Imagine if you will, living in a modern day society, but your life isn’t all that great. You’re branded a criminal, you hang with criminals, you’re considered a loser, and the one person you love more than anything else is in extremely poor health. Imagine wishing you could have super powers so that you could change the world and make the lives of both yourself and that special loved one an even better one. Imagine that you discovered that you did have a special talent after all. What would you do?
This is the basic premise for a time travel book series called The Infinity Engines written by Andrew Hastie, and the first book in this series is called “Anachronist.” Here we are introduced to Joshua Jones. He’s a late teen who has only known trouble. He’s beholden to another criminal named Lenin because he’s continually reminded about how Lenin saved his life from an accident that also took the life of his best friend. On top of that, he’s a total failure at school and his mother is suffering from MS. It’s not until he attempts to rob someone’s home that he suddenly finds himself in another time, but when he manages to backtrack and return home he sees that history has changed a bit. That’s when he’s introduced to an older gentleman named the Colonel, and that’s also when he learns he has the power to travel through time. He’s taken in and learns of a greater community of people similar to himself, but when an accident throws him back in time further than most people have traveled, he’s forced to face an inquiry where he suddenly starts to learn some of the truth about himself.
In the second book, “Maelstrom,” the action picks up quite literally where the first book ends (on a cliffhanger), and Joshua is forced to travel in time again to determine what went wrong in the present. Not only is someone special to him missing, but also the world has changed yet again, and he must jump a bit through time to find the allies he needs in order to attempt a restoration of history as he remembers it. Unfortunately that is easier said than done because with every big organization there are splinter groups and individuals with a slightly darker agenda, and they need to stop Joshua if their agenda is to be successful. To halt this fringe group Joshua needs to learn just one detail, and that is the true identity of his father.
Time Travel stories are as equally the rage as are zombie stories, but Hastie has built a universe that operates with clockwork (no pun intended) precision when it comes to time travel and magic (Yes, I said magic.) In order for these stories to come off there has to be a pre-determined set of limitations when it comes to time traveling, and to break those limitations could set off some really nasty consequences. Through having this Hastie prevents any type of deus ex machina from taking place in these stories. They are also presented, for the most part, in a rather palatable way to make them easy to understand. This is done through the use of Joshua Jones. While the story isn’t told from a first person POV, much of the action does center on Joshua. His story is very much from an omniscient viewpoint, but because he’s new to this crazy world of magic and time travel we get to learn about the continuum, the Order, and more pretty much at the same speed as Joshua. This allows for other characters to explain what is going whenever the reader reaches a certain point in the story and asks “Huh?” With the other characters we get the explanations we need, which allows us to then move on.
If there is a downside to this is that sometimes Hastie engages in what Star Trek fans refer to as technobabble, only this time the babble all have to do with time travel. There are chapters, especially in “Maelstrom” where he just runs off a bunch of scientific terms that don’t make much sense even after they’re explained somewhat. However that doesn’t deter from the fact that these books are just an incredible amount of fun! They do end on cliffhangers so if you find yourself fully engaged in “Anachronist” then you might as well purchase “Maelstrom.” There is a third book to this series, but it isn’t released until the end of August. Nonetheless, The Infinity Engines is an amazing series that tries to treat time travel somewhat seriously, and even tries to teach a little bit about our own world history. It’s fun, it’s somewhat educational, and it should be on the bookshelf of any one who enjoys a quick paced sci-fi/fantasy series that spans all of Earth’s history!!!
I give Infinity Engines 4 out of 5 tachyons!
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