The premise of the newly release Middle Grade adventure The Time Fetch by debut author Amy Herrick is about a bunch of little creatures - time foragers - that are usually contained but are sometimes let out to forage extra time from around the world (I can't tell you what they use the extra time for, it's pretty cool though). But occasionally these foragers escape and get out of control and start to seriously steal time, totally messing with the fabric of space-time. When I read the blurb for this book, I just about fainted with happiness, that is such a NEAT PREMISE!!! Finally I know what's happened to all the extra time I thought I had! And messing with time? I ADORE time-twisty stories.
The Time Fetch was a pleasure to read in so many ways. I give it 5 stars, the rating I save only for books I know I'll want to read again. Just fair warning: this is a very eccentric book. If you love mind-bending and eccentric books (and eccentric characters) like A Wrinkle In Time, you will probably love this book. Mrs Whatsit, move over for Feenix and Edward and Aunt Kit and host of other oddballs in the Time Fetch.
This book takes some unexpected directions and has a lot of set-up that might be not-so-easy to get through, but take your time (ha! pun intended!) and enjoy the romp through Brooklyn and science and folklore and the fabric of space-time.
Any book that can playfully toss around words like discombobulated along with serious scientific terms makes me happy down to my toes.
So about those eccentric characters: Edward has a very odd philosophy of life (it was all dancing atoms; nothing was real) his Aunt Kit is crazy superstitious and babbles about the Great Web; Danton and his little brother have some off-the-wall morning rituals; and Feenix has an imagination that can deflect poison brain-wave darts with her invisible force-field shield. I just love eccentric characters that naturally repel each other but when circumstances bring them together, there is a synergy of nerdy fizzy chemistry.
The first part of this book will seem like a series of random odd events, but there's the promise that they will eventually fit together - not neatly, like puzzle pieces, but in a grand, messy, truly creative way. So I was willing to inch my way through the lengthy set up, and was truly most excellently rewarded.
I could also see all the lectures of Mr. Ross's and Aunt Kit's being a stumbling block for many. I found them deeply entertaining and I'm sure that reveals what a nerd I am at heart. I got the delightful suspicion early on, with Edward's horror that Mr Ross and his Aunt should ever meet because of their absolutely opposite world views, that it would be a simply wonderful thing if Extreme Science did meet Extreme Superstition. How they meet I can't spoil: is it an explosive clash? a melding of minds? a riff into new hybrid philosophies? Ha, read and find out.
And, oh, the time. The Time! We have grand scale messing with the fabric of space-time in this story, alongside very applicable everyday issues of how life seems so *rushed* these days, and more noticeably during the holiday season. Sprinkled with philosophical musings that pop up here and there, like:
What is time? Does it move? Or do we just move through it? Is it a made-up thing or does it really exist?
And from Aunt Kit:
Any scientist worth his suspenders knows that every time you untangle one ball of yarn, the universe sends you another.
And from Mr. Ross:
And food! What a wonderful area of study! I envy you. The great chain of matter and energy, each always transforming, one into the other. So fascinating. But how do you achieve this airiness in your bread?
Which reminds me, I simply must mention the food. This book will make you hungry. Ah, for some pfeffernusse! Or spanakopita! The rich sensory details come at you left and right in this book; it's hard to believe at times this all on paper (or on screen) and not real surroundings. And related to the food, the description of Aunt Kit's kitchen is To. Die. For. And I'm not even a gourmet, a gourmand, or a decorator.
I could heap scads of more quotes into this review, and rave on and on, but I will try to limit myself to four, no five favorite things:
1) I love books with an unlikely team of characters. I dearly hope there will be a sequel to get to enjoy Edward, Brigit, Danton and Feenix some more, with a side helping of Mr Ross and Aunt Kit.
2) The mythical creatures. They don't get a lot of spotlight in this story, but when they do show up, it's quite electrifying. I certainly count the panthers.
3) I love books that use the old fairytale device of tokens. The spider and the spider silk, the apple, the anchovy paste (who knew!) and the vanilla beans - some of them I could guess; others showed up in delightfully unexpected places.
4) the Holly and the Ivy
5) and sort of related to that, Brigit's song
I received a digital copy of The Time Fetch for my honest review. I was not paid or in any way compensated for raving about it. I truly, honestly, deeply enjoyed this book. I plan to buy myself a copy to always keep, but thank you to the publisher for giving me a sneak peak.
Do you feel like something out there might be stealing time? seriously!