Review: The Map of Time

The Map of Time

The Map of Time
By Felix J. Palma
(Atria Books, Hardcover, 9781439167397, June 2011, 624pp.)

The Short of It:

Victorian goodness with some sci-fi  and mystery thrown in for good measure.

The Rest of It:

First, a bit about the story itself. Andrew Harrington has fallen in love with a prostitute by the name of Marie Kelly. Andrew comes from money, so falling in love with a working girl was not what his father had in mind. Nevertheless, he falls hard for her. Unfortunately, she is Jack the Ripper’s 5th victim and Andrew arrives too late to save her. Staggering away from the murder scene, he is stricken over what’s happened and plagued by his inability to save her.

Eight years later and influenced by books such as The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, he decides to travel back in time to change Marie’s fate. What follows is a genre-bender like no other.

This book is either brilliant, or a total sham! At 624 pages, it starts off innocently enough, but then by the end of book one, it takes a completely different turn and then heads into the future with a new set of players. Although the story seems to shift underneath you, it’s clear that Palma has something up his sleeve and that the stories are in fact connected in some way.

This book is far from predictable. Every time I turned the page I pondered what just happened. Not because it was confusing in any way, but because I could not  imagine how the author kept it all straight while writing the story. There are trips to the past, trips to the future, trips to parallel universes, there’s a murder (actually more than one), thuggery (I came up with that term), fraud, a budding romance…okay, more than one and appearances by all sorts of folks including: The Elephant Man, Henry James, Bram Stoker and H.G. Wells himself.

When I say that this book was a wild ride through time… I am not kidding. It was an adventure and from those very first pages, I found myself hooked. Mainly because I HAD to know how it ended, plus I love Victorian London and sci-fi. However, by the end of the book I was left with my mouth gaping open. I read this with another blogger and we were both either incredibly impressed or royally ticked. We weren’t sure. I’m still not sure.

If you like the elements I mentioned, enjoy a genre-bender every now and then, and don’t mind being pulled through a lot of different subplots to partake in the adventure, then you’ll love this book. After spending some time thinking about it, I am leaning more toward it being brilliant, but it’s was a slow realization for me.

Note from Ti: The hardcover edition is GORGEOUS! The cover is partially matte, partially glossy which you can’t tell from the image. It also includes end papers depicting the Map of Time itself. It’s all very well done.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher.

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30 thoughts on “Review: The Map of Time”

  1. I will be reading this soon, hopefully, and your mention that it is a wild ride really gets me excited. I am all for a book that is totally unpredictable and kind of crazy, so this sounds wonderful to me. I will have to let you know what I think about the ending! Thanks for the great review, Ti! You’ve really got me all fired up about this book!

  2. I’ve been eyeing this book for some time. Your description has sold me. I love Victorian England and the whole Jack the Ripper time. I also love time travel books, or I used to anyway. Seems it has all the right stuff. Soon to read, I hope.

    Wasn’t there a movie about H.G. Wells travelling into the 20th century with Jack the Ripper on his trail, or maybe the other way around? I remember liking the movie. Can’t think of the name.

    1. That was Time After Time, it starred David Warner, Malcolm McDowell and Mary Steenbergen. It was a good movie, I haven’t seen that one in a long time.

  3. This sounds like a book that can either be really great or really bad depending on how its executed. Sounds like something I should check out.

    1. Make sure you have a couple of books for Thanksgiving because you will fly through this one. Even at 600+ pages, you will keep reading to find out what happens.

      I will be reading the new King book (“11/22/63” which comes out on 11/22, of course!)

  4. It was such an interesting mix of genres, and overall I liked it very much. For a while though I was annoyed because the author kept playing tricks with the characters and the reader, and I wanted to know where the time travel was that I was promised. 🙂

    1. I tired of the author’s intrusions.. the whole “dear reader” gimmick, but I have to give him credit for the complexity of it all.

  5. Awesome review…I knew you would do this book proud…
    You took the words right out of my mouth.

    Let’s do another one together…and this time I will pace myself with you much better…readalongs are new to me!!!

    1. I know! This one was a read-along, without Patty! LOL. It helped to know that you had just read it though. I took comfort in that when I was wondering where it was going.

      What shall we read next? You can read the new King book with me over Thanksgiving break. Or the Murakami that is coming out, but that is over 900 pages and will probably need a decoder ring to get through it.

      I am open to anything…even a classic.

  6. Ho. ly. Crap. That is seriously a wild plot. I tip my hat to you for even trying to summarize. I would have a hard time these days getting through a 625 page book, but I’m wondering about audio. Would it be too crazy for audio? Hmmm. I sense a challenge.

  7. I was waiting for your thoughts on this one. I’m not sure it’s for me but it does sound good though. I’m just not so sure I’d like the shifts in the story like that. I do really love the cover even without seeing it in person which sounds even better.

    1. It must be read with a sense of humor and an appreciation for the structure or you’ll be frustrated with it. Someone said it was optioned for a movie… but I have yet to confirm it. It would be one crazy movie with all the back and forth, although I knew at all times what was going on. Not as confusing as Back to the Future when he sees his future self. LOL.

  8. I don’t think I’d have the patience for this one although if I owned it, I would give it a try:) Thanks for sharing — enjoying reading your take.

  9. Thank you for this awesome review! I am actually looking forward to reading this book now when before I was (almost) dreading it! The summary didn’t appeal to me when I read it several months ago and since I think I built it up in my head into some book that combines all the things I don’t like in books! Bizarre how that happens. Your great review set me straight and now I’m excited to read this brilliant, wild ride!

    The cover is amazing with the colors and different textures, it’s beautiful.

  10. I had read a couple of chapters of this book months ago but then gave up on it. I feel more excited about it now, after reading your review.

  11. Okay, so I gave this a total pass because it looked too twee-y YA for me tastes, but the book you’ve described sounds flippin’ amazing and I need it!! Although, I don’t know if I can stand something that sounds so amazing and isn’t amazing — but I’m so going to try it to find out!

  12. It’s so funny how you say you couldn’t decide if it was brilliant or a sham lol! I totally get that. I’m thinking I wouldn’t like this though becaus itsso outside my genres of choice!

  13. This book sounds like such a fun read. I’d seen it in a book shop and loved the cover, but wasn’t so sure about it. After reading your post, I’m very sure that I want to read it now. Thanks!

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