Time Walker (Spirit Bound #1)
By Meghan Ciana Diodge
Released: December 7, 2012
Publisher: Old Man in the CrossWalk Productions
Paperback, 188 pages
Beth was sneaky. No lock could hold her. No cage could confine her. No door could bar her way. But, when your adoptive mother is a Spirit Binder, and all your siblings are elementals, being sneaky doesn’t really rank.
That is until the devastation of a city draws her omniscient mother’s attention, and her siblings go missing one by one, then Beth’s sneakiness is the only thing standing between her, her loved ones, and the worst enemy she’ll ever face: herself.
Time Walker is a 50,000-word young adult fantasy novel filled with magic, angst, and a kiss of romance. Loyalty and the bond between siblings, whether blood-related or not, is the backbone of this coming of age tale set a thousand years after spirit (aka magic) rises to take back the world in an apocalyptic event. It is the first book in the Spirit Bound series.
Written by Meghan Ciana Doidge (After The Virus, Spirit Binder) the novel begins ten years after the events of Spirit Binder, and though it's not necessary to read Spirit Binder before reading Time Walker it may give some extra background to the world and adult characters. Spirit Binder is written for a mature young adult or adult audience. --Goodreads
What makes the fantasy genre so magical is the magic a person finds within each book. A large majority of fantasy novels, YA or adult, contain vivid scenery with swooping medieval castles; rounded out characters full of angst and love; and best of all, the hocus pocus that makes the impossible happen. Time Walker was a powerful fantasy book that surprisingly enraptured me while reading and tested the limits for some societal issues.
The world of Time Walker is one with immense magical capabilities. Literally. Nearly all of the characters introduced are prodigious magic users who can manipulate their surroundings. However, Beth is not one of them. Unlike the rest of her adoptive family members, Beth only seems to have the power to unlock locks with her mind. It is a handy power, but by no means even close to the powers that her siblings and parents have, ranging from controlling people's feelings to controlling the elements. In a way, Time Walker is one of those underdog stories, with Beth rising up from the ashes to totally kick the evil's butt. Still, there is way more to the story that just draws the reader in so easily.
Antagonists are so easy to dislike and it is definitely no exception here. However, the conflict between Beth and her foe is one that runs so deep, so it is frightening to read. I have never felt so desperate and anxious for a heroine in a long time until now. Beth is a fierce heroine that is easily likable and root-able (?). While she does make many mistakes along the way, her resolve to save her family from the entity kidnapping her family members is what makes her stand out. Unlike many other heroines whose words don't follow their actions, Beth keeps her word and stays consistent throughout the novel. With so many weak, push-over heroines out there in the YA book world, it's refreshing to have a kick-butt female protagonist to root for.
Many of the mistakes that are made throughout the novel are ones that test the boundaries of morals. We see one example in Beth having a crush on her adoptive brother. Although they are technically not blood-related, it can become quite uncomfortable to see Beth yearning for her brother. This "incest" isn't really portrayed in a positive or negative light, which is a nice change from the typical societal rant. Despite this mini-rant, the true focus of this book isn't the "incest," it's the familial love that we see between Beth and her siblings. I do say that there are so many siblings to keep track of, so at times I was extremely confused over who was who. It isn't something that major in the plot of the book, but the many references left me flipping back to match the faces to the powers.
My only truly serious complaint about Time Walker is the under-development of many of the characters. Besides Beth and her love interest, Finn, it was extremely difficult to understand the decisions of many characters. I never really understood the siblings or the mother of this enormous family, Theo, but I expect to find out more in the spin-off, Spirit Binder, which is to focus on Theo's childhood. Part of the problem was having too many siblings to keep track of. There wasn't really too many children, but there was more than enough for a shorter book.
Time Walker is a book that will completely take you over for the few pages that it has. The advantage of shorter stories is that they tend to have all of the unnecessary details chopped out. This book was extremely short, as seen by the 188 pages, and every page of dialogue or action was so worth it. While the ending was neatly wrapped with a bowtie, many other questions lie ahead that I cannot wait to discover in Spirit Bound. If anyone likes fantasy, I would totally recommend this book for a refreshing change in the YA fantasy with the girl leading the way, like a true warrior. Ending this powerful book full of revenge, incest, and hatred, is a neatly tied up prologue that leaves nothing remaining, thankfully. I beg you, if you enjoy reading, you need to try this book as soon as possible.