Saving Time by Jodi Taylor
Headline, pb, £7.91
Reviewed by Sarah Deeming
Picking up where Hard Time finishes. Team Weird has finished their training and are staying on as field agents; Luke is milking his recent injury for all the female attention he can get, Jane has a date, and Matthew still looks underfed. They are sent to meet an old friend, Harry Plimpton from Doing Time, but when they arrive, Plimpton’s house has blown up, and everyone inside at the time has died. Team Weird’s investigation into Plimpton’s death will take them to the heart of Hard Time’s Site X, and they learn they are more capable of than even they thought they were capable of.
I am a big fan of Taylor’s Time Police series. It is sharp, witty and fast-paced. Taylor’s love of history sings from every page with an undeniably feminist slant. I slipped back into this universe as if I’d never left. Saving Time ties together the first two books, so we understand where the series is heading. We further explore Luke’s relationship with his father, Jane’s grandfather makes an appearance, and for anyone who hasn’t read St Mary’s Chronicles, we learn more of Matthew’s history. Lot’s of answers were provided while new mysteries were presented to keep me reading.
However, some of the elements I had loved in the previous books were too overdone in Saving Time for my tastes. The one-liner bantering goes on a little too much, sometimes spanning multiple pages, and it breaks the flow of the story.
My other issue is how all solutions seem to lie with the time historians at St Mary’s. In all three stories, Team Weird visit St Mary’s, where there is a cornucopia of characters who must go on the next stage of the journey, overbalancing an already character-heavy book. The historians also have their own brand of chaos, and the chapters they’re in are very busy, which doesn’t work for me. I understand that the Time Police and St. Mary’s historians are entwined, as much as they may wish it was otherwise, but at some point, Matthew must decide where his loyalties lie and not run to his mother every time.
Although Hard Time didn’t tick all my reading boxes, the story arc and the characters progressed enough on this stage of their journey that I was happy when I finished. My hope is that going forward, the story will continue focusing on the Time Police or accept that St Mary’s is critical to the end-goal that they work together properly rather than two groups colliding, chasing the same thing.