Most helpful critical review
Not as good as TimeRiders
on 27 June 2015
While the novel's short chapters made this book a fast paced and easy read, I felt that it was a little weaker than the TimeRiders on the whole. It's middle section was a lot slower and it mainly flipped between the Cretaceous Period and 2001, leaving a lot less room for travelling between times.
I also still have some issues with Scarrow's version of time travel. I expect this is a personal gripe as I notice this novel has a huge fan base, but it just didn't make sense to me. It looks like it's a dynamic time travel story, yet no one treats it as such. Why couldn't Maddy or Sal just go back to 20 minutes before the accident and stop Liam from going into the building? Surely that would have caused less damage than allowing him to romp around in pre-history, felling trees and killing dinosaurs.
I also though the unnamed predators lacked some imagination. They're described as looking just like the xenomorphs from Alien (seriously, if you look closely at the cover you can see one of them in the bottom right) and are able to grasp concepts such as love and hindsight, yet can't suss the mechanics of a pointed stick. Seriously Broken Claw, you have claws that can punch holes in prey. Surely you can see that the spears do the same thing?
In terms of characterisation, I felt that Liam got far more than the girls. Through his interaction with Becks, we got to see his caring side and, in turn, it was interesting to see how this affected Becks's growth. The girls still felt like third wheels. Sal barely spoke in this novel and Maddy is still detestable, treating the support units like slabs of meat. I just don't like the way that Scarrow writes women in general - describing Becks as being 87% less efficient than Bob (except in situations that require a female operative...sigh) and making inferences that the female cast on the whole is weaker, more irrational and generally just not useful in a crisis.
All in all, this novel underwhelmed me. I'm hoping it picks up and resolves some of its issues in the next instalment.