor, if any, has screwed up - left a word out of a sentence, used the wrong word for what they mean, mispunctuated or misspelled something. I have no highlights in this book. Zero. The author thanks a large number of people in his acknowledgements, and I think it's a case of "with many eyes, all bugs are shallow". He's put in the work to produce a professional book.
I enjoy a well-written time-travel story, one in which the plot is carefully crafted and the threads all weave together, and that is what this is. It's also thrilling. There's always something happening, the stakes are both high in global significance and also personal for the main character, and the action is well-described.
The characters, especially the main character, are believable. It's in first person, and I totally believe Charlie as a teenager. He does things that he's not completely proud of, but they're the things a teenager would do. He's not ridiculously superpowered or over-competent, either. He has the knowledge a bright teenager who's been well-prepared by a time-travelling father would have.
I found the other characters a touch one-dimensional, I have to say, including the love interest. Then again, that's not incompatible with the viewpoint of a bright teenager, to whom everyone else is not quite as real as he is.
The setting I found a little over-convenient. The universal translator and the way in which clothing changes to match the era that the traveller ends up in, for example. I can see why the author made those choices (it removes some fairly tedious practical issues and leaves more space for the exciting ones), but I hope it's well-justified in a sequel. That's really my main criticism. As far as other aspects of the setting go, the past is convincingly smelly and violent, and the whole world has an authentic feel. It's not a cinema sound-stage, it's shot on location.
The five stars is rounded up from about 4.7 or so, and is based on 5 stars being the best conceivable YA time-travel story. I've read better books, but not very many of them.
Untimed is a great read filled with a lot of originality, making it interesting and fun. Before you know it, you're at the end wanting more! I hope Andy continues the series...
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone!