Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St Mary’s #1)

29661618Author: Jodi Taylor
Category: Adventure, Time Travel
Pages: 480
Publication Date: June 24th, 2013

This was a fun little adventure!

The best thing about this book, what kind of makes it, is that it doesn’t take itself very seriously. There are some sad moments but the story doesn’t try to get very deep or even scientific. It’s just “Hey we have a time machine. We use it to better our understanding of historic events. Be careful not to change anything or slabs of rock might fall on your head. We say that sarcastically, but it’s actually true.”

A pitfall of many time travel stories is that it is the nature of the beast to be prone to plot holes. Timelines get crossed, something is altered in the past that may change something in the future or present time but this goes unaddressed in the story. Just One Damned Thing After Another manages to avoid these things by not being overly serious about it.

The only real plot hole in this particular story that really could have arisen is where the time machines came from. Maxwell is told that the Boss (the man in charge of St Mary’s) brought the time machine back with him from the future and pretended to have invented it thus founding St Mary’s. So, Maxwell asks, who actually invented the time machine? She is told, basically and somewhat jokingly, not to think about it too hard.

A book that was more serious in nature would not have been able to get away with this. But this book’s is just cheeky enough to be able to manage it without it’s readers going up in arms.

The question of what happens if a historian that goes back to witness an event accidentally changes something is also kept fairly simple: they can’t. Literally, History (with a capital H) has a tendency to get rid of historians (typically in a gruesome manner) that are on the verge of altering time.

Simple enough to remember, and it makes sense. Again, a more serious book would have to go into what exactly History-with-a-capital-H is. This book takes advantage of it’s lightness in a manner other than just making jokes and trying to get a laugh out of the audience.

In a way, it was brave of the author to merely graze the surface of the pitfalls of time travel in her books because it would not have been a stretch for many readers that have a thing for time travel stories to not like her book because of how little effort is put into explaining the actual mechanics of this world’s time travel. But she manages to make just the right balance of explaining things in a satisfactory way and then moving the story along that it just works.

It was also an interesting choice in this story that the main plot points revolve around the Cretaceous Period.

Yup. Dinosaurs. In a story about history.

Not exactly what you expect, right? Talk about time travel and the mind easily goes from pyramids to aliens and everything in between. But dinosaurs? It actually works out fantastically, though.

So yes. This is a story about a British woman that goes to work at a university as a time traveler whose job it is to revisit and witness history in action that ends up running away from a hungry T-Rex.

And it is totally badass.

Dani’s 2¢

I loved every second of this book.

I am a history nerd so that was what initially appealed to me about this book but am always a little leery of books that seem to market their sense of humor. They tend to be really funny at first but have difficulty finding the right balance between humor and plot. Just One Damned Thing After Another was just plain fun and goofy (I’m taking the How Many Times Can I Say “Fun” In A Single Review Challenge) .

Fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun.

……did I win?

Rating:

9-loved it!

Greg’s Thoughts

This book was a fun twist on time travel. I didn’t  have high hopes when the book started but it quickly picked up. The adventure and allure of history was fun. The only negative I could give is the characters were kind of bland for me. Except for a bad guy here or there, all the supporting characters did not have anything that stood out for me. They all kind of ran together and I lost interest in most of them interesting. Otherwise’ history is aw3some and this book highlights the adventure and danger very well.

Rating:

7-liked it

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