Title: Crossing in Time
Author: D.L Orton
Series: Between Two Evils #1
Narrator(s): Noah Michael Levine, Erin deWard
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 31
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free ebook and Audiobook copy from the author via The Write Reads in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
From Goodreads: The past isn’t over, it’s an opening. The future isn’t hidden, it’s a trap. If she ever wants to see him again, she’ll have to take the risk.
Fall into this "Funny, Romantic & Harrowing" (Publishers Weekly Starred Review) dystopian love story and prepare to encounter a finicky time machine, a mysterious seashell, and a very clever dog (some sex, some swearing, some violence, but no vampires and absolutely NO ditzes!)
When offered a one-way trip to the past, Isabel sacrifices everything for a chance to change the rapidly deteriorating present–and see her murdered lover one last time. When she arrives twenty years in the past, buck naked and mortally wounded, she has 24 hours to convince a stunned but enraptured nineteen-year-old to change their future. Definitely easier said than done, as success means losing him to a brainy, smart-mouthed bombshell (her younger self), and that’s a heart breaker, save the world or not.
This offbeat tale is about falling madly in love when one is too cynical for such things, letting go of pessimism when it’s the last life jacket on a sinking ship, and racing against the clock when one doesn’t have the proper footwear. It’s a coming-of-age story for old fogeys, a how-to-make-love guide for diehard celibates, and a laugh-out-loud tragedy with a hopeful twist.
Trigger warnings: Abortion, miscarriage, rape, violence towards animals, animal abandonment
I have somewhat mixed feelings about this one. I really enjoyed the start it had a lot of potential but unfortunately as I progressed I ended up with more questions than answers and ultimately found it a little unsatisfying. The plot itself started off really interesting a couple meeting, rekindling their old flame all while the world crumbles around them. I do wish we go more information about the world and even about our couples history but the banter between them was great and I enjoyed getting to know them and they got to know each other again. However, as the plot progresses it gets more and more woolie. The time travel and the reasoning behind it is very handwavey/don’t look behind the curtain, which I don’t always mind but it just seemed such a big part of the plot that it becomes distracting. We also don’t actually time travel until the last few chapters of the books so it just seems just such a juxtaposition to the rest, which is more surviving a dystopia while rekindling a relationship which was the awesome part of the plot! In fact for me the time travelling kind of ruined the romance plot. It became almost creepy, my skin started to crawl a little (mini Spolier – She names his penis – DON’T DO THAT) and then it just end up with a bundle of confusing mess with different timelines none of which have a conclusion in this book. This means I lost my investment in the relationship as the book went on. It changed how I felt about a number of the characters to where I no longer cared if they succeeded. There were just far far to many open questions that I don’t think even a second book could answer, so I was left disappointed.
For me the characters were also a mixed bag. I loved Diago, he was romantic and sassy, serious and fun. He had a lot of depth and I really really enjoyed him. I looked forward to portions in his perspective. Isabelle I was hot/cold on from the beginning. She managed to be both co-dependant damsel in distress, and I am my own woman confident in the same sentence which was just confusing. Also the parts back in time put me off her completely, she lost all compassion became demanding and bullying. I had initial problems with Matt, our scientist character. It hit one of my pet peeves. He was continually and unnecessarily instant he was not a Dr (despite having a PhD – so he was a Dr) as he didn’t preform medical tasks and as a PhD holder that irks me as I am a Dr, I earned the title I am gonna use it. However, when not being overly repetitive with that point he was a really interesting character to follow as we got most of the time travel based world building from his perspectives. Now my personal favourites, Lucky the Cat and Tolstoy the Dog! These were such lovely characters building the world for us at some points, really fleshing out Isabelle story. Then Isabelle goes back in time and they are not mentioned again! WHAT!!!! I am still wandering what happened to Lucky and Tolstoy? I think that is part of my dislike for Isabelle stems from as I adored her interaction with the pets and then she just doesn’t look back. Tolstoy was such and interesting aspect and how he came into the story and the just straight up abandonment of them hurt. I am still bitter!
I will say a lot of this initial portions of the book were enhanced by the dual narrators in the audio-book. The voice actor for Diago/Matt was fantastic – which probably again influenced how much I liked those characters. However, as the book moved into the time-travel portion it became difficult to follow over audio and I did switch to the eBook for those portions. The audio struggled to delineate between the timelines. There was a lot of dynamics in the recording, while perspectives switched, there was almost a full cast feel as specific lines would be read the alternate narrator for emphasis. It was overall a great performance.
So again this was a bit of a mix for me, bits I loved bits I hated, bits I lost interest in bits I am desperate to know more about (what happened to Lucky and Tolstoy!!!) Overall a solid 3 star read.