All Our Yesterdays – Cristin Terrill, narrated by Meredith Mitchell

17451105I loved this book. Despite the fact that I was a little unhappy going into yet another time travel novel (yet another time travel audiobook, yet – there have been a surprising number this year), I still really came to care about the characters, was captured by the plot, galloped through it at full pace.

Buuutttt….

It’s in the present tense, which I cordially dislike – but it works for this. I mean, time travel. That didn’t affect the rating. I need to stop complaining about the tense.

One thing that did affect the rating: The security depicted in the book makes the Keystone Kops look like SEAL Team 6. The protection detail is so porous it makes cheesecloth look like six-inch titanium. The protect-ee could have (should have) been killed a hundred times over. It was ludicrous – necessary to the plot, I suppose, but silly.

The primary (joint) reason I can’t give this five stars is simply because a) the title echoes a sort-of-time-travelly episode of Star Trek (and yes, I know it originally comes from Macbeth), and b & c & d & on through z) the bad guy is a man whose name Em refuses to use, so she just calls him … the doctor. This is bad. Given the sheer evil of the man, it’s a little shattering. It would be hard even if there wasn’t time travel involved, but with? *shiver* At least Cristin Terrill doesn’t capitalize it. Lord knows I wasn’t going to in my review, whether or not. I find it hard to believe that someone who references Back to the Future isn’t aware of Doctor Who (and Star Trek), whether she’s a fan or not, whether she’s even ever seen it or not – you just can’t do that.

And actually, looking back on it, what I said a minute ago about the sheer evil of the man… Spoilers are inevitable in this bit….

It was too drastic a change. I mean, I understand and understood how it all came about; I understand and understood the impetus behind the evolution of the character’s alignment. But it was so abrupt, and so total… there was, as far as I noticed, no seed of the full-blown evil in the boy.

19301022I have to say the first transition between older Em and younger Marina was jarring, and the first scenes in that section were less than enthralling. But they were necessary for the story, and paid off in the end. I think it was supposed to be jarring. The author balanced Em’s literally world-shattering problems with the comparatively petty but still pretty damn earth-shaking on a personal level concerns about whether her friends were really her friends or if they were just using her as a stepping stone closer to her hot and rich friend James. Whether James thought about her as a buddy or might see her as something more, and whether – and how – she might take action to move things along. Whether her parents were going to completely ruin her life or not.

But, quibbles aside, it was good. The menace was absolutely chilling, without ever going too far; I kept expecting there to be rape or graphic detail of torture, but there was none of the former (unless it was between the lines) and little of the latter. It wasn’t gratuitous; it was terribly, terribly painful and unsettling without going for a gross-out factor. And it all made the end so very satisfying. Apparently the author planned a sequel, and it fell apart; I think it’s just as well. This is a story complete unto itself, and – in my opinion – shouldn’t be expanded on.

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