A review by Nalini Haynes
James Griffin-Mars is a Chronoman, a time salvager who retrieves goods, particularly energy sources, to stave off the destruction of humanity. Except when big corporations get involved, because their agenda doesn’t necessarily include the good of humanity. They might want to rescue invaluable artwork from World War II or something.
[How surprising. Are you surprised? I’m surprised. I mean, big corporations NEVER put personal self-interest above the good of humanity, do they?]
James lost his sister when he was a teenager and he’s never recovered. Going back in time and leaving people behind or, worse still, killing them, is getting to him. So it’s no surprise when he brings his crush back to the future even though it’s an automatic death sentence to bring people forward through time.
That’s when things start getting really interesting.
When James meets the ‘technology isolationists’ Star Trek gets pwned, however, Time Salvager isn’t a comedy, it’s a thriller with splashes of humor.
Elise Kim, James’s crush, is a strong female character who tells James to back off when he’s overbearing and controlling. She builds relationships with others and helps drive the plot through character development. Through Elise, Time Salvager passes the Bechdel Test. And through Elise, we have some laughs to alleviate dystopian bleakness.
[Why shouldn’t the Bechdel Test apply to books?]
I’m over protagonists with mental disorders as a general rule but James’s mental health issues are not only justified, they are a symptom of his deeper issues and a vehicle for his growth as a person. James’s mental health issues are a feature, a strength, of the story.
Time Salvager is a fast-paced thriller although a certain plot twist is predictable and necessary to anyone familiar with time travel stories. This adds momentum and believability and, after a fairly satisfying conclusion, left me wanting the next installment. BECAUSE THIS HAPPENED AND CONTINUES TO HAPPEN AND I WANT SOMEONE TO TRY TO STOP OR UNDO IT. NOW. KTHX.
I highly recommend Time Salvager to fans of time travel stories and it’s a good place to start reading time travel stories. Just don’t kill your own grandfather.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Date: 9th July 2015
Format: Medium (B-Format) Paperback
Date: 9th July 2015
Format: Epub & Mobi
US Print & Ebook
The North American edition of Time Salvager will be published by Tor Books. Please contact your favourite bookstore or online retailer for further info.
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Praise and Reviews:
“Chu creates a fascinating world, strange and familiar, infused with humor, sorrow, courage, greed, and sacrifice. This page-turner is a riveting, gratifying read.”
– Publisher’s Weekly, starred review
“Exciting, interesting, and never forgetting the fun of ideas, this is brilliant new stuff.”
– Paul Cornell, author of London Falling
“From its early pages, Time Salvager establishes itself as an utterly captivating time-travel adventure. To put it simply, Chu’s worldbuilding is extraordinary. There’s a grim believability in his vision of a decaying Earth, and the comm/atmos/exo bands make for vivid, easy-to-imagine tech. Plus, Chu neatly (and humorously) avoids getting bogged down in explanations of the physics of time travel. But even beyond all this, Chu explores the emotional truth of the pain and regret that haunts James as he gives the past — and its people — up for lost.”
– Regina Small of RT Book Reviews
“A powerful and compelling search of the past for redemption in the present, by turns thrilling and sweet and gut-wrenching.”
– Kevin Hearne, New York Times best selling author of Iron Druid
“A gripping, taut space opera about keeping hope in hopeless circumstances. Immensely enjoyable.”
– Robert Jackson Bennett, author of City of Stairs
“Chu has taken a simple, brilliant premise and built upon it an epic universe full of thrills and wonder.”
– Jason M. Hough, New York Times bestselling author of The Darwin Elevator
“More than a compelling, innovative take on the perks and pitfalls of time travel – Time Salvager is a sharp study of how human nature might prove mankind’s salvation, or eventually doom us all. This is world-building that will make you fear for the future. In a good way.”
– Cherie Priest, author of Maplecroft
“A clever, cautionary sf tale with cool gadgets, characterization that surprised me in the best possible way, and multiple cunning twists.”
– Kate Elliott, author of the Crown of Stars series
“With time travel, force-field kung fu, and a huge helping of wit, Wesley Chu transmogrifies a bleak long-whimper apocalypse into vicious, high-octane fun.”
– Max Gladstone, author of the Craft Sequence
“A fast-paced ride that offers a fresh spin on time travel, combines it with a high-stakes plot and genuinely innovative action, and spices the blend with a healthy dose of irreverent humor.”
– Jacqueline Carey, author of Kushiel’s Dart
“A time-warping science fiction thrill ride.”
– Jaye Wells, author of the Sabrina Kane series
– Howard Tayler, Hugo Award-winning creator of Schlock Mercenary
“Time Salvager is a high-speed, high-stakes adventure that brings so much promise that it’s been optioned for a film franchise ahead of its release.”
– John DeNardo, Kirkus Reviews
“One of the most fascinating aspects of the book was seeing different slices of future Earth history, and Chu’s take on how technology and society evolve over the coming centuries…There is plenty of action, some nifty ideas, and strong bleak-but-not-quite-dystopic worldbuilding. It’s a book with a lot of desperation, and it sets up an underdog-style against-all-odds fight for survival, both for our protagonist and for our species..”
– Jim C. Hines
“Time Salvager is a fantastic book and one I would highly recommend. the story is fantastic, the characters are really well fleshed out and the dystopian future is so realistic that it’s scary.”
– Two Nerds Talking
“This is a rocket of a novel. A fast-paced sci-fi thriller. It asks a lot of interesting questions, and whilst some of the answers may be a bit in-your-face, the series has a great deal of potential. If you’re in the mood for something with a unique setting, rapid fire plot, interesting characters, and a solid science-fiction feel, this will definitely be worth a look.”
– Sci-Fi and Fantasy Reviews
“When Chu writes something, I will read it. And enjoy it. He works magic with words and makes a tight fast story that I find very hard to put down. Highly recommended, and I can’t wait to see where the story’s future lies.”
“Time Salvager feels like the sort of science fiction I’ve been yearning for. To me, it is on par with greats such as Hyperion and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. It’s clever, it’s fast, it’s action-packed, but it also carries a message. It is DEFINITELY worth your time.”
– Rinn Reads
“Time Salvager feels like the next big step in Wesley Chu’s writing career, which continues to rise promisingly. This book does a fantastic job setting up for a fast-paced sci-fi thriller series that is brimming with potential, and you really can’t ask for much more.”
“Time Salvager is a time-traveling adventure dystopian mashup that is brilliantly done and well paced.”
– Mental Megalodon
“I can’t recommend it highly enough. Fascinating characters, great background and non-stop action with juicy time travel tidbits. Read it!”
– Nocturnal Book Reviews
“Chu creates an attractive mix of dystopia, space-opera and time travel.”
– Dreams of Elvex