Kate, Trey, Kiernan, Prudence, and the entire cast of characters return for this third book in the young adult Chronos Files series. In this installment (which releases October 20, 2015), Kate knows the date of the Cyrist “culling” (a time when a lethal virus is unleashed on the world and all those non-believers who are unvaccinated will be wiped out) nears and she is running out of time to stop the religious cult started by her grandfather Saul. Now, a resistance group called the Fifth Column has recruited Kate and offers to work with her, but as an offshoot of the main group and still believers in the Cyrist “way”, Kate isn’t sure how much she can trust them. Kate continues to travel back and forth through time, from the past to the distant future, to collect the time traveling medallions (“keys”), foil Saul’s plan of mass destruction, and save her loved ones from the Cyrists’ wrath.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this series up until this point. This book left me rather confused and eventually detached from the storyline and characters, however. Kate is still spunky, smart, brave, and committed. That part remains unchanged. If you can keep up with all the back and forth time jumps made by Kate, not to mention all the other time travelers too, you have a clearer head than I though. I started to get disoriented when duplicate Kates, stable point stake outs, timeline shifts, and jumps of mere minutes started to pile up. When you add an enormous list of characters, many of whom also jump backwards and forwards and many who can’t for various reasons, it becomes downright mind boggling. The technicalities (who can use the key, who is protected by a Chronos field and who isn’t, stable points, which “version” of each person is this, etc.) snowball and do the story no favors. Plus, with some minor characters from previous books reappearing (and their various children and other connected individuals), not to mention all those who start on one side and end up on the other, it’s a mental marathon to keep the main “storyline” in tact. The problem is that eventually, when overload hits sooner or later, you start to disengage from the plot, and that’s never a good thing.
This book is longer than the others, and the pace suffers for it. Kate must jump through many, many (many) hoops to get this task accomplished and when Saul is finally thwarted (I won’t give away how), it feels like a whimper after several books’ worth of build up. The earlier books are so imaginative, so quickly paced. This book feels heavy-handed, dark, and even overly moralizing at some points. (Thinly veiled political references never seem to add much to a narrative.) The light, quick sparkle of the earlier books dissipates, and that’s disappointing. The result is slow, usually tedious plots twists that don’t add a lot to the overall storyline, and all of it is pretty bleak stuff, especially for younger readers. The epilogue/tie-in that loops back around to connect the books is a worthy touch though.
I will always be a big fan of this series, but I’d recommend the first two books far more than this one. Trilogies tend to wane over the course of the series, and perhaps that is inevitable. It is a monumental task to carry a cast of characters over several books, especially with a plot as twisting as this one. Even so, I felt that this installment was overly dark, overly complex, and overly preachy in a way that will appeal to few adults and fewer still YA readers.
The other books in the CHRONOS Files are reviewed here:
Timebound (book 1)
Time’s Echo (novella 1.5)
Time’s Edge (book 2)
Time’s Mirror (novella 2.5)
Amazon link For Time’s Divide is here.