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Sci-Fi Fantasy Review: Time Salvager by Wesley Chu

Time Salvager by Wesley Chu


Egalley thanks to Angry Robot

Synopsis from Goodreads
Publishers Weekly Starred Review
RT Book Reviews Top Pick

Convicted criminal James Griffin-Mars is no one’s hero. In his time, Earth is a toxic, abandoned world and humans have fled into the outer solar system to survive, eking out a fragile, doomed existence among the other planets and their moons. Those responsible for delaying humanity’s demise believe time travel holds the key, and they have identified James, troubled though he is, as one of a select and expendable few ideally suited for the most dangerous job in history.

James is a chronman, undertaking missions into Earth's past to recover resources and treasure without altering the timeline. The laws governing use of time travel are absolute; break any one of them and, one way or another, your life is over. Most chronmen never reach old age; the stress of each jump through time, compounded by the risk to themselves and to the future, means that many chronmen rapidly reach their breaking point, and James Griffin-Mars is nearing his.

On a final mission that is to secure his retirement, James meets Elise Kim, an intriguing scientist from a previous century, who is fated to die during the destruction of an oceanic rig. Against his training and his common sense, and in violation of the chronmen’s highest law, James brings Elise back to the future with him, saving her life, but turning them both into fugitives. Remaining free means losing themselves in the wild and poisonous wastes of Earth, somehow finding allies, and perhaps discovering what hope may yet remain for humanity's home world.
 



Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository

8/10

* * *
 Don't you just love when some of your most anticipated books of the year turn out to be worth the wait? I was very happy with Time Salvager, ladies and gents.

 You might have noticed that I've been on sci-fi binge for the last couple of weeks. I took a break from this genre a few months ago, and had a craving. Time Salvager fit the bill. 


 I would describe this book as time travel dystopia. Very little happens in space, mostly the action concentrates on Earth in a very bleak distant future. To my delight Wesley Chu's writing reminded me of Max Barry's Jennifer Government and Lexicon. There is a unique concept. It's super gritty, harsh and heavy on evil corporations conspiracies. Needless to say, I loved it!

 James Griffin-Mars is a cynical, highly depressed chronman, one of the oldest in his profession, and he loathes his job so very much he wonders if each new job will be his last as he turns his ship to the sun and just let it burn. What he does is salvages pieces of precious equipment and resources  from the past timestreams for interplanetary corporations, because in the last few centuries the civilisation went to hell and lost the majority of its technological advances.

 Then he lands a very lucrative job which will allow him to retire within a year and live like a king  on a luxurious planet. All he needs is to salvage precious equipment from a sinking research facility in the past within a very short time frame.

 However, it all goes wrong from the very beginning. He meets a brilliant scientist committed to saving the environment from the plague, which decimated the Earth of his time; his information about the project is incorrect, and what's even worse, he detects a presence of another chronman at the same facility.

 Too many questions and not enough time. Suspecting the worst sort of conspiracy, James goes rogue and saves the scientist, breaking the most important rule of his organisation: don't bring people back from the past.

Now both hide on polluted, abandoned Earth and try to find a way to cure it from the plague, while an army of chronmen and corporate security ruthlessly search for them all over the place.


Time Salvager is action-packed and intense, full of fresh, innovative ideas and has great, dramatic world-building. However, you might have noticed that I didn't give it higher rating. There were issues.

First of all, the romantic involvement between James and Elise was neither here nor there. I had an impression that the author felt it necessary to include one, but it did nothing for the plot development, and was very unconvincing.

Secondly, the ending let me down. I expected some sort of a wrap up, but everything ended very suddenly,  leaving me dissatisfied. I invested myself in this book, and I felt slightly cheated.

Otherwise, I can't recommend it highly enough. Fascinating characters, great background and non-stop action with juicy time travel tidbits. Read it!

* * *
 Замечательно ведь когда одна из наиболеео ожидаемых книг года эти ожидания оправдывает! Читала я Похитителя Времени* с большим удовольствием.

Вы вполне возможно заметили, что последние две недели я запоем читаю научную фантастику. Ну вот так получается у меня, что иногда копии книг на рецензию в одном жанре находят меня стопками. С НФ я  ушла на перерыв несколько месяцев назад, а вот сейчас привалило, и Похититель Времени у меня шёл на ура.

Я бы описала эту книгу как дистопию/антиутопию с путешествиями во времени, которых не так уж и много. Большая часть действия происходит на Земле далёкого будущего в мрачном пост-апокалиптичном ландшафте планеты, умирающей после биологической катастрофы. К моему восторгу перо Уэсли Чу напомнило мне стиль Макса Бэрри, которого я очень уважаю после его Правительства Дженнифер и Лексикона.  Книга сильно склоняется к жёсткому нон-стоп экшн на фоне злодейского заговора внепланетарных корпораций. Написано свежо и с оригинальными задумками в построении мира.

Джеймс Гриффин-Марс - циничный хронман, один из старейших в профессии, где больше пяти лет похитители времени обычно не выживают. Он работает уже 15 лет и страдает тяжелой депрессией, которая постоянно искушает его покончить жизнь самоубийством, направив свой корабль к солнцу. Хронманы работают на корпорации, вылавливая нужные ресурсы и утерянные технологии из временного потока, исчезнувшие из-за множества катастроф и войн.

Когда одна из корпораций предлагает ему работу, которая позволит ему уйти на пенсию в течение года и доживать свои дни по-царски на планете-курорте, Джеймс относится к сделке с подозрением. Ему нужно вытащить драгоценную технологию с тонущей лаборатории за несколько минут до катастрофы, и с самого начала работа идёт не так, как рассчитано.

Он встречает блестящую учёную, работающую над панацеей для чумы, что в его время погубила все океаны. Его информация о проекте оказывается ложной и он засекает следы ещё одного хронмана в лабаратории. Импульсивно он нарушает один из важнейших законов хронманов и забирает учёную, Элизу Ким, в своё время.

Оба прячутся на загрязнённой, варварской Земле, пытаясь найти панацею от чумы, пока армия хронманов и частная служба безопасности, нанявшей Джеймса корпорации ищет их между мирами и временными потоками.

Похититель Времени полон экшна, шокирующих моментов, жестокости и шикарного построения мира, однако у него есть свои недостатки, из-за чего оценку свою я занизила.

Во первых, романтическая линия - отношения между Джеймсом и Элизой - не рыба ни мясо. У меня было впечатление, что автор посчитал, что включить эту линию в сюжет было необходимо, однако она сама по себе его не продвинула и была неубедительной.

Во вторых, книга закончилась очень внезапно, как будто оборвалась. Я всё-таки люблю нормальный эпилог, завершение сюжетных линий, и отсутствие нормальной развязки меня очень разочаровало.

Несмотря на всё это, книга очень достойная и рекомендую её я без колебаний. Читайте!

*  - перевод вольный по смыслу книги, а не дословно.

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