Review for “The Map of Time” by Félix J. Palma
Let me begin at the outset by saying that it is difficult to write about this book without giving anything away. The creativity of the storyline and the approach taken by Palma in describing the story is one that I have not seen in any book I can recall. However, to go into much detail about what exactly the author does is to risk setting a new reader up, causing him or her to anticipate the direction of the narrative. I do not wish to do that, so I will be necessarily general in this review.
“The Map of Time” is about time travel in the late nineteenth century. Palma has chosen to tell his tale using fictional characters which interact with historical figures. This particular approach makes for an entertaining read as it brings the reader into a much more plausible world; Palma has worked to ensure that the events he narrates might very well have been experienced by these real people. Divided into three parts, the book tells three stories, each told by the same all-seeing narrator. I must say that the occasional asides the narrator directs to the reader were less than enjoyable for me, interrupting the flow of the story as they do. Starting from a rather small story, the narrative seems to be narrow and slow at first, but broadens as the second part of the book approaches. As it continues, Palma’s brilliance in creativity is displayed, causing the reader to keep turning pages, eager to discover how everything is resolved. Once reached, that resolution may or may not be satisfactory, depending on the expectation of the one turning pages. I had hoped for more, but I cannot say that I was disappointed, either.
Based on Wanda’s practice of granting a 5 only to books that are “unputdownable,” I must give this one a rank of 4 out of 5. Let me quickly add, though, that this is a good thing, as you will want to put the book down at times so that you can think over what you’ve read in preparation for what is to come. You will not want to speed through this one…
I received this book free from Atria Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.