Review: The Outcasts of Time by Ian Mortimer

Pegasus Books expected publication date: January 2, 2018

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wow – what a book! I know I will be mentally processing this one for a while – thank heavens for Kindle highlighting. I did a lot of highlighting during the course of reading this book, not because the concepts were difficult to understand or follow but because they were so meaningful. Ian Mortimer, as many know, is a wonderful historian, and he doesn’t disappoint with this work. The Outcasts of Time is indeed a work of fiction but is replete with very specific historical details; it runs through every element of the story.

Although there is a ‘time travel’ in this story, I wouldn’t classify it is science-fiction or fantasy. The only ‘magical’ element is the fact that the main character is, as he puts it, ‘skipping across time like a stone across water’; all other elements of the story are realistic. The time travel element allows the author to delve into a cultural examination of place through the passing of time that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. In a way, this reminds me of the format of Octavia Butler’s, Kindred; where time travel is similarly used to examine cultural changes over time.

Mortimer truly digs deep into society and how the workings of that change over time due to things like increased wealth, better living conditions, changes to transportation and the invention of more powerful and devastating weaponry. A phrase repeated throughout the work, ‘homo homini daemon’ – man is devil to man, speaks to the heart of some of the issues taken up in this work, that seems just as much a philosophical treatise as a work of fiction. A couple of my favorite lines being, “The man who has no knowledge of the past has no wisdom” and “…you must see what you mean to others to know your true worth.” The last paragraph practically made my heart explode as the narrative came to its resounding conclusion.

I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read this book – thank you to Pegasus Books for providing me with a copy. I would definitely recommend this book to history lovers of all kinds!

Review: The Beautiful Ones


Release Day: October 24, 2017

I received an early copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press so I ended up actually finishing it on the release day.  The Beautiful Ones surprised me with the smoothness of the text.  I had never read anything by this author, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, but I will definitely read other books of hers now.  There was a lot more romance in the story than I would typically seek out in a novel (I am far from a ‘romantic’) but it is subtle and romantic in a way that even I could relate to and enjoy.  While I was reading, I kept thinking of how much it reminded me of a more modern version of William Makepeace Thackeray’s, Vanity Fair, but with magic!

The atmosphere was thick with old world upper class traditions (most notably, gossip!) and excesses; easily transporting the reader to the streets and parties of Loisail (the city where the majority of the action takes place).  The main characters were quirky and full of vices; spewing forth with inner desires.  It is told from the perspective of multiple characters and moves along at a steady pace; although it may be considered a slow burn, taking a while for the action to truly heat up.  There is plenty of beauty and angst in this novel to keep one entertained and I would certainly recommend it to friends who enjoy novels of love, envy and magic.