1st half of a five star time traveler story by A.L. Lester

Lost in Time ebook and audiobook

I received an advance review copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

Lost in Time was the first book I have ever read by A.L. Lester and I won’t lie, it is my favorite along with Shadows on the Border. Since then I’ve read every book of the series and although I liked every volume, this one remains my all time favorite. I might be a bit biased towards the book and the characters, however I will honestly tell what I really liked and what I thought were problematic.

I reviewed the following books by A.L Lester before: Inheritance of Shadows and The Flowers of time. If you like time traveler and paranormal (magical) adventures, check out my other reviews and give a shot to the books.

About the book

Cover and blurb (Goodreads)

Blurb

Lew’s life is pleasantly boring until his friend Mira messes with magic she doesn’t understand. While searching for her, he is pulled back in time to 1919 by a catastrophic magical accident. As he tries to navigate a strange time and find his friend in the smoky music clubs of Soho, the last thing he needs is Detective Alec Carter suspecting him of murder. (…)

Cover

As every book cover in the series this one is vintage style too, reflecting perfectly the after-war atmosphere with the dark alleyways of London, giving away the vibe of danger lurking in the shadows. It’s catchy and when I first saw the cover it made me curious about the book itself. I truly like the post Great War story setting and this cover for me reflected perfectly the post war depression and the wide-eyed shock&awe Lew must have felt after falling back a hundred years in time.

The Book and the Audio: the characters come to life

There’s a lot of emotional parts ins the book, like Lew’s shock and terror in a London unknown to him. Or Alec’s emotions and painful memories, representing everyone who had fought in the Great War and survived the terrors of it. I liked every bit of the agony of the post-war London, and Lew’s confusion while trying to learn everything new around him and adapt to his new life as a police photographer.

Actually, there are a lot of characters in the book of various ages and gender, like Lew and Alec the two main characters, Mr. Kelly the elderly gentleman, his family and household members, Mira Lew’s foster sister and her love interest – Tally – from the band she belongs to. Not to mention the whole variety of minor characters, like the fellow policemen – Grant – Alec works with, and Lew’s landlady and neighbors.

I wasn’t really sure how Callum Hale would narrate the book giving a distinct voice to every character. Yet, after listening to the result of Callum’s performance all my expectations were surpassed.

My favorite scene is when Mr. Kelly is sucking on his empty pipe, the voices were so real, I could imagine Lew and the elderly man standing right beside me, and talking about past and future, time travel and magic while trying work out how to find Mira. It was mind blowing.
Beside that I have two favorite emotional scene which are: the interview at the Police Station where Alec and Grant interrogates Lew about the murder. Alec’s anger and all other unguarded emotions (remainders from the war) are almost palpable through the whole scene. The other one is from the end of the book when the recent events and terrors overwhelm Lew and he breaks down. In this scene Alec is the one to pick up the shards and help Lew rebuild himself.

What I really liked about the story

The time travel aspect is very well grabbed in this book. It’s not over-explained, time travel in this book is a by-product of a magical ritual, even the main characters don’t understand it completely. Lew is entirely lost after realizing he went through time, he cannot go back, not without finding Mira, and even if he finds her it is doubtful that there’s a way back.

The magic system was perfectly completed by a well-developed lingo. It was fun to see how Lew and the other magic users refused to call it magic, because for them it wasn’t magic or spells, they used this skill as an ordinary sense like seeing, hearing etc. Therefore they constantly refer performing magic as “pulling” or “working”, magic itself as “pull” and magic users as “workers.” This kind of specific lingo added an extra layer to the story making the characters more complex, further connecting them by this common language.
It was a huge plus to me, because I really love (cryptic) languages.

What bugged me a bit

Minor spoilers ahead so feel free to skip this section

At the beginning of the book, right after Lew has arrived in the past, he is run over by a motorcycle driven by a ww1 veteran, who happens to be a photographer, and also having a camera he used when he was newsman during the war.

And he… conveniently dies in the accident, and his body falls in the Thames to never be seen ever again. Of course Lew can step in his place and use the war as an excuse to not open up about himself.
I’ll be honest about this. I understand Lew, I totally do, he’s in a dire need of a legal identity, and in his place I would have done the same. However, I can’t help myself to think this storytelling solution is a bit cheap.
And that’s it, this was the only thing that bothered me, apart from this, the book was a perfect adventure.

Conclusion

I loved this story from the first letter to the very last. And l’ll recommend it to anyone who likes novels taking place in the after-war London, with a packed and eventful storytelling, not to mention the detailed and likeable characters with stunning character development. The romance is slow-burning you won’t have any scorching scenes, and at the end we only got a promise of something more between Alec and a Lew, a promise of a fresh start. Despite of this slow-burning structure, every moment of the novel is full of emotions, and I can promise you your heart will ache for the characters. If you want a lot of heartfelt moments, want to laugh and cry with the characters, do not miss this gem.

If you liked this review and some more, check out the 2nd part here.

Notes
  • Source of cover image: unsplash.com (Daniele Levis Pelusi)
  • Source of book cover: Goodreads
  • Source of other images: unsplash.com

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