This is either the greatest time-travel novel ever – or a load of monkeyshine. And I’m not sure which!
What if Quantum Leap was an Agatha Christie novel? That’s the basic plot – but, in this, Sam is only leaping between characters in the same story.
The whodunnit plot is brilliantly worked out – and has the requisite number of twists-and-turns. But the quasi-time-travel requires the reader to keep an extravagantly large cast of characters in their head and flip back and forth to make sure they’ve understood who, what, where, when, and why. In the end, I gave up trying to keep everything straight in my head and let the last half of the book carry me along.
It’s the sort of novel that invites comparisons to Donnie Darko – and will undoubtedly become a central social-object in some communities. It spawns fan-theories and fan-art in equal measure – creating a life outside the novel for both characters and readers. It is an intense, and highly structured read which might cause you to start arranging Post-It Notes on a wall to fully understand its genius.
Without giving too much away, it does ask some important questions about how we keep secrets and whether they consume us. Holding on to grief and rage and revenge is toxic. It comes to a satisfying conclusion – leaving no loose ends, but a cracked door open for a sequel.
In the end, I’m not sure if it is as clever as it thinks it is – or if I’m not as clever as I think I am. But, either way, it is a gripping – if overly ambitious – novel.