Title: Paris Adrift
Author: E. J. Swift
Release Date: 4/2/2020 (Paperback release)
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 27
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free eARC copy from Solaris, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
The Time Machine meet Midnight In Paris
Determined to escape her old life, misfit and student geologist Hallie packs up her life in England and heads to Paris. As a bartender at the notorious Millie’s, located next to the Moulin Rouge, she meets Gabriela, who guides her through this strange nocturnal world, and begins to find a new family.
But Millie’s is not all that it seems: a bird warns Hallie to get her feathers in order, a mysterious woman shows up claiming to be a chronometrist, and Gabriela is inexplicably unable to leave Paris. Then Hallie discovers a time portal located in the keg room. Over the next nine months, irate customers will be the least of her concerns as she navigates time-faring through the city’s turbulent past and future, falling in love, and coming to terms with her own precarious sense of self.
Oh this was so promising! The start of this book was great, so ominous and intriguing. The premise is great, time travel portals that only open for certain people and almost feed on them. A distant future that holds no hope for anyone and a select few events that if nudged in the right direction could change it all! That all sounds amazing! And it was until we headed into the portion of the book that focused around the exploits of our main character Hallie.
When we meet Hallie we stop getting that amazing world building and instead get a rather lukewarm attempt of a character driven novel. At times I found myself confused as to why we were being told aspects of a certain character. It felt almost as if when we met a new character we were just getting a rundown of the character profile, with information that did not have all that much baring on the story. I wanted to love Hallie but I just couldn’t find anything to hold on to. Nothing we learned about anyone other than the very beginning seemed a natural evolution of the story. Instead it was stilted and almost felt shoehorned in in an attempt to make them seem more 3D. The only character I truly enjoyed was the Chronometrist. They brought a very natural sass to the conversation and managed to keep their creepy, mysterious nature throughout the book.
The story itself also became a little bland. The elements that Hallie had any influence over became few and far between and we had to wade through descriptions of her drinking, working, and general everyday life just to get to the exciting portions. When she was altering history it just seemed to be easy and something she did as an almost afterthought (see spoiler section below #1). The historical aspects held very little excitement, they just sort of happened. I would have loved more world building and more description of how paris was in these different time zones but Hallie doesn’t seem to be interested in any of it so we don’t get that information.
However, in the last 20% the pace picks up and we return to the exciting time travel save the world story that was promised in those first few chapters. I think this also comes with a change of focus onto Leon and his involvement. There is danger and payoff to this section and at least kept my interest longer than the rest of the story. It still doesn’t quite hit the mark but it for me was an improvement and kept me reading to the end.
ENDING – 5
STYLE AND PACE OF WRITING – 3
CHARACTERS – 3
ATMOSPHERE AND WORLDBUILDING – 3
PLOT – 4
ENJOYMENT – 3
- There is one point where she convinces the architect of the Scare-coeur to change its design with only having met him once and basically just going go on change it!?! really?