Nick of Time by Ted Bell
This is another bargain bin item. I get most of these books for a dollar or two a piece and because there’s so many I often skim them before buying them, you make sure I’m not buying a boring romance or mediocre mystery. But this one was called “In The Nick Of Time by Ted Bell.” And I when I skimmed it, I found it was about Time Travel., and like the typical sci-fi nerd I am I go “sweet!” I love Time Travel. So it; was quickly tossed into the “To buy” pile.
The book Nick of Time, starts out with the even of a twelve year boy named Nick saling the ship, “The stormy Pretral” through a series of rocks and reefs in a area called “the Seven Devils” And it immediately it the first twelve pages you get thins Treasure Island feel, which is awesome way to start out a book by the way. It is soon learned Nick arrives home late, so his mother gibes him no dinner. He lives on Greybeard Island in 1939, just before World War II. He lives with his mother father and sister, His father is a spy for possible Nazi airplanes and subs to report any activity to Churchill. But one day his father receives a letter saying that the king waits him to stop spying and in order to do some he will remove his family from their home. His father and mother leave to speak with the king about it, telling Nick to take care his little sister while their gone. Meanwhile on the island, Kate and Nick discover a chest that is antique yet looks bran new. The two children hide it, but soon find that there are pirates on the island looking for it and they hold Nick’s dog for ransomed. For help, Nick and Kate joins with a friend Gunner rot go to Hawke castle in order to get help. (With the chest) Lord Hawke reveals there is a time machine inside the chest with a letter saying his great grandfather needs help back in 1805
So overall, the character of Nick is a hug throwback to Jim Hawkens in Treasure Island. Yet set right before WW II with a long lost time machine created by Da Vinci that pirates are after is the comples yet very original plot for the book. It’s giving pirate novels a sci-fi twist. And the only way to describe it is this about the closest thing I’ve seen to the Disney movie Treasure Planet, where they attempted to do the same thing.
So now that I’m done explaining, what is good and what is bad?
The good is it’s a blend of piracy, time travel and then some WWII espionage. It is a genre blender and genre blenders are just so fun. So even if you don’t like one of those elements there still maybe something you enjoy. The book has a complex and elaborate narrative in which it’s unpredictable. And I will say here, because it’s unpredictable, it does have an element of suspense. It is a little draggy when explaining the time machine but it picks up with a good pacing and you’re never bored.
The bad? Well I have to say detail. When they travel back to 1805, there is lack of detail. There’s even a lack of detail in 1939. I don’t live in these times, so unless I’m a history wiz, I really don’t know what difference is between the two. There should have been astonishment of how things are different or a bit about Nick adjusting to 1805. Also Kate is capture on a U ship with Hawke’s assistant Hobbes and honestly I know very little about U-boats, so really wished they back round info there too. But I thought maybe it was because it’s aimed at kids, but then there’s a seen where a boy had his arm blown off. Well certainly if their going to throw gore in for the older reader they should gibe us more detail, for people who don’t know the terms of the older days. There were illustrations in the book of different events and characters and sadly helped me understand more of the environment than the author did. That and there is a plot hole. Such as Nick goes to Lord Hawke knowing any one who enters his castle is removed to be shot dead. He goes on a whim that he might help having no idea of who he is at all. That just doesn’t seem realistic to me. And then one last thing. The book is called “nick of time”. Cute for the title. But s the book goes on, the author uses that as s pun way too much. There’s too many scenes where Nick arrives to save some one and they go, “You just arrived in the nick of time.” Once I forgive. Twice is pushing it. Three no way. But they do it four times. It just makes the reader roll their eyes when they se it. .
So overall, it actually is a creative e story and a great genre blender. If you like pirates and time travel read it. If you’re like me, I like Disney’s Treasure Planet, this will be amazing. But he barely that even though a lot is in this, it delves into any real details or drama that is happening. It’s just fun with a lot of action, worth looking into.
3 1/4 smoothies out of four
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