Friday, September 20, 2013

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Summaryt (from Goodreads):
"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.
So, I need to mention that my copy of the book looks so different from the final copy. I have an ARC and apparently this ARC’s cover does not exist on Goodreads…Weird, right? Not that you’re missing much because the cover is weird and makes no sense. But still. The finished cover looks so boring and done before. Oh well.
Any way, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I got it at BEA, after listening to various publishers super hype their favorite books of the upcoming season. Needless to say the publisher did not do this book justice. She actually kind of made me not want to read it, and I almost didn’t even take a copy. I thought it was going to be all about this classic romance story that crosses ages.
I was so so, thankfully wrong. This book was loaded with political assassinations, shootings, torture, escape, prison, and hope. There was literally never a dull moment. The suspense and the mystery are good enough to keep anyone up till 4am reading. Seriously, I had to know who the Doctor was. I had to know why Em had to kill him. And I absolutely needed to know if all 14 attempts to save the world would actually amount to something.
I can’t talk too much about the plot without giving some fun twists away. Just know that Em and Finn are beyond awesome for two main characters/heroes. They go through so much in order to hopefully prevent the worst from happening. And I love how strong they are, and how smartly they put together the pieces that their past/future selves couldn’t accomplish. I know that sounds weird, but I just can’t explain it further. I really can’t spoil this because the twists are so much fun to get through.
I also ended up really loving and believing in the doomed romance in this one. It was something that built up over time. It wasn’t forced. Yes, it was doomed from the beginning, but it was just so well put together. It was so much better than what the publisher was able to put to words at the conference.
However, there were a couple of things I didn’t love. For starters, there was no world building. One storyline focuses on the world much as it is now. But Em’s and Finn’s story in the future was never aptly detailed. I get that the world falls apart. The invention of the time machine apparently triggers really terrible things. But besides from one quick, summed up conversation in a bathroom, I never really know how messed up it is.
So much detail went into the characters and the suspense. But nothing was given to the world. I did get to know the main character’s cell that she was trapped in for months. But, I never truly got to know the long-term negative effects of time travel. And because of this, I wasn’t as obsessed with the two main characters succeeding as I should have been. Also, there’s one character that basically had no development at all. How on earth did the doctor become so bad? I needed to see more gradual change. I need to see something. Clearly, he once was good. Why is there no explanation? I’m wrong. There is some explanation, but it comes nowhere close to cutting it for me –just like one hurried conversation in a bathroom didn’t come close to covering the state of the ruined world for me either.
All in all, I did read this in one sitting. I loved Finn and I loved Em. What they kept working for was just so honorable it was hard to not love them. The suspense and mystery were insane –I was really impressed by how the author kept me on my toes. However, the setting needed some work. And one character really needed some further explanation as well. I just couldn’t really believe the doctor’s motivations without more detail into his change. I’m still going to rate this super high because I did really love it. It gets a 9/10.

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