Sunday, January 15, 2012

This Time by Joan Szechtman

this time

Title: This Time; a Novel of Richard III

Author: Joan Szechtman

Publisher: Basset Books

Pages: 341 including author’s notes

Release Date: 2009


This Time starts moments before Richard III loses to Henry Tudor on Bosworth Field near Leicester, England on August 22, 1485, when a team of Ricardians substitute an armor clad corpse for the king and bring him into Portland, Oregon. Richard awakens August 21, 2004 to an alien world where even the English he speaks is different.


The story follows two parallel paths: the present where Richard must learn how to adjust to not only the technological advancements but also the more difficult cultural differences; and looking back at the past to solve some of the mysteries that have haunted and maligned his image for over 500 years.

(blurb from amazon)


My Thoughts:


The premise of this novel is promising-Richard III is transported into the present by a team of Ricardians bent on discovering the truth behind the disappearance of his nephews.  Acclimating to a new way of life whilst grieving for his deceased wife and son, he must question everything that he has been taught all the while trying to stay alive once he is no longer needed by the man who pulled him from the past.


The Plot:


I so wanted this novel to live up to its potential, sadly it did not. I must say that it wasn’t a horrid novel; in fact, I rather enjoyed the book- it just wasn’t everything that it could have been. The content seemed to be repetitive and often glossed over things that should have been included (i.e. Richards first experience on an airplane) while placing in things that had previously been dealt with and had no real significance to the story.


The Characters:

 This Time had several characters that popped in and out of the novel, some of which seemed to be space fillers (i.e. Fortas) that were used to fill in gaps in the plot.

As for the main characters, I felt that they were strong yet could have used some improvement. For instance the character of Richard III seemed a little too meek and a little too willing to relinquish power. While I do not subscribe to the theory that Richard III was a tyrant, he was still King of England who was accustomed to having total control and I believe that this mild/meek character with a willingness to conform was a bit there in left field. Not only did he adjust to the modern world he did so in an amazingly short amount of time which gave the novel a generic feel to it.

We then have three potential love interests for Richard which seems to muddy up the flow of the book. Once you think Richard gets settled with one person, the plot switches. If the love interest would have been established firmly from the beginning it would have aided in the flow of the plot.

The Time Travel Aspect:


This is where time travel novels often get tricky. If the method of time travel is too outlandish the novel, despite how well-crafted the plot is, fails. The method of time travel in this novel actually seemed plausible and while there was occasional science related jargon the book wasn’t overly wrought with it. 


Why Do I Feel This Novel Failed To Live Up To Its Potential?

A time travel novel with Ricardian sympathies has potential to be a grand novel. This Time was bogged down with repetitive actions, unneeded secondary plots, unneeded secondary characters, and triple love interest while much needed aspects were glossed over.

Overall Opinion:

 Overall, I did like book, it’s a plotline that is not often done which made me eager to read it. Some parts of the novel had me constantly turning the page and when the book ended I still had a desire to read the second part, it’s just not the type of desire that would make me place the second installment on top of my TBR list.

The thing that kind of irked me most about the novel was the questions that were asked to Richard. The sole purpose of bringing him into the present was to question him about the disappearance of his nephews once he provided that information they were ready to kill him off. I believe that the author could have made the questions more interesting, after all the sky was her limit.


Noteworthy Items:



This book does have a bit of battle-related violence as the novel opens with scenes from Bosworth; it also has someone being shot. There are also several mentions of scientific cadavers being used as a decoy body when they pulled Richard into this time.


I didn’t find the romance to be explicit in this novel, but there is mention of sexual encounters.


There were a lot of four letter words flying about in this novel, in my opinion they were over used. Some may feel that the language is inappropriate.

1 comment:

Laura Fabiani said...

Too bad this one didn't live up to your expectations because the premise, as you said, is great. I love the way you review books, by the way, and I have subscribed to them by email. Thanks!