Tuesday, 10 July 2018

An Ocean of Minutes

Author: Thea Lim
Genre: Dystopian
Type: Trade Paperback
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Touchstone Books (Simon & Schuster)
First Published: June 26, 2018

Book Description from GoodReadsAmerica is in the grip of a deadly flu. When Frank gets sick, his girlfriend Polly will do whatever it takes to save him. She agrees to a radical plan—time travel has been invented in the future to thwart the virus. If she signs up for a one-way-trip into the future to work as a bonded labourer, the company will pay for the life-saving treatment Frank needs. Polly promises to meet Frank again in Galveston, Texas, where she will arrive in twelve years.

But when Polly is re-routed an extra five years into the future, Frank is nowhere to be found. Alone in a changed and divided America, with no status and no money, Polly must navigate a new life and find a way to locate Frank, to discover if he is alive, and if their love has endured.

My Rating: 3/5 stars (a good read)

Disclaimer: This Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review. 

My Review: I was intrigued by the unique premise of An Ocean of Minutes and by the publisher's comparison with The Time Traveler's Wife and Station Eleven. A dystopian tale, little time travel and a love story that asks, "can true love stand the test of time?" Yes please!

Buuuuut, the similarities between the three books is weak.  Yes, there's a flu pandemic (Station Eleven) and yes there's time travel (Time Traveler's Wife) but that's where the connections end. I wanted to feel more energy, heartache, passion and the danger of a new world.

I found myself slowly becoming invested in the book with its descriptions of the post-apocalyptic world and needing to see how things would pan out for the couple. But I had issues with Polly and Frank.  I didn't feel the love between them. A little dysfunctional codependence, sure. But a sweeping romance to stand the test of time? Nope. I wanted to crawl inside their relationship to understand what they were giving up, but the reader is kept at arms' length with Polly, Frank and the secondary characters. As a main character, Polly is rather dull, emotionless and quickly goes from initially trying to find Frank in her new world, to half-hearted attempts to find him to apathy which was more than a little frustrating. 

While it wasn't all rainbows and unicorns for me this time out, there were parts I enjoyed and found this to be an easy read.  Lim has a fantastic premise and I applaud her for how she incorporated issues of immigration, migration and class structure into her story.  But with more romance, a stronger dystopian vibe and more connection to the characters I would have given this book a higher rating.

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