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Posted February 21, 2013
In Timepiece, Ms. Albano tells of a young woman stifled by early 19th century society. When she received a watch in the mail that lets her move through time, her adventure begins.
Why to buy this book: If you like time-traveling steampunk with monsters, giant robots, and alternative history, this book is a bargain. The romantic elements and character development were, for the most part, done quite well. I also liked the hook she through in at the end (trying not to give spoilers here) that gives an interesting hint about the origin of the third protagonist.
Why not to buy the book: To begin with, I don’t really like prologues all that much, and the author added to my misery by going out of her way to not describe the “monsters.” I’m assuming that she wished to build up hype for when the things appear later in the story, but she mainly ended up annoying me by withholding information in a clumsy manner. When the monsters eventually entered the plot again, they did not meet the high expectations the author established in the prologue. Speaking of that prologue, she revisits the events but has the time travelers change what happens. No problem there, but the scene got repetitive. Perhaps it would have been better to start nearer the point of divergence. Like I said above, overall the character development was decent. I did, however, have one quibble. The two protagonists both have disdain for their society, which the author does a good job of showing. However, it seems like these two are the only ones in the world who find it stifling, and, given that their attitude is somewhat necessary to the plot, this makes the plot seemed contrived. If the author would have spent a little more space developing a general teenage rebellion toward society (she does this somewhat; just not quite enough), it would have smoothed out this objection. Another issue I had is that, if you’re writing alternative fiction, you need to have a reason for things to go differently than what happened in real life. I’m not sure this author addressed those issues well enough. Though, perhaps, she intends to do so in the sequel(s). Finally, the writing could have been tighter. The extra words didn’t bother me too much throughout most of the book, but I felt it detracted from the action scenes, leaving them feeling incorrectly paced and muddled.
Bottom Line: Putting a star category on this one is difficult for me. On one hand, I enjoyed parts of it and plan to buy the sequel. On the other, there were at least five annoyances that ranged from minor to pretty bad. For 99 cents, it’s worth buying, but, based on the sheer number of problems, I had to go with 3 stars instead of 4.