Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Review: Caught in a Moment (The Alex Trueman Chronicles #1) by Martin Dukes Synopsis:
Caught in a Moment is the story of Alex Trueman, a teenager who daydreams himself unwittingly into the strange world of Intersticia. This is a world outside of ordinary time, that exists in the slender intervals between instants. From Alex's point of view the world around him freezes into immobility. At first it seems that he alone is free to wander the hushed streets with their motionless cars and people. But he is not alone. Alex soon discovers that he shares the world with others. There are a few dozen fellow daydreamers who share his fate. There is plump, bespectacled Will, pretty brunette Kelly, and the rebellious outcast Paulo. Presiding over them all is the enigmatic Ganymede, and irascible vagrant who distributes food to his dependents and sets them perverse tasks to perform in return.

Alex soon finds that he has rare skills in Intersticia. Most uniquely he can affect the motionless world of 'Statica' around them. He can open doors, help himself to food, and move objects. But this forbidden activity soon sets him on a collision course with Ganymede in which the very existence of Intersticia is put at risk.

***I received the paperback as a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review***

I admit that I have a thing for books that involve/focus on varied use of time, whether it’s stopping it or backtracking etc. So when I saw this book in a goodreads giveaway I just had to have it! Then goodreads decided to be a pain in the ass and give it to someone else, but all was not lost because after chatting to Martin Dukes I have my very own signed copy! (I have now forgiven goodreads).

It is everything I thought it would be; aka great. The writing is so fluent and engaging that from the get go you are engrossed in the characters stories. I think this is always an accomplishment for an author because when you use the first few chapters as an introduction to the characters personalities, and don’t dump the reader straight into the action, personally I’ve found that the book can lose my attention before it even begins. Thankfully this wasn’t the case with Caught in a Moment and the light humour was just as entertaining as the action further on.

There were of course times when what I thought was supposed to be jokes (flying seals/whales… you can’t blame me) ended up being vitally important to the story, and actually it all made sense as you found out more about Intersticia over the course of the novel. “Intersticia” is a world trapped between two instants, an “interstice”, and this is where our protagonist Alex has been deserted.

After figuring out his power to stop time he of course has a little fun with it. Humiliating the school bullies and confusing the teachers is I think what we’d all do if we could stop time ourselves, I know it’s only the tip of the iceberg of what I’d do. So Dukes captures the essence of teenagers perfectly and Alex turns out to be a highly relatable and simply great character with a vivid personality that leaps of the page.

The ending was a very abrupt finish for the characters and while this may have been the idea, a little epilogue wouldn’t have hurt… I did love its finish though, because Dukes stuck with his story and characters; he didn’t try to over dramatize it like some authors think they need to just because it’s the end.

As a standalone it was appropriate and while I wouldn’t say no to a sequel, it was satisfying so I’ll have to make do with reading any other books of his.

Wait, wait, wait.

Looking up his other books I found that Caught in a Moment is not indeed a stand-alone but the start of a trilogy! I can’t believe I read the whole book and didn’t realise once! Anyway, I can’t wait to read this ground-breaking sequel called “Worm Winds of Zanzibar” (even just the name has me intrigued). But back to Caught in a Moment, well, I think it’s safe to say I recommend it!
Favourite Quotes:
“Alex had returned home to find a most unwelcome development, which had arrived through the letterbox in the superficially innocent form of a brown envelope. It might as well have been a letter bomb for its explosive impact on Alex’s day. It contained his school report.”

“It was clear from looking at him that Will’s relationship with cake had been a passionate and enduring one.”

“Alex nodded. This did indeed make sense, providing that one was prepared to cast away all that three hundred years of scientific discovery had set in place.”

“He shook his head slowly. “I can’t believe I’m having this conversation.”
“I know, it’s weird, isn’t it? It’s like a dream but it isn’t. It’s all too real. For days when I first got here I kept on pinching myself to see if I could wake myself up.”

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