Disney/Hyperion, 2013. 978-1423161622
Synopsis: Riley is an orphan in Victorian London who becomes apprenticed to illusionist Albert Garrick now turned assassin for hire. Chevron is a junior FBI agent that has been sent to London after a mission goes wrong in the United States. When Riley is tasked with killing a scientist that happens to be in possession of a time machine from the future, he finds himself transported to Modern London with his master in pursuit. Chevron must try to get Riley back to the past, but can she do it without the help of her mentor?
Why I picked it up: The premise intrigued me because I am a fan of time travel ala Back to the Future and Doctor Who.
Why I finished it: I have to admit that I had a hard time getting into this book. Colfer is moving his reader rather quickly through the story in a very grand and cinematic style that makes the settings easy to visualize, but is similarly disorienting. The third person omniscient narrative makes the transition from character to character fluid, but again, there is a lot of action happening in such a short amount of time that I found myself reading portions multiple times to make sure I understood what was going on. The further the reader moves into the story, the more back story is revealed for Riley, Garrick, and Chevron, helping give greater insight into their individual motivations and how they fit in with the current events. The characters are likable and well-rounded, and even though Garrick is the bad guy, he’s quite clever, conniving, and there are points at which I found myself almost cheering for him. Riley and Chevron instantly establish a quirky repartee and the two learn more and more to work together and to rely on each other’s skills to make sure everything ends up as it should be. Colfer is a gifted storyteller, and although I didn’t find myself drawn into the story, I’m hoping to read some more of his body of work.
Other related materials: Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer; Half Moon Investigations by Eoion Colfer; Airman by Eoin Colfer; The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer; House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini, illustrated by Greg Call; The 39 Clues books; Alex Rider books by Anthony Horowitz; Beyonders series by Brandon Mull; The Infinity Ring books; H.I.V.E series by Mark Walden