Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Book Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill


All Our Yesterdays
NOTE: I received the eARC via Netgalley.

When I read an okay book, it's most certain that I won't remember anything about it a few days after finishing it.

When I read a good book, it's likely that I would remember the main parts of the plot and perhaps the name of the main characters for about a week after I'm done with it.

I finished All Our Yesterdays about a month ago. I still remember the characters' names. I still remember ALL major and minor plot points. So what does this mean exactly?

It means that Cristin Terrill is one talented writer who has an innovative vision, creative mind and a great set of skills to express it all on paper.

I wasn't all that sure I'd like All Our Yesterdays when I requested it. I was willing to give it a chance because it sounded different than most time travel novels out there. And to me, it was. There aren't many books with this theme that end up on my favorites list, but this one sure did. It was fast paced and had a lot of action that had me standing on my toes. It was charged with a deep meaning that had me thinking even as I was falling asleep. It was funny at times, but made me tearful as well. It was a roller-coaster complete with the rocking experience of the ride, the unexpected twists and turns that had me in a hold of anticipation, and the adrenaline that coursed through my veins from beginning to end.

All Our Yesterdays tells the story of Marina, Finn and James and their future versions Em, Finn and the Doctor. The story begins in a prison like facility, where Em and Finn are locked in adjacent cells. There they are tortured for information by the Doctor, who we aren't really introduced to. But we do know that he's mean and selfish and doesn't really care about anyone or anything. Even through all the hours of torture, horrible food and restless sleep, Em is adamant in her silence. And the feeling that the drain in the middle of her cell is very important. As it turns out, her intuition is right. Except, what she finds in there isn't even remotely good news.

As the story develops, I saw each of the six characters unraveling before my eyes. It's incredible how present and future versions are so different from each other. Whereas present are full of hopes and dreams, innocent and easy to understand, future are... tainted to say the least. Haunted. Hopeless. Sinking deep into a chasm of misery and helplessness.

Em is the future version of Marina. Em is so different from who she had once been, she doesn't even dare think of Marina as herself. Instead, Em always refers to Marina in third person. It's never 'me', it's 'her'. To tell you the truth, this made me very sad. Em had gone through hell and back numerous times just so she could save the innocence of Marina's heart. Because sometimes the truth doesn't set free. Especially if it's the truth you learn of the deepest darkest places in a loved one's soul. Then the truth makes you a prisoner, and Em didn't want Marina to end up in that prison cell over and over again.

Finn... he doesn't even have a separate name for his future version. That doesn't mean however that he isn't more mature. Present Finn is cocky and irritating. He also has a secret he doesn't want his friends Marina and James to know. Like the fact that he's poor, and his mother's sick. Or that he's in love with Marina. Future Finn is confident but not cocky, he's logical and throws himself in the face of danger to save the people he calls friends. And he's the pillar of support that Em leans on every time her mission fails.

Now James... he started out as such a loving, lively boy. I fail to understand how he transformed into that senseless monster the Doctor. I loved James, I loved his spirit and his hope to build a better future. I loved how realistic he was and how innocent. And how quick to understand that every choice comes with its consequences.

The end of this novel almost shattered me. And confused me too, but I was an emotional wreck by that time anyway. I loved and hated it at the same time, but I also knew that there was no other way for things to end.

The experience was simply unique.

My rating is 5/5 stars.