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review 2019-02-18 21:01
Timepiece - Heather Albano

I read time travel, so count me in. There's an introduction in the book about the special setting where, from our POV, people from one historical setting visit another one. Besides it is set in an alternative steampunk London where monsters and the machines that were meant to keep them in check roam around.

This is a good example of how thing gradually became worse, with the solution being even worse than the problem and this for several problems. Luckily there is a bunch of time traveling pocket watches available and some young people who are willing to use it to rid the world once and for all of these problems. Our main characters are from Georgian England and it is clear that HG Wells and the like have not yet been around, because of course they should have realized right from the start that History doesn't want to be changed and that these things NEVER end well.

The story was a bit slower than I expected. While they do jump around in time quite some, I was perhaps still used to the mayhem that is St Mary's in that other Time Travel series that I'm reading. I'm however, not entirely on board with the rules of the time travel in this one, especially since they glance over (or at least give a unsatisfactory answer) to two of the most important paradoxes of time travel. I hope this will be resolved a bit better in the next book, which I hope to read soon.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2014-01-19 15:01
Imaginative ideas, but didn't quite work for me
Timepiece - Heather Albano

Timepiece, by Heather Albano, was an experiment for me into a sort of steampunk plus time travel experience. A little to my surprise, it was set overtly in a very recognisable version of our own world, beginning on the day of the Battle of Waterloo. As the story progressed it became clear that other fictional elements had been woven into the plot, most notably from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I suppose that I had expected something set in an invented world, or at least one in which the divergence from our own history had happened sufficiently early that there were many more differences.

As it was, I did not find the basic premise compelling. It seemed altogether too easy for Heather to inventively write her way out of problems, and I felt that difficulties raised early on were side-stepped later. Certain constraints in the time travel part were set up, but did not seem to be followed through consistently if the plot seemed to require otherwise (for example, being in two places at once at the same time, or whether or not it was possible to revisit a time already accessed). On the one hand, the world was too much like ours, but on the other, there were too many added ingredients to know where things stood.

Like several other books I have read recently, it is just the first part of a story, and it finishes rather abruptly, almost in mid-narrative. To some extent this incompleteness is signaled by clues dropped quite skilfully into the storyline. Certain relationships are suggested but then left unresolved. As reader, you begin to suspect that these clues are building into a pattern, but the characters remain ignorant of this. Perhaps they will become aware of the pattern in the next volume, which I am guessing is going to see the main characters try and resolve the problem that they were left in at the end of Timepiece - it's something of a `three wishes' plot where at each stage the central couple have to try to sort out the problems that were created last time. At any rate, this device of simply halting the story mid-flow did not endear me to the book, and has not left me eager to pick up the next one: instead I felt frustrated that it was left incomplete.

The book necessarily handles some science / technology plot components as it goes along, and I had mixed feelings about these. Some felt about right for the early to mid 19th century, but others felt out of place. But then, if you're writing about a parallel universe maybe it's fair game to just swap things around? I wasn't sure, and I think on balance I prefer dealing with the actual history of our own world, and the problems faced by people in it. From conversations with others I am aware of how hard it is to create a convincing imaginary world. In the world of Timepiece, I was never sure that I actually knew what the rules and boundaries were, and they seemed rather fluid as things moved along.

One of Heather's main interests is clearly to explore how people from one era might cope with a culture reasonably close to their own - in this case about 70 years. That is an interesting endeavour - it's almost within the protagonists' lifetimes, but with enough changes (quite apart from the time travel stuff) to make for some unexpected dissonance as well as reassuring familiarity. This worked well for a while, but it seemed that having gone into changes of costume, and some aspects of the role of women, Heather dropped back into differences more to do with social rank than cultural development. I would have enjoyed something further along the original lines.

Technically this is yet another book where kindle features have not been properly coded. The the hardware navigation works, and there is an HTML TOC, but this has not been fully integrated and you cannot `goto' table of contents. However, the content of the book has been carefully proof-read and is nicely laid out.

Timepiece is undoubtedly imaginative, but for me it slightly failed to reach a target, resulting in my four star rating. I do prefer books about the real past of this world, but am quite happy to delve into imaginary or parallel places... so long as the ground-rules are clearly set out and maintained. Alternate history books are a fascinating look into unrealised possibilities, but I did not find this one very compelling. Having said that, I am sure that readers who click more with steampunk than I do will have a great time with Heather's book, and appreciate its particular flavour more than I did. Worth a look, if this is a genre you enjoy.

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review 2012-07-03 00:00
Timepiece - Heather Albano 4.5 stars!Timepiece  was soo soo good! Can you say addicting! I'm  not sure how it came to my attention as it didn't really seem to be my normal read, but I'm so glad it did!  I haven't read a historical  anything in a while, definitely not one anywhere near as good! Let's see, the only downsides IMO, are the length ( too short) and we don't get to know the main characters enough, but I'm hoping the next book will solve that issue (....coming out summer 2012, so anytime now :D )Otherwise Ms Albano does a great job of keeping the story consistent while telling a cohesive and engrossing tale. It's action packed, though in the beginning said action isn't as in your face as the phrase implies. Stuff happens, that kept me turning pages, then other stuff happens, and I still couldn't stop reading, and even more happens, and  i simultaneously devoured the story and silently cursed Ms Albano or having the audacity to end the book!Technically, I guess  I'd call it steam punk, but not overly so. I don't know how to explain what I mean by that without giving too much away so , give it a chance, and find out or yourself, lol.Keep in mind, , you may wanna give it a couple chapters, IIRC the action doesn't pick up again for a couple chapters after the prologue. Also there was no cursing ( I don't think), no sex scenes, and only shades of romance...which are all hallmarks of my regular reads, so color me gleefully surprised by how much I seem to be loving this story! Okay, hopefully this is at least a somewhat coherent review, I may try to clean it up later, but I'll just end with this: Go read it! :)
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review 2012-06-19 00:00
Choice of Zombies
Choice of Zombies - Heather Albano,Choic... Choice of Zombies - Heather Albano,Choice of Games I experienced this adventure twice and got very different results.
The first time I was zombifies with a kill record of 17 zombies, whereas, the second time I successfully became a survivor and actually gave the cure for the zombified victims to the scientist, along with three fellow survivors.

I quite experienced this plot. It had quite a few twists and turns and was very interesting.
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review 2012-04-14 00:00
Choice of Intrigues
Choice of Intrigues - Heather Albano,Choice of Games,Adam Strong-Morse well, I certainly would not like living in a society like this. Yes, I managed to end the game with quite good results, with two Death Mages as children and the favor of the King on my side, for now. But, I didn't like the general idea of constantly having to charm the King almost all over again. Pff... Someone that gets distracted so easily doeesn't really deserve the attention of anyone. Except for th current situation. A King is a King, I guess... And, we forgive everything to him... Not! Well, other than that it was good. I'll probably get back to playing, as I want to search for any other possible results...
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