Title: Just One Damned Thing After Another
Author: Jodi Taylor
Genre: Science Fiction/Adventure
Category: 22. Read a long book, one between 100,000 and 250,000 words
Date Started: February 22nd 2017
Date Finished: February 25th 2017
If you tell me this isn’t the coolest plot for a book series ever then I would probably be more than a little surprised. A series of books about historians who travel to the past and learn about history and obviously get into a bunch of trouble while doing it. And naturally they all live together and sleep together. Oh and there are dinosaurs.
Unfortunately the potential of this plot remains largely unrealised. I wouldn’t say that the writing is terrible, but it is often cliche and trying to be funny without actually being funny. But mostly my issue is the continuity throughout the book which for me is always important but even more so when you’re dealing with time travel.
Let me explain a little further. The first part of the book deals primarily with the protagonist’s arrival at St Mary’s and subsequent training. This part is all fine with me though it’s unclear how long the training actually takes. It’s then unclear how much time passes between this and subsequent missions, particularly before the final mission. By the end of the book supposedly five years and a half years have passed. However, at the end of this period the same staff are employed at St. Mary’s as immediately following the conclusion of Max’s training. My assumption based on hints in the book is that training takes 6 months, let’s assume one intake per year with approximately 10 students (only a portion actually becoming staff), so we would assume that there would be maybe 20-25 new staff members. Based on the indications that staff don’t last long at St. Mary’s I would also assume that some of these staff would have died in the course of 5 years, including some of the new staff. But, that is not the case, the staff has remained completely static. Not just that, but there is absolutely no indication of the relationship growth between characters that you would expect after 5 years of working together.
In addition, the plot itself is a little bit all over the place. I realise that this is the first book in a series and some things will naturally be unresolved, but you’re thrown from one historical event to another and never quite sure if the focus is meant to be the history or the politics going on back at St. Mary’s. Once tied together some of these events do make a lot more sense and perhaps this would be less of a concern if it weren’t for the timeline issues to begin with.
All that being said, the little history buff inside me is still fascinated by a world in which you can view history as it’s happening. There are so many places I would want to visit, so many things I would want to see. So in that sense I am torn between continuing with the series to see what else happens and letting it go because I was just so frustrated by the writing.
Where would you go if you had the chance to see anything in history?