“Remember that time you dated that complete nutcase and said to yourself, I wish Future Me would have come back and warned me about this. Remember when you and your drunk friends said, If it’s such a bad idea, someone would come back from the future and stop us, right before it blew up in your face and got you in trouble? It would be great to have someone from the future to guide your life, wouldn’t it?”
Before delving in to my review of ‘Time to Lie’, please be aware that it may contain minor spoilers. I won’t, of course, give any main plot points away, however, if you want a completely clean slate, I would suggest reading the book first. A summary for those who wish to do just that – overall, I enjoyed it. I feel that although there wasn’t a major overriding story tying the book together, it sets up the series perfectly. Relatable characters and an interestingly intriguing take on the time travel genre.
It’s true that Phil Taylor is a talented author. The concept of the time travel elements contained within the story of Time to lie is ingenious, and in fact makes one consider how time travel functions in a real-life situation. I’ve always enjoyed the idea of time travel. To go to place in one’s past and visit relatives that have been lost, or of course to visit mistakes that one wishes to change. So, to have this ability as a young adult would seem that you have a power beyond comprehension. As such, the main character Landon Bridges (a pun on ‘London Bridge’ if you hadn’t of guessed) doesn’t seem to know where to go first, or what, if anything, to change. He has the idea to go back, and give himself opportunities that he wishes – including placing bets on sure wins etc., however, his life has many twists and so, these dreams become just distant ideas of the concept of time travel itself.
‘he tried to understand my love of physics and math, and I tried mightily to understand his infatuation with those glandular freaks in coordinated uniforms he watched every Sunday’
As a self-contained book, it is a slow starter and to me doesn’t gain much traction throughout. It feels, in parts, kin to an American comedy based within a typical drunken college (university) environment. There is some genuine giggle out loud moments and keeps a light-hearted nature throughout.
Landon himself is a self-confessed ‘geek’ with a love of science and as such, he has a logical and inquisitive mind. He is a relatable character, at least in my eyes, as he has a need to control the environment, and sometimes the people, around him.
‘Regaining some control over my world by understanding it better’
Like many a young person, Landon has many flaws, with his morality being the main issue for me. One stand out issue is his lack of empathy in some areas where compassion may have been a better choice. Although many examples come to mind, one issue I had was his relationship with his mother – which wasn’t explored as much as I felt it should have. He seemed to be very close to his father and due to this loyalty and circumstances beyond his control, he rejects his mother’s choice in a new partner. Completely dismissing his mother’s feelings and not wanting to get to know his new step-father, he firstly moves in with close relatives before moving to college.
I can understand a period of mourning, when one parent moves on to another partner, however, it seems foreign to me to completely dismiss his mothers and step fathers’ thoughts and feelings. Perhaps this is a reason for his lack of morality?
Throughout the book, we meet many one-dimensional characters. Although, I believe that as the series develops, we as the reader will understand and get to know these characters more. Within Time to Lie however, we only gain information regarding these people to move the plot forward. One such person is a typical aloof professor, Dr. Kuroda who become a somewhat adopted father figure to Landon who guides him through his time travel escapades.
Of course, being a young man at college, he meets the love of his life, Siobhan. This again is where his morality is questioned – he cares little for the lives of others in favour of spending time with, in his mind, his future wife.
As readers, we want to explore worlds that we wouldn’t find ourselves. I didn’t have the experience of university that Landon has had – minis the time travel. I know of friends who have had wild nights out, where I would have stayed home and read a book. We want to be challenged. We want our ideas to widen, to question our likes and dislikes regarding the world around us. This book, at first glance was one which I would have traditionally disliked. However, I’m glad I persisted. It’s an enjoyable, easy read which I hope as the series continues, answers the many questions that is has asked.