Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review: The Tunnel by Josh Anderson

The Tunnel (Time of Death #1) by Josh Anderson
Release Date: August 1, 2015
Publisher: Epic Press
Genre: Young Adult Time Travel

What if you could go back and change the past? Kyle Cash made the biggest mistake of his life on March 13, 2014, when he crashed his friend's Audi into a school bus full of children. The accident haunts him every day, until the sister of one of the kids killed in the crash comes to visit Kyle at Stevenson Youth Correctional Facility and offers him the opportunity to travel back in time. Kyle learns, though, that time weaving is more complicated and more dangerous than he ever could have imagined. 

I've always been a big fan of time travel books, all the way back since when Doc Brown told Marty McFly about gigawatts.  (If you're too young to get that reference, well, bless your heart and go watch Back to the Future.) So this story, given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review (thank you, Josh!) was the perfect type of read for me.

Told in Kyle Cash's perspective, we get a look at what it might be like if you could try to go back and correct a terrible mistake you had committed.  To some of us, mistakes we make may not be all that profound, but to Kyle, they were horrific. Driving under the influence caused a bus crash that killed numerous children,put him in jail, and destroyed so many lives, including that of his mother, the only parent he's had in his life.  When he's offered the chance to go back and potentially correct this mistake, who wouldn't say yes?

What I loved about Kyle was that, sitting in jail, his mistake was always with him.  Not that I wanted him to torture himself, but it was an effective bit of characterization for the reader to see the extent of Kyle's regrets.  He has a list of names at his cell bed of all those who died because of him. Although we might be inclined not to like him for his mistake, his obvious regret and self-guilt made me sympathize immediately. When offered this chance to travel in time to correct the mistake, he's determined to do so. As with all time travels, however, it obviously isn't going to be as simple as that.

The book has a very small cast of characters, but the author did a fantastic job allowing the reader to get to know his characters, in the midst of action sequences and unfolding mystery. All the elements I love in a good time travel were present. There's mystery to it, science that we may understand in theory but can't yet prove. A lot of time travel novels don't pay attention to the details and come out seeming unrealistic to where I can't suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy it.  This one was right on the money, paying careful attention to the detail of the science, and even giving us a couple new ways to look at time travel that I haven't seen in other books.

If I had any complaints at all, it might be that the romance seemed a little too insta-love, especially on the girl's side, although for some reason it didn't bother me that much.  There were too many other aspects of the story that were holding my attention to where the romance was rather secondary.

This was a very fast-reading book.  Although it was a tad short, I finished it quickly not only due to the length but also because the pacing was very quick and the story itself had me engrossed.  I don't want to say too much more because I don't want to give anything away.  I will only say that I loved some of the twists and turns in the book, and some unexpected relationships that cropped up and proved essential to the story.  

The author was able to convey a lot of characterization with little space required, and the writing was tight and suspenseful.  This is the first in a series, and now I'm dying to read the next one because this one ended with a quite the agonizing cliffhanger. Definitely give this series a try!

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