Released: August 1st 2013
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
Em is locked in a bare, cold cell with no comforts. Finn is in the cell next door. The Doctor is keeping them there until they tell him what he wants to know. Trouble is, what he wants to know hasn't happened yet.
Em and Finn have a shared past, but no future unless they can find a way out. The present is torture - being kept apart, overhearing each other's anguish as the Doctor relentlessly seeks answers. There's no way back from here, to what they used to be, the world they used to know. Then Em finds a note in her cell which changes everything. It's from her future self and contains some simple but very clear instructions. Em must travel back in time to avert a tragedy that's about to unfold. Worse, she has to pursue and kill the boy she loves to change the future. (from Goodreads)
All Our Yesterdays was an enthralling book that was a lot better than I expected. Usually I’m sceptical about time-travel books, and while I had a few issues, all in all, I felt it was pretty well done.
Unfortunately, I can’t do my usual in-depth character-centric review for this book, because it would spoil a lot of things for potential readers, so I’m just going to mention what I can. First of all, I loved how we started off not knowing anything about the characters or what was going on, but then slowly got pieces of information throughout the book and eventually started to put everything together. Finn and Em – oh, Finn and Em. I loved them both. They went through so much, including horrible torture, and yet they still had the drive to go back in time, and do what was necessary. And when they kept having setbacks – Em, especially, who after everything, just could not kill James – they still kept trying until the very end. I just loved these two much! To see how they had changed from being younger and care-free to haunted, toughened versions of themselves just highlighted precisely how awful the future they lived in was. I LOVED the romance too. Even with James messing stuff up and coming between them, I loved the way Em and Finn’s past was revealed and how much they had changed and had eventually come to care for each other. I was rooting for them all along even though I knew they probably wouldn’t get happy endings.
James was...a complex character. I could not believe how different future (or present?) James was to past James. What could possibly have happened to turn him into such a monster? That made his own friends feel that it was necessary to kill him? The way he cared about the Finn and Em of the past, who he loved and who loved him, made it seem like he’d never want to hurt them – and yet, he did. It was baffling that he had changed so much. Lord Acton once said “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” and I think that’s true of this story.
Plot-wise, there was never a boring moment. The pacing was excellent, I was always kept guessing, there were a bunch of twists, and the ending had me upset and relieved and extremely puzzled all at the same time, because after that, I don’t see what could possibly happen in the sequel. My only problems were I think there could have been at bit more explanation about why the invention of time-travel was so awful and how exactly it was being abused – I mean, I got it, but I just wanted a bit more information. Also, the thing about time being “sentient” and that whole explanation to solve the paradox issue? Yeah, no. But hey, I’ll accept it since otherwise there would be a massive plot-hole, so.
I wish I could say more about this book, but I really, really don’t want to spoil anything. Just believe me that Finn and Em are awesome, James was interesting, the relationships between the characters were all well-developed, and I have no idea what is going to happen in the next book (the ending was very bittersweet yet most things seemed wrapped up to me!).
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and definitely recommend it to fans of time-travel novels and great characters.