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review 2018-05-25 22:00
"An Argumentation Of Historians - The Chronicles of St Mary's #9" by Jodi Taylor
 An Argumentation of Historians: The Chronicles of St. Mary's - Jodi Taylor,Zara Ramm

 

 

So the last St. Mary's book, "And The Rest Is History"mangled my emotions with great skill, putting me through much more angst than any allegedly light story about time-travelling historians has a right to. In her introduction to "An Argumentation Of Historians", Jodi Taylor says that her publishers asked if she could make this volume a little less depressing.  I think she managed that, but only just.

 

When Max says towards the start of the book:

"It had been a bad year but it was over now. I could look forward to the future"

I'm sure not a single reader will believe her.

There are lots of good things in this chronicle of St. Mary's. I was immediately back at home watching St. Mary's muddle through with stout hearts, awful luck and a reckless excess of pluck. We started off at a joust with Henry VIII and at the burning of Persepolis with Alexander the Great. It was all good stuff.

 

When it turned out that Clive Roland was back as the big bad and I became less pleased. This is a man with all of Time to choose from who still chooses to spend his energies plotting revenge on Max. He's apparently clever enough to avoid the might of the Time Police yet too dumb to kill Max on sight. I've had enough of that. I'd like a new bad guy. or at least the slow, painful and definitively final excoriation of this one. I found myself saying: "New balls, please!"

 

Then Jodi Taylor did it again. Just as I'd grown dissatisfied, Max ends up, lost, alone and with no hope of rescue in England in 1399 and we are treated to an engaging story of her efforts to make a life for herself there. This part of the book, which seemed like half of it, is wonderfully done.

 

The plot twist at the end holds up and explains a lot of the action but I didn't find it as satisfying as the 1399 section.

 

This was a good St. Mary's episode with some evocative pieces and it moves the story arc along but I'll be happier if/when we get a different big bad on the scene (although I'd be happy to applaud clever and violent revenge in the meantime.

 

 

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text 2018-05-23 14:50
Reading progress update: I've read 40%. -Clive Roland - AGAIN? New balls please
 An Argumentation of Historians: The Chronicles of St. Mary's - Jodi Taylor,Zara Ramm

I'm loving being back in St. Mary's and watching them muddle through with stout hearts, awful luck and a reckless excess of pluck. This time we're at a joust with Henry VIII and at the burning of Persepolis with Alexander the Great. It's all good stuff.

 

Except...

 

Clive Ronan is back as the big bad. This is a man with all of Time to choose from who still chooses to spend his energies plotting revenge on Max. He's apparently clever enough to avoid the might of the Time Police yet too dumb to kill Max on sight.

 

Enough.

 

Time for a new bad guy.

 

Or at least the slow, painful and definitively final excoriation of this one.

 

New balls, please.

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review 2018-05-07 08:00
The Battersea Barricades
The Battersea Barricades - Jodi Taylor

Having only just finished An Argumentation of Historians (the ninth book in the series), this short story was already published two weeks later. And it was completely not what I expected.

It is different from the rest in A) there is no 'investigating major/minor historical events in contemporary time' and B) the usual main characters almost play no role at all. Sure, Max is there drinking wine but not doing much more.

It was nice to have a background story for the supporting cast of the series, but it was a weird kind of story. As you might recall, Max travelled to a parallel dimension somewhere around book three/four (I honestly don't recall) and has been living since in a world with the Time Police. Some other things are also different, but just how different it was always difficult to tell because Max, and the reader by extension, is very ignorant of her surroundings and little important things like who is king/prime minister or what year it is. Tea, I can tell, is still plentiful, which is the only thing that counts.

So we are thrown into a civil war (simply called THE civil war for confusion) in this timeline, and while I would love to know more about this alternative reality, I would have liked to see some more introduction because sure, they were rebels of some kind. But that was about it. Now I left wondering about the details, and also if we will get more like this in the future.

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text 2018-04-27 10:35
Reading progress update: I've read 6%. - I broke my "read only my TBR" rule for this one
 An Argumentation of Historians: The Chronicles of St. Mary's - Jodi Taylor,Zara Ramm

I'd resolved to read only from my TBR pile unless something truly exceptional came along.

 

Well, surely the newest volume in The Chronicles Of St Mary's has to count?

 

I pre-ordered it and it's been sitting neglected for nearly two weeks now so I couldn't possibly put it off any further.

 

I've just started and the magic is back, this time featuring a trip, sorry, assignment, to see, sorry, observe, Henry VIII.

 

The last volume "And The Rest Is History" was so traumatising that it left me feeling a bit battered. It seems I was not alone. Jodi Taylor says in her introduction that her publisher's asked her to make this one more upbeat. So why when Max, arrived safely in Henry's England says, " It had been a bad year but it was over now. I could look forward to the future," do I not believe her?

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review 2018-04-18 15:52
Just One Damned Thing After Another / Jodi Taylor
Just One Damned Thing After Another - Jodi Taylor

Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power - especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet.

Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History. Their aim is to observe and document - to try and find the answers to many of History's unanswered questions...and not to die in the process. But one wrong move and History will fight back - to the death. And, as they soon discover - it's not just History they're fighting.

Follow the catastrophe curve from 11th-century London to World War I, and from the Cretaceous Period to the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria. For wherever Historians go, chaos is sure to follow in their wake....

 

This is the most enjoyable time-travel romp that I’ve ever read! I had great fun following the boisterous and sometimes explosive adventures of Madeleine Maxwell, as she joins the St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research. The book ends up being something that is hard to categorize, although I’m pretty sure that stores will stick it firmly on the Fantasy shelf. But there is mystery, intrigue, romance—you name the genre.

I am always delighted with fiction that includes dinosaurs, so the time travel to the Cretaceous was absolutely perfect for my tastes. As Miss Maxwell says, “You put dinosaurs and people together, you always get screaming.” Apparently she has seen at least one of the Jurassic Park movies!

I chose this as my time travel selection for my 2018 PopSugar challenge, but I will definitely be continuing on with the series. I love the patchwork of genres, the British sense of humour, and the adventure.

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