Wow, how I liked this book! I felt like Dieter and Janos became my best friends. Blue princess and his grumpy soldier, I could so vividly imagine them. They were so real with all their emotions and characteristics. By the way, if you want to know their feelings and relationship better, don’t forget to read the Christmas special, it’s like mandatory for everyone who liked Time waits.
My favorite character was Janos. Him absolutely. It won’t be an understatement (100% conscious choice of word, if you manage to get to the end of the book, you’ll understand why. 😁) He was the reason I read the 2nd volume. I could not care less about Kit and the Detective’s (I couldn’t even remember his name) story and relationship troubles.
I liked Janos’ brute description and sometimes aggressive behavior. He’s at first hostile towards Dieter, slowly but surely they get to know each other and thus he starts to like Dieter (and they gradually fall in love), and so he becomes more and more protective of him. Janos is mesmerized by the new world he just arrived in and the exuberant, colorful personality of Dieter and regardless of the fact that he sometimes is shocked or freaked out of his mind by both, he manages to fit in this new and over-developed mind-blowing future. No wonder 2041 makes him fall from shock and awe.
As a Hungarian, I’ve done my far share of reading about Hungary in World War 2. And believe me when I say, rural Hungary (especially Szerencs and its surroundings from where Janos claims to originate) cannot be more different from actual England, not to mention 2041’s GB.
Speaking of Hungary and Hungarians, did you know how to pronounce his name: NAGY János? (Yes, Hungarian name order is reverse, family name first, then the given name.) The pronunciation of his name is something like Naaj Yaanosh, unfortunately in English there is nothing similar pronounced like the Hungarian consonant „gy”. And the nickname Dieter sticks to Janos, „Jan” was endearing, I liked it, but it feels a bit strange for Hungarians. Based on its spelling it would be pronounced as „Yaan” in Hungarian, we would pronounce a vowel between English „a” and „o”. Hungarians usually use the nickname Jani (Yaanee) for Janos which I personally dislike, so I vote for Jan. 😉
And the parts when Janos learns or tries to speak English were my absolute favorite! I think this as an important segment to show Janos’ isolation in the new world. He can’t express himself at first, his only connection to the unknown future is Dieter alone because he is the only one able to speak Hungarian. Later on Janos starts to interact with others without Dieter’s help, as if reconnecting himself to the new world.
The imitation of his fautive language usage was also interesting. He used broken English with wrong word order (it wasn’t Hungarian-like, but it’s OK, I wasn’t expecting linguistic errors Hungarians would make). He tended to omit articles which was a rather Russian-like error (no articles in Russian as far as I know, so they usually forget to use them in English). In Hungarian a bunch of articles exist, therefore we tend to put articles everywhere when speaking English or any other foreign language on Janos’ language level. The other language difficulties were all good, like omitting personal pronouns or misuse of verb tenses. We express who speaks by verb conjugation, and we have only a two and a half verb tenses (present, past and future which is rarely used), so we are far from being best friends with English verb tenses so to speak. But all this was necessary to make Janos an authentic MC. I could feel Janos’ frustration through his broken language when he searched for the appropriate worlds to make himself understood, when he tried to express his thoughts as accurately as possible. Understatement! (You’ll understand XD)
Sorry for the nitpicking, I have no malicious intention with it, this is what happens when a linguist reads and really likes a book. Can’t keep his/her findings to him/herself.
Linguistic items aside, the story and the relationship were slow burning, the action-packed parts mainly concentrate at the beginning (Janos’ arrival to the future, Dieter saving his life) and the last third (Dieter becoming a hero and scaring the living daylight out of Janos).
This is my first review not spoiling the fun (I mean story), I’m so proud of myself. 😅
I hope you would enjoy this book as much as I did, when you decide to read it. Yeah, it’s not a matter of “if” on the contrary it is a matter of WHEN. You definitely have to read this. 😊
Source of Cover art: Goodreads