I always look forward to books by the Phippses. So when the author generously offered me an advanced reader copy of their new book, I jumped at the chance! Of course, I'd be happy to wait in line like everyone else, such is the esteem in which I hold Carol and Tom's work.
THEN... picks up where its predecessor, WHAM!, left off. The genie is out of the lamp now, and revolution is brewing, but not if diabolical dictator Pandora has her way. From her hidden sanctuary, she continues to oppress her people. Spying on them, gassing them and dealing with dissidents harshly, her hunger for power knows no bounds. Those that stand against her - a ragtag collection of humans, trolls and fairies from the past and present - must fight almost impossible odds.
Underdogs fighting back against tyranny is by no means a novel idea, but the TIMEWALKERS stories are brilliant enough to outshine the crowd. The plot moves rapidly, twisting and turning, flitting from character's one point of view to the next at breakneck speed. Action is frequent; dialogue is charming one moment, disturbing the next; the various locales are beautifully depicted. We're transported from wondrous Lewis Carroll-esque utopias to ugly, ravaged places, from undersea paradises to places which almost look like our own world. If you read for escapism, if you love to be immersed in a fantastical universe with magical characters and compelling plots, you should read WHAM! and THEN... immediately. I also heartily recommend the writers' HEART OF THE STAFF series, which has been recently revamped.
Zipping from the gorgeously enchanting to the darkly terrifying, THEN... is dystopian fantasy at its finest. It's even better than Book 1, too, and I wish I could award it more than 5 stars!