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BOOK REVIEW: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

BOOK REVIEW: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin TerrillAll Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
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Synopsis:

Em is locked in a bare, cold cell with no comforts. Finn is in the cell next door. The Doctor is keeping them there until they tell him what he wants to know. Trouble is, what he wants to know hasn't happened yet.

Em and Finn have a shared past, but no future unless they can find a way out. The present is torture - being kept apart, overhearing each other's anguish as the Doctor relentlessly seeks answers. There's no way back from here, to what they used to be, the world they used to know. Then Em finds a note in her cell which changes everything. It's from her future self and contains some simple but very clear instructions. Em must travel back in time to avert a tragedy that's about to unfold. Worse, she has to pursue and kill the boy she loves to change the future.

The truth is, the world is a fucked up place sometimes.

Wow. I honestly am not sure what I even want to rate this book but I guess I’ll go with a four. Ever since I got hooked on Doctor Who quite a few years back, I have gotten my hands on any and all YA time travel books that I could. Of course they seem to be hit or miss. Basically, if the time travel ~makes sense~ I usually love it. If it doesn’t, or is just too convoluted, they’re usually just mehh in my opinion. This one, as far as the actual inner workings of time travel go, seemed pretty easy to understand. Yes, it can still sometimes be hard to wrap your mind around but..it’s time travel. Of course you’re going to have to think about it and all of the possibilities that are created by going forward and back in time.

Time travel isn’t a wonder; it’s an abomination.

Basically this story starts out on two timelines, one with a character named Em narrating and the other with a character named Melanie narrating. Em is in a prison cell with a boy she knows named Finn (you can’t tell if they’re best friends or something more than that at first) in the next cell over. They have been in there for some time and seem to have been tortured for some kind of important information that they won’t give up. In her cell is a drain with a grate over it. For some reason it really bothers her—like seriously freaks her out until she is able to open it with a plastic spoon. Inside is a sealed bag with a piece of paper covered in her own handwriting with a list of things crossed out. The very last thing on the list reads something along the lines of “You have to kill him.” Very ominous, I know. She and Finn then need to escape their cells and travel back in time to kill whoever “him” is to prevent this time traveling machine from ever being made.

Melanie is narrating a time four years previous to Em’s perspective and has a best friend named James that she’s in love with. James has another friend named Finn that Melanie happens to hate. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention but it took me what was probably longer than necessary to realize that those Finn’s were the same person lol. As you can probably tell, the two stories intersect in the most interesting of ways.

But progress is always dangerous, isn’t it? Most of the time, walls don’t get dismantled brick by brick. Someone has to crash through them.

I don’t know if I consider this next part a spoiler or not since you find all of this out relatively early on in the book so I guess if you really just want to go into it blind, skip over the next paragraph.


Eventually you find out that Melanie is actually Em from the past. James is the one who creates the time machine, and as I said earlier, Finn is the same Finn (and is in love with the Em of the present.) Like I said, it took me (looking back) what seemed like way too long to figure that all out, I will admit it. Once things get going we see what Em and Finn do to try and kill past James so that the machine will never have been invented while seeing how those actions affect past Melanie, Finn, and James in their own present. I might have totally butchered explaining that, who knows haha. While I thought all of those small little aspects were incredibly well thought out and while I really liked the ending, I wasn’t completely sold.


The one major thing that affected my rating was the fact that on numerous occasions Em and Finn had these flashbacks to their past while also making mention of previous timelines in which they have travelled back other times to try and stop James from making the machine. They know this because of the list that Em finds in the drain like I mentioned earlier. For me, those small mentions and flashbacks were not enough. I felt like I needed *more*. I needed more about Finn and Em’s relationship. I needed WAY more about those past timelines, the newly dystopian-ish state of the US, and specific things that Finn and Em went through together to turn them into this semi-hardened versions of themselves. I think that even just a little bit more information would have gone a long way in raising the stakes for us as readers wanting James to be taken down. 

This next part I will put under a spoiler tag, just so I can talk things through without spoiling the ending for anyone:
View Spoiler »

I tell her she’s beautiful and perfect and she’s going to be okay. I tell her she doesn’t need to change herself to fit in with shallow girls or to matter to someone. I tell her everything I wish I had ever known. I tell her I love her, and I realize as I say it that I love me, too.

Overall, good example of time travel done right and I would definitely recommend!

BOOK REVIEW: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

BOOK REVIEW: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin TerrillAll Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

What would you change?

Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend, James, since they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it... at least, not as the girl she once was. Em and Marina are in a race against time that only one of them can win.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

I hated this. No, wait, I loved this. No, no-I hated it….Right? Still, even after having finished a day and a half ago, I still don’t know what I think of this book. It played with my heart on the deepest emotional level possible…and, for once, I don’t know if that was a good thing.
Dealing with matters of the heart are messy. There is no way to make rational decisions when your heart is split down the middle-I believe that with my whole soul. And, believe it or not, I’m not even talking about a love triangle. This is a good old-fashioned torture of the heart, a total mind-fuck…and I’m not sure I handled it all that well.

When I picked up this book, I thought I was starting a run of the mill dystopian/sci-fi fantasy novel. Honest to God, I might have rethought my decision to start this had I known how it would rip my heart into shreds. I keep telling my friends all the events of the book and we all came to the same type of stuttery, open-mouthed, grappling for words conclusion-Even after countless reviews and a neurotic fetish with making sure it fit all my criteria (I do this for every book I’m about to read, lest I make bad decisions), I still wasn’t prepared for what this book was truly about. If you simply read the blurb, you see it’s about two different couples in two different times, so to speak. You realize it’s all about time travel and deciding what you would change if you could: Are you really fixing something if you go back in time and alter the past? But what that damn dirty blurb doesn’t tell you is this-This book is far deeper than even it’s author lets on. This book has such raw, magnetic moments that you can’t help but to be manipulated by each individual character and each individual motivation. This book is so multi-layered that you won’t know what side you’re on, who you’re rooting for, or who you should be rooting for. The simple truth is this: there is no good or evil, it is simply what your present self knows the future to be. It’s what you’re willing to do, what you’re willing to sacrifice to make the world a better place-even if it destroys you to have to do so. Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW : All Our Yesterdays (All Our Yesterdays #1) by Cristin Terrill

BOOK REVIEW : All Our Yesterdays (All Our Yesterdays #1) by Cristin TerrillAll Our Yesterdays (All Our Yesterdays #1)
by Cristin Terrill
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Em is locked in a bare, cold cell with no comforts. Finn is in the cell next door. The Doctor is keeping them there until they tell him what he wants to know. Trouble is, what he wants to know hasn't happened yet.

Em and Finn have a shared past, but no future unless they can find a way out. The present is torture - being kept apart, overhearing each other's anguish as the Doctor relentlessly seeks answers. There's no way back from here, to what they used to be, the world they used to know. Then Em finds a note in her cell which changes everything. It's from her future self and contains some simple but very clear instructions. Em must travel back in time to avert a tragedy that's about to unfold. Worse, she has to pursue and kill the boy she loves to change the future.

Well, well, well, it does occur to me that I’m living in a high-ratings fantasy world lately.

Basically I have two options here :
– Either I become easier and easier to satisfy
Or, thanks to my wonderful GR friends and hours spent to go through a ridiculous amount of reviews, I’m lucky enough to grab books which perfectly suit my tastes. Of course I’m gonna go with that answer, what do you think?

“James leans against the wall, letting it takes his weight. “You two agree on this?”
” I know, it’s weird,” Finn says. “I feel dirty.”

Let’s talk about the plot without talking about the plot (yes, I can do this)
All Our Yesterday brings us in a shattered world where time travel is not only a reality, but also a terribly frightening weapon when hold by delusional and powerful hands. I must admit that while I often love time-travel stories, I usually find myself wondering about the possibility of it – I mean, of course I know I’m reading a science-fiction book, hey, I’m not a fool but I need to be able to rely on some believable explanations or I’m not buying it.

So, here? I have to congratulate Cristin Terrill because I find myself drinking and believing the explanations The Doctor gives us – The Doctor aka The Evil, and no, I won’t say anything else about him, except he’s the creator and user of the time machine, Cassandra (am I the only one to see a messed-up joke in that name? Cassandre? Reaaally?)

Verdict : I finished that book with the almost absolute certainty it could be possible to create such a dreading machine – and what a scaring possibility, I’m telling you!

Why did I love those characters ?
That’s pretty simple actually : they’re so realistic I could almost grasp them. Throughout the story we become witnesses of their evolution and I was very passionate about that experience : Call me cynical, but I never thought there were bad guys and good guys out there – Actually I think sometimes people drive on a thin ice without knowing it, and as we say in French, l’enfer est pavé de bonnes intentions, understand : even if we think we’re doing the right thing, unexpected really bad things can arise from our so-called good actions. We’re in real life here, and from a sci-fi novel, I say bravo. Either Em or Finn grew fiercer and fiercer, all the events and suffering they have to go through making their final resolution completely believable and understandable.

“I glance at Finn to see if he’s starting to sweat and shake the way I am, but he seems unaffected. He’s probably been working out in his cell, the vain little bastard.”

How can we recognize a good characterization?

Huuuum, Let’s see :

Option 1
Character A is character A at the beginning of the story.
Character A is put in the middle of a war-a wild and frightening world-whatever.
Character A never changes and stays Character A in the end of the story.
Character A is a f*cking robot. He bores me to no end.

Option 2
Character A is character A at the beginning of the story.
Character A is put in the middle of a war-a wild and frightening world-whatever.
Character A evolves through the story and becomes Character A’.
Character A’ is believable. I love Character A’.

As you can guess, in my opinion All Our Yesterday belongs to the second option. Plus, icing on the cake, I loved Finn‘s character from the beginning to the end, from the sarcastic and loyal best-friend to the adorable and fierce cell-mate.

Saving the world is not easy, but if I had to choose, he’d seem a really great option. Trust me.

To sum-up, what do we have here?

Convinced?

“But maybe it’s simpler than that. Maybe it’s that Finn has this magical ability to make you smile even when things are grim.”

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