It’s funny how sometimes an email that was originally in your junk mail folder can lead to a great book and that is exactly what happened at The Bookshelf in Newmarket last summer when I grabbed a copy of Time’s Tempest: The Chronicles of Xannia by MJ Moores after having received an invite from her for the event. The novel follows the story of Jutaya ‘Taya’ Fyce, a Contractor (in the novels a position referring to an adventurer for hire) who is thrust into the midst of a government conspiracy attempting to hide the causes of climate change on the planet. Assigned to lead a group of truth seekers across the desert who put their faith man whom they view as their prophet, Taya and the others uncover the truth of these rumors. In the course of these events, Taya also discovers the truth of her own origins. Despite never having been much of a hard sci-fi reader, I found myself being able to immerse in the world after only a few chapters, a feat not easily accomplished. The pacing and use of language were such that each chapter left me wanting to progress further in the story. More importantly, the world building was never forced. MJ managed to always include enough in a passage that either it was assumed you knew what was going on (a ploy I wish more sci-fi and fantasy writers would use now at days) or was explained in such a way that it was not an information overload. The characters themselves were also written in a rich and three dimensional manner, that left me wanting to know more about them. I recommend this book to both new adult and young adult readers who enjoy adventure, sci-fi and fantasy books. I think this one has a lot to offer in all three genres. It’s safe to say also that I’ve already picked up the next book in the series and I heard some rumors that a third is on the way after.
Ms. Moores generates a world that is engaging, imaginative and reflective of current issues of identity. The positive and negative aspects of the systems created for the support of individualism and team are clearly explored through the interactions of well developed characters exposed to fascinating environments and personal challenges. Hot and cold moments abound. The prose is carefully crafted and in keeping with the rules of grammar and spelling. Nice considering she is also an English teacher and would need to model this for students. :) The idea of time and chronicling, a form of storytelling, brings a richness to the work for a heightened sense of action in the plot line. I really enjoyed reading Time's Tempest. Thank you M.J. and Happy Birthday. :)
Time's Tempest takes place on a planet of Xannia which faces a dangerous environmental threat, a subject that is certain to resonate with any young adult today. A strong female protagonist, a dangerous quest, unexpected plot twists, and scientific mysteries - this book has a knack for holding your attention. Because the book is not set on Earth, M.J. Moores is free to introduce us to a world with alien species and technologies, and she really delivers. The book's characters are explorers of their own world - the deserts they traverse are terra incognita to them, so they discover the dangers that lie within them at the same time as the reader, immersing us in their story. On the other hand, the politics and intrigue surrounding the main characters are undeniably human: their challenges and struggles are very much like our own and it's easy to identify and sympathize with them.
Even though this book is the first part of a series, it is quite good as a standalone novel. This is not simply a set-up for the books that will follow. The book does a good job of introducing us to a new world, and every important character has an arc. While there are enough unanswered questions at the end to make me want to read the rest of the chronicles, the story does have a satisfying conclusion which is something I really appreciate as a reader.