Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Book Review: Out of Time by Monique Martin

Title: Out of Time
Author: Monique Martin
Number of pages: 256 pages
Release date: 2 February 2010
Source: Review copy provided by author
Purchasing info: Goodreads, Amazon

For more information visit Monique Martin's offical website

Grade: 4.5 stars

Novellus superbus!
Goodreads appetizer: New York in the 1920's is the world of Prohibition, speakeasies and an underground run by the underworld. Vampires and mobsters vie for power in the seedy underbelly of Manhattan.

A mysterious accident sends Professor Simon Cross and his assistant, Elizabeth West back in time to face demons real and imagined.

Simon Cross has spent his life searching for vampires and now that he’s found one, it just might take from him the only woman he’s ever loved. Simon’s life has been a ritual of research into the occult and stoic solitude. He prefers it that way. Until he meets Elizabeth West.

A gambler’s daughter, Elizabeth knows a bluff when she sees one. Behind Simon’s icy glares and nearly impenetrable armor beats the heart of a man in desperate need of love.

Trials of murder, intrigue and danger push Simon and Elizabeth to the edge of sanity.

Out of Time is an award-winning tale of love and redemption.

My thoughts:  I have to confess I was sold at the very first sentence, when I learned this story would take place in New York in the 1920s. I mean that is such an incredibly exciting time with so many unexploited opportunities: the prohibition, the universe of gangsters, speakeasies, barmaids, gunfights just to name a few, who wouldn't be excited to read a story set then and there? So with so many ideas jumping in my head after only reading the introductory sentence of the blurb, I have to admit that my expectations of Out of Time were (very very) high: I wanted to read an exciting and original story. And Out of Time surpassed all my expectations!

Not only did I get my share of gangsters, speakeasies and barfights, Monique Martin's descriptive yet fluent writing transported me back in time to the New York of the '20s. The small streets and diners, the pawnshop and bars and all the other major or minor characters became more than mere settings and characters on paper, I felt as if I were strolling those scary yet exciting streets alongside Elizabeth and Simon. The old New York came to life while I was reading Out of Time, the setting became reality, which doesn't happen often, even with contemporary locations.

The other major high of this novel was the amazing characterization. In the characters of Simon and Elizabeth, Monique Martin gave us not simply two likable characters, but complex, layered characters, who have their own background which gives them depth and character. Even independently Simon and Elizabeth are both given history, little details that help the reader feel as if they know them personally, little quirks and faults that make them real everyday people and not larger than life unrealistic pawns of the story. But then, when Monique Martin combines their story and unfolds their attraction and feelings for each other, you just want to savour the experience of reading, to spend more time discovering their hidden thoughts and emotions. Their relationship and love are written wonderfully (I have to admit, even if Elizabeth and Simon's story came without the more than great setting, I would have been happy reading about them).

The only tiny criticism I have with the story is that I don't think introducing the paranormal element of vampires was necessary. I would have been more than happy with just the interesting time travel romance storyline, I felt it was exciting and intriguing enough.

Verdict: Out of Time could be categorized as a time travel novel, a historical/contemporary romance or a paranormal story. It is all of these and much more. Out of Time was a wonderful surprise. Not only is the story incredibly unique and original (the hero and heroine get thrown back to the New York of the '20s!) but Monique Martin's narrative is told wonderfully: the story flows freely and naturally while the reader gets enough details and descriptions to feel as if they were watching a movie unfold. An extraordinary read, one you should not miss out on!

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 8/10
Writing: 10/10
Cover: 7/10

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