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ARC Review: Breaking Time by Sasha Alsberg

Updated: Jul 18, 2022


Release date: 14 June 2022

Rating: 3.5/5

Book Box(es): BookHooked Box

Synopsis: Fate brought them together. Time will tear them apart.


When a mysterious Scotsman appears out of nowhere in the middle of the road, Klara thinks the biggest problem is whether she hit him with her car. But, as impossible as it sounds, Callum has stepped out of another time, and it’s just the beginning of a deadly adventure. 

 

Klara will soon learn that she is the last Pillar of Time—an anchor point in the timeline of the world and a hiding place for a rogue goddess’s magic. Callum is fated to protect her at all costs. A dark force is hunting for the Pillars, to claim the power of the goddess—and Klara and Callum are the only two standing in the way. Thrown together by fate, the two have to learn to trust one another and work together…but they'll need to protect their hearts from one another if they're going to survive. 

 

Review

Time travel in books is tricky. It has to be very cleverly done in order to work well. If it’s too intricate, it can discourage a reader from enduring through the book; if it’s too simple, the story seems superficial and becomes a disappointment. And since time travel romance books are a dime a dozen nowadays, with the trope being its own category and all, readers will be hard pressed to find an entirely new concept in any time travel romance book published today.


That being said, I’m not sure I read the same synopsis (or the same book) that some other reviewers on Goodreads did. I don’t think it sounds anything like Outlander, save for the fact that it’s a time travel romance, the main character's name is similar to Claire, and it’s set in Scotland. In this narrative, it's the man who travels through time, not the woman. He is from 16th century Scotland, not 18th—well before the first Jacobite rebellion—during the reign of Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots. The country was still Catholic, Bonnie Prince Charlie still a distant dream. The characters in this story are more involved with time and the travel through it than those in the volumes of Outlander with which I’m familiar. That there are places in the world where it is easier to slip though time, also, is not particular to Outlander, either. Those places are from tales long told and serve as inspiration for many stories of travel through time and different realms, like Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and even A Darker Shade of Magic, to name just a couple. Also, the “thin places” in Breaking Time are not stones.


Anyhoo—on to the proper review of the book. Most notably, Breaking Time is a fantastically easy read. I made my way through it quickly enough to have it read in a couple of days with some interruptions. The book is published by Inkyard press, a Young Adult imprint of Harlequin, which is in turn an imprint of HarperCollins, so it’s not an indie. I’ve been reading a great many indie books lately, and I was interested to see what the big 5 traditional market has been putting out lately.


Klara, which is a version of the name Claire, our main character, starts the story in a separated state of grief over her mother’s recent death, and she maintains an inn with her father somewhere near Edinburgh, Scotland. I found her to be pretty relatable, for the most part, but she did need a bit of development for my taste. The story was fairly action-packed; however, a lot of stuff happened to Klara instead of Klara making stuff happen. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just my preference. She suffers from self-doubt quite a bit and struggles through that in the story while she simultaneously tries to manage being the last Pillar of Time on the run from a very powerful bad guy trying to break time itself.


Our hunky, pit-fighting love interest (I’ve read about another fighter this month—in This Vicious Grace—those are getting pretty popular), Callum somehow (no spoilers!) manages to fall through time to meet up with Klara’s car, and from there, he and Klara seem to keep making their way back to each other for a good portion of the book. He’s pretty open-minded for a 500-year-old time transplant. I always like to see how authors make their characters interact with the new (or old) things in their new times. We get some of that in this book, but not as much as I would have liked. There are also some inconsistencies in the dialect; for example, sometimes Callum uses “ken” and sometimes he uses “know.” I think that should be fixed by the time the book releases, so I’m not too annoyed. It’s an advance copy.


The plot, overall, is pretty good. It’s quite linear, but there are mythological aspects of the older deities of Scotland incorporated into it, and I always love reading about that kind of stuff. As previously mentioned, the plot does have quite a bit of action, lots of fighting and battles, and a few of visits to places where the characters have to garner information in some calmer scenes. It’s not boring, but it is a bit formulaic. Someone who has read a lot of time travel stories or romances may feel a bit bored (or not, one never knows). The ending is a cliffhanger, though. The jury’s out for me whether or not I’ll read the next one. Let’s hope the comments about this being a ripoff of Outlander go ignored and people pick up the book and read it for themselves to make that determination. I don't think it is at all.


My thanks to NetGalley for the ARC, for which I willingly give my own, honest opinion.


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