The River of No Return
By: Bee Ridgway
Format/Source: Paperback courtesy of the publishers via giveaway contest held by Bookshelf Reviews
Two hundred years after he was about to die on a Napoleonic battlefield, Lord Nicholas Falcott wakes up in twenty-first-century London. The Guild, a secretive fraternity of time travelers, informs him that there is no return. But Nick yearns for the beautiful Julia Percy, who remains in 1815. As fate and the fraying fabric of time draw Nick and Julia together once again, the lovers must match wits and gamble their hearts against the rules of time itself.
This book has been on my want-to-read/I-need-to-read-this list for ages, lol. It has all the elements that I love in a novel: time travel, adventure, mystery, sci-fi/fantasy/big stakes, romance. Plus, look at that cover! How gorgeous is that? 😀 After having it on my TBR queue for over a year and telling myself that I will get to it, I finally picked up the book recently (figured it was a good time as I had no clinical due to the Easter weekend) 🙂
May contain some minor spoilers as I cannot contain myself 😛
Guys, why didn’t I read this book sooner? Why did it languish for a bit in my TBR queue? It’s amazing 😀
I don’t even know where to begin with this book, I love how there’s so much more to the story than what the book blurb says, haha. None of the characters are what they seem, narratives are obviously biased, don’t trust anyone. The book is such a mash-up of genres–adventure, science fiction, romance, mystery, espionage thriller–as the story unfolds and true mystery behind the Guild’s goals are revealed. I love how the structure of the Guild makes total sense, rooted in a very human way of organisation and what drives them. Even their understanding–and lack thereof–of how the River of Time works is very interesting, time travel rooted in human emotion. There’s a rationale for everything, which makes the overall story and the world in which these characters operate in even more intriguing.
Nicholas Falcott–Nick–is such a fanastic character. The reader obviously follows him a bit more as he’s the one who ends up time travelling to our time and then back. He’s a curious character because he embodies his status even in the twenty-first century (love that line where he claims that he’s not lazy and that he works very hard at having a good time), how submerged he is in twenty-first century pop culture and social references and yet how easy it was for him to slip back to his nineteenth century persona; the fun begins when the two starts overlapping (obviously). I just really had fun with Nick’s attitude coming back, mixing up his references at times. But I also love how there’s so much more than meets the eye with him, how is almost carefree attitude is hiding some deeper insecurities that he’s carried growing up, not to mention how the Napoleonic Wars has affected him. I especially love that chapter where he wanders around in modern-day London, seeing the changes through the eyes of someone from the past.
Julia, the other protagonist, was also a fantastic character. She’s very smart, a little feisty and would totally fit in our day and age. Her situation with her cousin Eamon early in the story was so stressful to read, omg. It was interesting to read through her eyes the situation she found herself in; while Nick has these people around him trickling information ever so slowly to him (whether the information is to be trusted is another story), Julia is working on almost nothing except a few snippets from her grandfather and has to work everything out on her own. I thought it was pretty clever and complex later on to have Julia and Nick thrown together, know what’s going on with the other, but not telling each other. It adds to the tension and keeps the couple apart without too much melodrama, especially as they are caught up in some larger issues about time and the battle between the two time travelling groups.
Speaking of Julia and Nick, their romance was quite romantic but also pretty hot, haha. I thought it was very sweet and epic how Nick remembered her through all those years, through the war and afterwards in the future, as if he was reaching through time to get back to her…
Other characters were really interesting. Arkady cracks me up, as any crazy Russian character should. Mr. Mibb was very creepy–what is up with those guys? Nick’s family was interesting, it was nice to ground Nick with a family even as they are quite as eclectic as can be (Bella in particular seems like a handful 😛 ), while I wish we had more time with Lord Dar as he seemed pretty eccentric too. Other characters ranged from elusive to intriguing, adding to the overall suspense of who can be
Overall, I had a lot of fun reading The River of No Return; it’s time travel as it should be 😛 My only wee little issue with this book is that not everything was resolved at the end, haha (thank goodness there is going to be a sequel–need to know what happens with the overarching issues!). Definitely one of my favourite reads this year 🙂 On a related note, my review for the prequel The Time Tutor will be up shortly 😉