Afternoon all! Today’s offering is one that I took a punt on and purchased after reading the blurb…Luckily I was rewarded with an enticing time-slip novel, the likes of which I haven’t encountered for quite some time.
Backward Glass by David Lomax follows the fates and fortunes of Kenny Maxwell, who, upon moving to a new house for the umpteenth time in his life, uncovers a mummified baby in the wall while renovating with his dad. If this wasn’t shocking enough, along with the baby is a handwritten note, addressing Kenny by name and asking for his help to change the past. Or maybe the future. Or possibly both. What follows is a complex and action packed adventure through history (and beyond!) in which Kenny falls through a mirror and meets, befriends and befuddles a bunch of other kids as they try to make sense of their ability to travel through time in the backward glass.
Oh, and there’s also a crazed time-travelling madman on the loose whose modus operandi involves whacking mirror kids on the head. Just to spice things up a little.
* you weren’t immediately put off by the thought of a mummified baby
* you adhere to the notion that the first rule of time-travel is to generally ignore and gloss over the rules of time-travel…lest your head explode from the temporal anomalies that may ensue
* you never leave the house without coins, clothing, and telecommunication devices from different periods in history…just in case
* you suspect that the crotchety old man (or lady) on your street who keeps shouting incomprehensible absurdities every time you walk by, may actually be yourself from the future, warning you of some terrible oncoming calamity
* like that other scion of time-travel, Martin McFly, Esq., you believe that unflattering comments about your wildly unfashionable clothing upon arriving at a different chronological juncture will likely be the least of your worries
As I mentioned, I haven’t had the chance to sit down with a good timeslip novel for quite a while, and this definitely is a GOOD timeslip novel. Lomax does begin the novel with a list of rules that govern mirror travel, and the complexity of these may seem immediately daunting. Don’t be put off though – I found that while the time travel elements are quite complicated (and this increases alarmingly as the plot unfolds), it was definitely possible (indeed, perhaps even preferable) not to focus too much on the details of the wheres and whyfors and simply let Lomax’s competent story-telling guide the way.
Also, although the blurb focuses quite heavily on the dead baby and the antics of Prince Harming (the crazed, skull-cracking madman), these aren’t the major focus of the tale, and there is plenty of humour and time-travel-related red herrings here to entice the willing reader. On that note, I feel the need to share with you one of my favourite passages, in which the main characters are discussing the spectre of Prince Harming:
“Aw, that’s just a story anyway,” said Jimmy. “Like the boogie man. Or Santa’s evil brother.”
We all turned to look at him.
“What, your mom never told you about Opposite Christmas, when Nerfidious Claus comes to take the presents away if you were bad?” We continued to stare. Jimmy’s head sank.
“Man, I had the worst childhood.” (p. 73)
Lomax will definitely be going on my “authors to watch” list – in the “eagerly awaiting his next book” sense, not the “creepy, hanging around outside his house” sense.
Until next time,