Friday, 9 December 2011

Review: Time Out of Time by Alex Woolf

Time Out of Time (Chronosphere #1) by Alex Woolf
Publisher: The Salariya Book Company
Released: December 7th 2010
My Rating: 3.25 out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Is your life rushing by too fast? No time to stop and smell the roses? Ever wanted a little time out? What if you could buy a year out of time, free to relax, play and party all you liked, safe in the knowledge that at the end of it all you'd be returned back to the moment you left?

Ask Raffi Delgado. He knows all about it.

Set in the late 22nd century, Chronosphere follows the adventures of teenager Raffi and his friends Dario, Jonah, Lastara and Sal in the Chronosphere, the sprawling holiday resort you go when you've bought time out of time. At first all is well, but something disturbing bubbles beneath the glossy exterior of the 'paradise' that is the Chronosphere.

In Book 1, 'Time Out of Time', the Secrocon Police are out in force to catch whoever is responsible for a series of teenage kidnappings, and when they say 'freeze', they mean it! When Dario and Raffi are arrested and sent to a horrific subterranean gulag, they discover a girl who is living her life backwards, but why? And how?

With mystery, fun, danger, twists and turns, Chronosphere is a mesmerising glimpse into a dark future where the fun of hoverbiking, air-tennis and trips to the holoplex are all held in check by the firm grip of a police state.
(from Goodreads)

All Raffi wants is a little more time before becoming an adult and taking on all the responsibility that comes with it. Turns out, buying time in the 22nd century couldn’t be easier, as long as you’re willing to pay for it. With his savings considerably depleted and an extra year to do whatever he likes, Raffi enters the Chronosphere – where one year is equivalent to one minute in the real world. Everything about it seems perfect at first, but strange things keep happening, and Raffi wonders whether the Chronosphere is really as great as it seems. Teenagers are disappearing every week, never to be seen again, and it doesn’t take long for Raffi and his new friends to discover that the Chronosphere is more sinister than they ever could have believed.

Time Out of a Time was a quick, entertaining read. I loved the whole concept – who wouldn’t like to buy themselves some more time? I know I would (especially right before an exam), and I think the fact that I could understand Raffi and why he would want to escape his life for a bit made me able to relate to him and connect with him throughout the book. That being said, I also found Raffi wasn’t the most likeable of protagonists. While to other characters in the book, he came across as just your average nice guy, we as readers got a look inside his head, and I think he wasn’t the simple person he first came across as. I felt he definitely made a lot of bad, sometimes selfish, decisions and he was a little naive and fickle as well, but the fact he wasn’t perfect and actually had some faults made his character more believable for me, and ultimately made the book more enjoyable.

Dario was probably my favourite character in the book; he was definitely the most likeable. He was cheery and genuinely a thoughtful person and I like how he tried to make the best out of the worst situations. I felt sorry for him, though, because things never seemed to go his way. He had an odd sort of friendship with Sal, who was another very interesting character. I think she had been through a lot in her life, which is why she was quite withdrawn, but in a way she and Dario balanced each other out. I’m really curious as to what will happen to them both - it’s definitely going to be a bumpy ride!

Jonah and Lastara were another curious pair. They had been in the Chronosphere the longest, and there was definitely something weird about them. I never liked Lastara much from the beginning, but Jonah seemed really lovely. Even so, I’m convinced they were both hiding something, so I’ll be looking out for them in future books.

Plot-wise, there was quite a lot going on, and I found it quite hard to understand exactly how time worked in the Chronosphere. I mostly just had to accept the explanations despite the fact they didn’t really make much sense to me. However, the book was well-paced and there was always something interesting happen that kept me engaged throughout. The ending definitely made me want to read the next book – the last paragraph especially had me questioning what on earth had happened.

Overall, Time Out of Time was a good start to a series, and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes books set in the future, or about time. I look forward to reading Malfunction, book two!

3 comments:

  1. OMG this sounds SO intriguing. I'd love to 'buy' time. I'm not sure I'd like any of the characters by the sounds of it but wow, that concept! so imaginative. Great review Liz.

    The Cait Files

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  2. Ooh colour me intrigued! I haven't heard of this before, but I love the idea of being able to buy time... (especially given our upcoming doomsday!). Very curious to discover more of the worldbuilding and while the characters aren't always the most likeable... I like that you say they come across as believable.

    Thanks for putting this on my radar with your awesome review! :D

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  3. Interesting concept, that's for sure. I'm not sure how much I'd like this one, just because the plot seems to have left you a bit confused, but I'm curious. Believable characters are always nice :) Fantastic review!

    Sonia

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