by George Ivanoff - September 9th, 2011
A couple of months ago, author Sean McMullen wrote a guest blog for Literary Clutter about his new YA novel, Changing Yesterday (see Sean McMullen Changes Yesterday). At that stage I hadn’t read the book. Now that I have, I thought it was time to put in my two cents worth…
Changing Yesterday is a sequel to McMullen’s 2007 novel, Before the Storm. Four years between books makes it a little difficult to remember all the details of the first… but my strongest memory of the first book, is that I loved it. Ideally, I would have liked to reread Before the Storm, before plunging into Changing Yesterday, but due to the rather large pile of review books awaiting my attention, I didn’t have the luxury of doing so. And thus, with a shaky memory, I picked up Changing Yesterday.
Let me start with an aesthetic comparison. The new book has a way better cover. The cover concept for Before the Storm wasn’t bad, but the execution was rather cheesy. Pity, as the cover may have put off the uninformed reader from discovering a great story. No such worry this time around. The same cover artist, Grant Gittus, has excelled with a stylish and steampunky cover.
Thankfully, the first few chapters of Changing Yesterday give you all the necessary information about the first instalment that you need in order to understand and enjoy the sequel.
The story centres around two cadets from a future that hopefully will never be, who have travelled back to 1901 in order to stop an extremist group of British loyalists (the Lionhearts) from starting a war with Germany. With the help of some teenagers from 1901, the cadets managed to foil the Lionhearts’ attempt in the first book. But these guys are not done for yet and have set new plans into motion. Meanwhile the teenagers find their cohesive little group beginning to fall apart. Can they overcome their feelings and work together one more time to stop the beginning of the Hundred Years War? Well, you’re gonna have to read the book to find out.
Changing Yesterday is an action-packed, rollicking good, time-travel science fiction story full of twists and turns, and a surprise or two. But it also has great characters. These characters are taken in new directions and really put to the test this time around, sometimes even surprising themselves with their actions. All the while, McMullen tempers the whole thing with a wonderful sense of humour.
“If only my mother could see me now. Lying in bed with a boy in a first-class cabin, with two pistols under my pillow, pretending to be a French courtesan for the benefit of some armed men from a British secret society who are trying to start a worldwide war.”
Changing Yesterday is a complete book in its own right, able to be read without needing to read the first book (although I highly recommend that you do). Although it provides closure and ties up the loose ends, it also opens things up for a potential third book — a book that would take things into a very different direction. Here’s hoping McMullen writes it.
Catch ya later, George
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Tags: Sean McMullen