PART A: BLACKOUT 4 stars
PART B: ALL CLEAR 3 stars (NOT A STANDALONE - YOU HAVE TO READ BLACKOUT FIRST).
Oxford in 2060 is a chaotic place, with scores of time-traveling historians being sent into the past. Michael Davies is prepping to go to Pearl Harbor. Merope Ward is coping with a bunch of bratty 1940 evacuees and trying to talk her thesis adviser into letting her go to VE-Day. Polly Churchill's next assignment will be as a shopgirl in the middle of London's Blitz.
But now the time-travel lab is suddenly canceling assignments and switching around everyone's schedules. And when Michael, Merope, and Polly finally get to World War II, things just get worse. For there they face air raids, blackouts, and dive-bombing Stukas--to say nothing of a growing feeling that not only their assignments but the war and history itself are spiraling out of control.
Because suddenly the once-reliable mechanisms of time travel are showing significant glitches, and our heroes are beginning to question their most firmly held belief: that no historian can possibly change the past.
Overall I enjoyed the story. The problems came when there was a time lapse between me reading book 1A and book 1b (this is one book spit into two parts). I had a bit of difficulty trying to remember what had gone on in Blackout. Then Polly really frustrated me when she withheld information from Mike and Eileen.
Really, this book needed to be trimmed down, and I'm blaming her editor for that.
I also got frustrated with the inner monologues/thoughts of the individuals which just seemed to go on and on.
Finally, sorry to be dim, but what did the ending mean? Was Colin Merope's great grandchild? I was puzzled by the ending and read it three times, but I still can't tell. Someone PLEASE leave and comment and clue me in.
I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't read it again.