Limited Wish by Mark Lawrence – Book Review
Series: Impossible Times
Previous Book in Series: One Word Kill
Published by: 47North
Genre: Sci-Fi, YA, Time Travel
Purchased Copy from Amazon’s Kindle Store
Time travel is well and good, I thought, but what about all the paradoxes that ought to come with it? I shouldn’t have worried—with Limited Wish, the time-travelling chicken comes home to roost.
Nick Hayes comes face to face with two diverging timelines, two distinct fates he must choose between even as both of them threaten to destabilize his own present. It’s almost amusing, seeing the universe trying to kill Nick yet again; would be, too, if I wasn’t so damn invested in his well-being, his future, even his love life.
For all the universe’s murderous intent, it’s difficult not to enjoy the source of our paradox, a brilliant eighteen-year-old by the name of Eva, who has a complex, entangled relationship with Nick Hayes. I shan’t spoil the nature of this relationship, but I think the following quote forecasts it well enough:
Untouchable realities are too academic. If a man is starving to death on our street we empty the larder to feed him. Move him to a country a thousand miles away and our compassion shrinks a hundredfold. Move a child to another universe and we cease to care.
Mark Lawrence’s prose remains as gripping, as riveting as in One Word Kill–whether he writes of cancer and loss or mathematics and physics, the author shows great insight, tackling his subject matter with sensitivity. Falling in love with maths all over again comes as second nature after spending any amount of time in Nick’s head, especially with lines such as these:
Mathematics is its own language. The language of everything. It doesn’t need someone to explain it. It explains itself and leaves almost no room for ambiguity.
I was always good at maths but it wasn’t until I started to take the stuff seriously that I began to see the beauty of it. A good mathematical proof is a gem. It sparkles in the same way, and like a diamond it’s impervious to time. It takes and multiplies the light of understanding, refracting it through many facets.
As before, Nick’s friends are absolute legends, the madlads. Whether they indulge in D&D adventures or are forced to deal with Nick’s crazy time-travel shenanigans, John, Simon and Mia live up to the challenge. That’s no small thing, especially on account of Nick and Mia’s recent break-up, which throws another spanner in the works. Take note from this book, kids: you can still be friendly with an ex even if you’ve gone over a separation! Oh yeah, young adult fiction you can take a lesson away from!
I loved more than a few sententious bits of wisdom throughout the dialogue, such as:
Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.
Lawrence writes good dialogue; never swollen with explanation, never pulling you out of the story, building up voice and personality—all elements that any reader worth their books would want from fictional discourse.
Some of the action here is brutal—downright horrific. Scenes like the climatic one serve to remind you these novels came from the mind that birthed the Empire of Thorns trilogy, known far and away as one of the bloodier settings in modern fantasy. Another mark on Lawrence’s belt—a second consecutive bad guy to horrify in this series, and accomplished with no great difficulty, either.
It’s an excellent sequel—and another read easy and short enough to burn through in the span of a single day. Page-turners such as this one are a no-brainer!