2011; 291 pages. Book 1 (out of 3) of The Wizard of Time series. New Author? : Yes. Genre : Time-Travel; Fantasy, YA, Coming of Age. Overall Rating : 7½*/10.
13-year-old Gabriel Salvador has dreams. Strange ones. Bad ones. Frightening ones. And the worst part is, they always come true, usually within 24 hours.
Of course, Gabriel has learned not to tell anyone about the dreams. His friends would think he’s weird. His parents think he’s just making up stories after something’s happened. A self-fulfilling prophecy, if you will. The shrink would think he’s just looking for attention.
But today’s dream has him scared out of his wits. It had a new theme – drowning. And if it follows the pattern and comes true within 24 hours, there’s only one conclusion he can arrive at.
In less than a day, Gabriel Salvador will be dead.
What’s To Like...
If you like your time-travel books to visit oodles of new locales and eras, then you’re gonna love The Wizard of Time. G.L. Breedon is obviously a history buff, and so am I. The story starts in present-day Great Britain, and Gabriel (and the reader) get to go jumping to all sorts of places/times, including: Cretaceous Era (dinosaurs!), Scotland (at several points in history), Venice, Samos (300 BC), Beijing (12,000 BC), the Battle of Gaugamela (Alexander the Great), the Grand Canyon, and World War 2. I was in history bliss!
The storyline grabs your attention immediately – see the introduction teaser, above. There are 27 chapters covering 291 pages, which means they are relatively short. The book’s tone had a “Harry Potter-esque” feel to it for me: a young boy is the chosen one, and lots of people around him want to control or kill him. It’s also a coming-of-age tale with only a smattering of mild cussing. There’s no sex, and I don’t recall any booze or drugs, so I’d also put this in the YA genre. Vocabulary-wise, it’s an easy read.
I chuckled at the title of the one book considered essential to Gabriel’s study: The Time-Traveler’s Pocket Guide To History. It makes sense. If you’re gonna go chrono-hopping, you’d best be knowing what sort of sh*t you’re getting into. I also liked the nod to Thus Spake Zarathustra, the book by Nietzsche, not the music by Richard Strauss. The Fantasy genre takes a backseat here. There’s plenty of magic (more on that in a bit), but the only otherworldly critter we meet is a lone dragon. But I have a feeling that the fantasy element may get amped up as this series progresses.
G.L. Breedon’s two favorite words in The Wizard of Time are “concatenate” ("linking") and “bifurcation” ("a branching off into two parts"). The latter refers to the Quantum Physics hypothesis of multiverses, and here it is something that the good guys try to avoid at all costs, though I never did figure out why.
The Wizard of Time is a standalone story, as well as the first book in an already completed trilogy. Some Amazon reviewers apparently have issues with a 13-year-old repeatedly thinking like an adult. The criticism is valid, but it didn’t bother me. I'll cut Gabriel some slack since he is, by definition, the Chosen One. You probably grow up fast when that sort of thing's thrust upon you. The ending is not very twisty, but it's suitably climactic, and is sufficient to set up the next book in the series.
Kewlest New Word...
Matryoska Doll (n.) : a part of a set of Russian nesting dolls. (*)
“Dinner was my favorite time. Everyone there all at once. All the voices all at once. My Grandfather and his big booming voice, swearing in Spanish for quiet and my mom insisting that everyone speak English at the dinner table. And my youngest brother wanting to know if it was okay to swear in English at the dinner table.” (loc. 532)
“The branch must be severed within thirty-seven hours of its creation. Preferably by the hand that created it.”
“Why thirty-seven hours?” Gabriel asked.
“Who knows, who know?” Akikane said with a wide grin. “There are people who like to make theories to explain it, but I prefer to think that it is simply the way it is. Why is the universe here at all? Why is time travel even possible? Why is the speed of light exactly what it is, never slower or faster? Some people question too much. It is as it is.” (loc. 2156)
The Wizard of Time sells for $2.99 at Amazon. The other two e-books in the series sell for the same price. They are also available as a bundle, for $4.99, which is quite a good deal. G.L. Breedon has four other e-books available, including the starts for two more series, ranging from $2.99 to $4.99.
“How do you manage to turn every triumph into an excuse for drinking?” (loc. 4417)
The issues are negligible. The magic system is rather convoluted and the author spends considerable time detailing how it works. I recognize this is a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” sort of thing, but for me, the mystical minutiae got tedious, and that made for some slow spots.
I only have two other nits to pick. First, there was a huge info dump in Chapter 9 about Aztec civilization, and halfway through the lecture, even I was ready to get back to the plotline. Second, Nefferati’s ancestry seemed ambiguous. When introduced, she’s said to be from the Euphrates (16%). But later on, she’s described as being African (54%). Sorry, those aren't synonymous terms. I'm also a geography buff.
But I quibble. Time-Travel is one of my favorite genres, and G.L. Breedon’s The Wizard of Time is a worthy entry in this field. I’d been going through time-travel withdrawals, and this book satisfied my craving just fine.
7½ Stars. (*) We’ll close with a trivia question, and leave the answer in the comments section: What's the record for the most Matryoska dolls nested within each other in a single set?