One of the last ARCs from Bookcon that I have left to review! This was my first book by Annalee, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but Riot Grrls meet time travel meet feminism had me sold immediately. It addresses incredibly current issues – I’m not actually sure they realized how important these issues were going to be by the time the book would be published, sadly.
RELEASE DATE: 24/09/2019
STAR RATING: 4/5 ✶
SYNOPSIS: 1992: After a confrontation at a riot grrl concert, seventeen-year-old Beth finds herself in a car with her friend’s abusive boyfriend dead in the backseat, agreeing to help her friends hide the body. This murder sets Beth and her friends on a path of escalating violence and vengeance as they realize many other young women in the world need protecting too.
2022: Determined to use time travel to create a safer future, Tess has dedicated her life to visiting key moments in history and fighting for change. But rewriting the timeline isn’t as simple as editing one person or event. And just when Tess believes she’s found a way to make an edit that actually sticks, she encounters a group of dangerous travelers bent on stopping her at any cost.
Tess and Beth’s lives intertwine as war breaks out across the timeline–a war that threatens to destroy time travel and leave only a small group of elites with the power to shape the past, present, and future. Against the vast and intricate forces of history and humanity, is it possible for a single person’s actions to echo throughout the timeline?
OPINIONS: First of all, this is not a book for the faint of heart. There is rape and murder, though not in graphic detail, and what tends to hit me much harder, active misogyny. Both Tess and Beth have to fight for their places in society and their basic rights on a very individual scale already, female rights more generally not looking any rosier. This is the fight that is at the heart of this story: the fight for women’s rights, especially abortion rights, and the extents that the characters have to go to in order to achieve them. I’m sad to say that this is something that hits home with my generation. I’m lucky enough to be a white, middle-class, woman in Europe with good access to healthcare and little restriction in terms of career or opportunities, but many are not that lucky, and things tend to get worse rather than worse – take the current anti-abortion developments in the US, or the treatment of our trans sisters, for example.
Just like most people, Annalee’s women are broken and flawed, and have to find ways to put their pieces back together and fight. They are resilient and human and try their best, even if they fail epically at times. However, there was one issue that put me off loving the book fully: at times it read too much like men versus women. I would have loved one or two more complex male characters breaking up this duality, adding a bit more dimension to this dichotomy.
Time travel is their playing board for the story, rather than the story’s main element, and it’s based on ancient rather than futuristic technology, which makes it rather unique. The historical elements are very well researched (and that’s me saying this as a trained historian!) and I learned a lot about periods I knew very little about beforehand, which I enjoyed immensely.