Time Shift Trilogy #1: The Year of Lightning – Ryan Dalton

I expect this review is going to show you why it is imperative to write your review, or at the very least some notes about how the book makes you feel, within a day of finishing the book. That way you’re not stuck trying to find the words to tell anyone who will listen what an incredible book it was that you finished reading almost seven weeks ago! So here goes …

I found The Year of Lightning sort of by accident. I was so interested in the blurb for Ryan Dalton’s The Genesis Flame that I couldn’t request a copy through NetGalley quickly enough. It was only once I was approved (YIPPEE!) that I realised I’d just been given a review copy of the third book in the series (OOPS!). Once I’d read the blurbs for the first two books I decided that I’d be missing out greatly if I didn’t read these in order, so I bought The Year of Lightning. I mean, we’re talking about a time travelling super villain here! What’s not to love?!

I had this brilliant idea that I’d read the first book and then contact the publisher to beg/plead/grovel for a review copy of the second book. Begging/pleading/grovelling are not beneath me and as I hadn’t had an income for over three months at that time I could make a pretty pathetic poor me case. Why do I tell you that? Because I was so enthralled by this book that before I’d even made it a quarter of the way through it I bought the sequel, ignoring the fact that I didn’t know how many more months I’d have to wait to see another dollar. That’s how much I loved this book!

Even this long after I finished reading, the story and characters have stayed with me. I loved the mystery of the house across the street that has no doors and may have some strange connection to the over abundance of lightning nearby.

Outside, a dark figure drifted down the street, cloaked in shadow. Approaching the house with no doors, it touched the rain-soaked wall and melted through in a flash of light.

How can you read that quote and not want to read the entire book?!

I loved the relationship between fifteen year old twins, history geek Malcolm and science geek Valentine, and the gentle exploration of their grief, particularly how it’s affecting them personally and in their relationships. I love that when describing herself and her twin Valentine comes up with “Loner, bookworm, geek”. These are my people!

I loved their new friends – conspiracy aficionado Winter, supposedly superficial Fred (the party’s at his house!), bubbly Brynne, holder of the gossip Carly and John, man of mystery. I love that we don’t have to suffer in the presence of the cool kids in this book. In this book we hang out with the newspaper team!

I loved that the kids go to Emmett Brown High School! The Back to the Future obsessive in me adores that cute time travel Easter egg. Maybe I was looking for BTTF references that weren’t intended after learning the name of the school but I also came across references including a clocktower and Copernicus, plus the obvious one – countless bolts of lightning with their glorious 1.21 gigawatts striking all around the town.

My favourite characters were the oldies. Oma Grace is practically your dream grandmother; supportive, adorable and beyond cool. I loved their crotchety neighbour, Walter Crane. Walter became (and remains) my absolute favourite character.

I enjoyed the adventure and mystery, I felt part of the friendships, I laughed and I ugly cried. Glancing through my highlighted passages I’ve gotten hyped up about these characters and their adventure again. I can’t believe I haven’t started the second book yet. I have to know what happens next because … holy cliffhanger, Batman!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

When 15-year-old twins Malcolm and Valentine Gilbert moved to a new town, they never imagined that the old house across the street could bring them so much trouble. A secret machine has reawakened inside, with the power to pierce time itself.

Meanwhile, lightning storms are breaking out all over town. They’re getting worse every week, and seem to enjoy striking kids who just want to pass science class and mind their own business. When Malcolm and Valentine discover a connection between the house and the storms, their situation goes from mysterious to crazy stupid dangerous. Someone is controlling the great machine, and their purpose is nearly complete.

In a race against time, the twins must uncover the chilling plan, the mastermind behind it, and the force that’s driving the deadly storms. They’ll hunt a powerful enemy that threatens their town’s existence, and the only clues are written in the sky.

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