Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Book 44 of 2013: Moments in Time: Chronicles of Eternity 1 by J.A. Gordon

I regularly go through the Kindle store on Amazon, looking out the most popular free downloads. I have a sort of routine where I go through to a particular section of the store, sort the books first by price from lowest to highest, and then by popularity. I've been burned too many times to bother with the low stars but I usually give anything with three stars or more a shot.

Back towards the end of the summer I was feeling like reading something a bit historical and so after trawling through my options I found Moments in Time: Chronicles of Eternity, Book 1 by J.A. Gordon. It had a good number of positive reviews (although I don't like to read them before I start a book because I like to make up my own mind). Unfortunately it really was not for me. I very rarely give a book one star in by book journal, but this was one of my one-star reviews.

The book begins with someone going through some sort of hypnotic regression to a past life before picking up the story of Graecus, a young Roman Centurion, and from then on follows their day to day life.

I really couldn't get into this story at all. From the description on Amazon I thought the premise sounded cool. There seemed to be a blend of fantasy and history which I kind of wanted after finishing off the Game of Thrones books. Unfortunately I ended up feeling a bit let down, as though this could have been an awful lot better.

I liked the idea of taking a glimpse into someone's former life, but aside from the beginning which had someone being hypnotised, there was no other reference to this all the way through the book. It wouldn't have been missed if it had been cut from the book. I was expecting it to return to the regression at the end with someone waking up, but it just ended with Graecus heading off to someplace new.

This is the first of a trilogy so I'm guessing that maybe that'll be picked up on in the later books, but after struggling through this book I'm not really in any hurry to pick it back up. I think it would've been cool if it'd been approached from both modern and historical perspectives; looking at someone's past life and present life and having chapters switching between the two.

At times it felt a lot like a children's book, as though it was designed to educate children about life in a Roman century. The language was kind of simplistic and at times I was reminded of those Dorling Kindersly books, like the Eyewitness History ones. One particularly memorable quote is "His Latin lessons with Graecus continued. With Zig at his side, he learned the declensions and conjugations and all the tenses of the verbs, he learned the correct use of the subjunctive, the deponent verbs and the ablative absolute and he very quickly became fluent in the language." At times I felt like someone had taken a textbook and just thrown some characters into the mix for added flavour!

Of course, it obviously wasn't a children's book because there were regular descriptions of sex and men's erections. I couldn't help but think it was trying to go for the Game of Thrones audience or was trying to be a bit edgy. I wasn't impressed though. I think it would've been a lot better if that was all cut out and the target audience left as children. The combination of the language style and the events that were described didn't gel at all and left me feeling somewhat confused as to who the book was aimed at.

The whole book felt like it was telling me things, instead of showing them with any degree of subtlety; as you can see with the quote I posted above. There were paragraphs which glossed over events which I felt could've been given an entire chapter to develop, whereas whole chapters were devoted instead to what happened when one of the guys ate some funny mushrooms.

Towards the end it seemed to be edging towards becoming a religious story as the main character started to learn about Christianity. I'm not sure if that's the direction that the series is going to take in the second and third book. I'm not in any great hurry to read the new two to find out.

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