I read this book immediately after Book One, convinced by a twist at the end. Book Two was a different experience than Book One.
Jack was back in 1856, and his task was preventing the Civil War. Again he met with many of the luminaries of the period. There were battle scenes, with Jack right in the middle of them. The bad guys were really evil, Nazi style, with human experiments and torture. Through a network of spies and thugs, they stole industrial secrets, kidnapped people, and killed whenever it suited their need. Interestingly, the bad guys were also the Southerners, versus the Yankees, trying to hold on to their system of slavery pre-Civil War.
I felt that this one, like Book One, was also written somewhat awkwardly, the writing style showing some signs of immaturity. The writer often told us what was happening, rather than showing us. This means that the book could have been longer, more elaborate, and probably more enjoyable, with better dialog and better exposition.
For instance, Frances Sanger, the second most important character in the story, was a young woman who was, we think, infatuated with Jack. But the way she acted throughout the story simply didn’t make much sense. She was portrayed as very bright, helping her father and uncle in the family business, buying real estate for stores all over the country, as far away from Virginia as Chicago and New York. So she should have been an experienced traveler, negotiator and executive. However, when she saw Jack with a young girl in a restaurant, she freaked out and acted like a junior high school girl, running to her daddy and crying about it. Frances Sanger, due to behavior like this example, just didn’t appear to me as a rounded, real person, but as an accessory to move a plot along.
And the plot, finally, was what kept me reading. I loved the story, and I particularly loved the ending. I would tell the reluctant reader to keep slogging through the first 90% of the book because the last 10% make it worthwhile and now I am waiting for the third book in the series.
This brings me to my final complaint: The time change books are, apparently, a trilogy. I think this story would work better as one consolidated book, be it a thousand pages, if necessary. Time Change – Book Two, as I describe it here does not stand alone. I don’t think a reader could make much sense of it, let along like it and the plot, without reading Book One first. This disconnect between a series of books is much stronger here than in other similar works, like for instance those of S.M. Stirling, where the stories build on previous books, but each book can be read on its own.
All said and done – I am now waiting for Time Change – Book Three.
Rating: ** 1/2