Heart And Magic In A Short, Quick Read. This is a perfect Christmas story for anyone who has ever wanted to spend just “one more day” (as Diamond Rio once sang) with a lost loved one at Christmas. Through some scifi/ magical time travel, our lead here gets to do just that – going back to one pivotal night when her grandmother was just a young girl that would change her grandmother – and her entire family – for generations to come. As someone who has been very vocal about wondering about just such tragedies in his own grandparents’ lives, this was particularly moving. But even more generally, this is a great tale that somehow manages to mashup both The Family Man (one of my all time favorite Christmas movies) and Balto (a movie my youngest brother was *obsessed* with as a kid). While lighthearted overall, there is a very real, very visceral threat of imminent danger – and even death – hanging throughout the middle 80% ish of the tale, and this really drives how quick of a read this is – you won’t want to put it down for fear that on the next page someone might die. And yet, the Christmas magic – complete with family and snow (meaning Yankee Christmas, as it rarely snows at that time in the South ;)) and plenty of warmth and surprise – is also present throughout the tale. Very much recommended.
Interesting Concepts Yet Disjointed Storytelling. This is one of those books where there is nothing objectively wrong with it, and yet it also feels a bit disjointed. Separated into several parts, it could likely have been better separated into a trilogy, with the events of Parts 1 and 2 in one book, 3 and 4 in a second book, and 5 in a final book. Then you could expand each section out beyond what was presented in even these 400 pages (since you’d arguably need at least another couple hundred or so for a third book) and really make the effort to take a good tale into the stratosphere of being among the best in scifi. Overall the specific application of time travel here was one I hadn’t seen in any form since the early 2000s era Jet Li movie The One, and even here the specific direction Riddle applies is unique in my experience and intriguing overall. Ultimately this is a good tale and well told, it just seemed like it could have been better with a different editing approach. Very much recommended.