LOST IN TIME by A. G. Riddle (BOOK REVIEW)
“Lying there in the sand, in this prehistoric time, he finally did
what he couldn’t do in his own time: he faced the fact that he had been mentally stuck. In a way, even before Absolom sent him to this place, he had been lost in time. He knew that now”
Lost in Time by A.G. Riddle is a fantastic blend of sci-fi, time travel and thriller that works perfectly to grab its readers right from the very first chapter. Riddle dramatically plunged me into a murder mystery, quite like nothing I’ve read before.
Sam Anderson is a widowed father raising two children in Absolom City. On the third anniversary of his wife’s death, Sam and his daughter, Adeline, are accused of murdering Sam’s colleague and lover, Nora. As the evidence mounts, Sam soon realises he and Adeline are certainly going to be convicted. In an attempt to save his daughter, Sam confesses to the murder. Yet this is the future, and in the future the world’s worst criminals aren’t sent to prison, they’re sent through the Absolom machine. This machine will send Sam back in time to the Triassic period, the era of dinosaurs. All in all it is a terrifying death sentence, a punishment with too many unknowns. Whilst Sam prepares for his fate, his daughter Adeline refuses to accept it. As the novel progresses Adeline plunges into an all consuming quest to prove her father’s innocence, to discover a way to bring him back. Everyone around her is a suspect, everyone holds secrets, and what Adeline eventually uncovers changes everything.
It may seem far-fetched or erring on the ridiculous side to have the most dangerous criminals sent back to the time of dinosaurs but looking more deeply, Absolom revolutionised the world, and crime rates instantly plummeted. I mean, would you want to be sent to prison or would you rather face your chances of surviving with the world’s ancient, ferocious and deadly animals?
“Adeline had always heard the saying that the devil you know
is better than the one you don’t. That’s what Absolom was to the world: a new devil.”
Honestly, when Sam is sent through the Absolom, that’s when the book really kicks off for me and the pages literally flew by. The moment Sam awakens in the Triassic period, he’s stranded and his chances of survival look slim indeed. That’s when we begin our duel narrative as Riddle switches each chapter to alternate between Adeline, who investigates the murder mystery element and Sam who delivers us a survival story. There are scenes of Sam foraging for food, seeking shelter, building a fire and using every ounce of his wits to stay alive. My little nerdy heart loved looking up pictures of each dinosaur he encountered and I held my breath each time one chased him. Throughout all this Sam’s entire driving force is seeing Ryan and Adeline again, his anchor within the storm. Yet Riddle doesn’t make this easy for our Sam, and the further he roams into Pangea, the more it seems he will never survive long enough to return to his own time.
Not that events are any easier for Adeline either. The deeper her investigation reaches, the more threatening and dangerous her life becomes. Each one of the inventors of Absolom hide secrets, they’re all suspicious in their own way, and Riddle leads us down many twisted roads involving each one of them. However Adeline is the one character who evolves the most in this novel, from a sullen teenager to a woman responsible for rescuing her father, taking care of her brother and also keeping herself safe, she travels an exceptionally emotional journey.
My favourite aspect of Lost in Time is the way Riddle cleverly portrays the threads of time. Through both characters we see how time can affect so much of our lives without us even realising; the time we waste, the time we long to go back to, hold on to, and the time we desperately want to change. From the author’s note I learned that themes such as grief, parenthood and regret within the novel come directly from the author’s personal life experiences and you can truly see that through the raw emotions present throughout many scenes.
“That was the way of the world, he thought; you give it your all; sometimes it’s enough, sometimes it’s not, and sometimes, the tide carries you in.”
I have to say the ending of the book was nothing like what I expected it to be. Riddle drops a completely mind blowing twist and changes the perspective of the entire novel. Lost in Time is easy to devour in one sitting, it’s easy to be wholly immersed into this twisty time travel tale, and before you know it, you yourself lose track of time.
ARC provided by Jamie at BlackCrow PR and Head of Zeus in exchange for an honest review.
Lost in Time is out 1st September in the UK but you can preorder a copy HERE