Paradox Bound was a five-star read spoiled down to four stars by a few phoned in twists. That is not to say that the book is not full of twists that work, only that two of the biggest plot developments can be easily predicted in the. Very. First. Chapter. Oh well, it was still a super fun read and I would recommend reading it, which brings me to whether or not you should take that advice, because there are several caveats.
(Note to Dan 2.0. I’m sure you’ll find this book as Ridiculous™ as Clines last venture, The Fold, so maybe stay away? Maybe not. But definitely enter at your own risk. smooches)
Are you a Whovian? Not Dan, but you, the person reading this review. Unless you’re Dan then… where was I? Anyway, if you know what that term Whovian means and identify as such, then you should know that Cline borrows heavily, and I mean FUCKING HEAVILY, from the man in the blue phone box. There’s so many Doctor Who references in this novel that I had to look up if it was canon to the British TV series. Spoiler alert: it’s not. And while our “time” traveller Harry is nothing like any of the doctors thus far (Harry might have more in common with the forthcoming Dr. Who, but like my gal River says, “Spoilers”), some of this book feels awfully familiar. Some of it, mind you. Not all of it. Just some of it.
That is not to say that this is a case of a different Cline. Specifically one named Ernest. If you recall my review of Armada, you’ll know that I do not suffer pop culture references for the sake of nostalgia anymore, nor do I like it when authors repurpose fandoms for their own gain. If you’re going to allude to connected universes between your work and someone else’s intellectual property, you better bring something new to the fucking table. And Peter Clines does so in spades.
There’s a load of new stuff in here, from the explanation and rules behind the “time” travel (there’s a good reason for the quotation marks, but again, “Spoilers”), to the villains (even if they do have psychic papers), to the idea behind what Harry and so many others are searching for. The fictional locations come alive, as do the people populating them. The historical accuracy was spot on, too. But I think the most important part of this book is that it is simply a whole lot of fun.
I loved every character on the page and wanted to see them succeed. And I want to say more, but everything I can think of right now is a motherfucking spoiler, so we’ll just close it down for now.
In summation: Peter Cline does a fantastic job creating something new while paying tribute to those that came before him. You can expect loads of references to time-travel stories, new and old, but the book never feels like a carbon copy of any one of them. More like a love story to the genre. And that final chapter…Some motherfucker’s cuttin onions and I don’t appreciate it. Definitely recommended.
Final Judgment: SPOILERS!