Paradox Child by J Yates

Ratings: 3 Stars
Genre: Steampunk
File Size: 327 KB
ISBN-10: 1490523901
ISBN-13: 978-1490523903
Pages: 602

Paradox Child by J Yates (“re-edited version by the marvellous Mr Chris Keppie”) is the first of three books. I really can’t call it a series, more like installments of one book. Paradox Child ends abruptly and without conclusion, making me wonder just what happened to the storyline. There isn’t even a “to be continued.” I felt really dissatisfied until I picked up the second book which started just after the last incident in the first book. This second book has no backfill; it is just a continuation of the story. I had a feeling the work was too long for a YA book, and the author merely divided the long tale into three sections. With that in mind, the three-book story is filled with mystery, time travel, science, interesting characters, romance, friendships, spells, and even a recipe for Maharaja cake.

The printed version has large margins around the edges, which is curious. In book three, I found out why. The space is for the reader to add notes and make drawings.  Without this white space, the book would be a third of its size. If you like to puzzle out the plot with notes and drawings, purchase the printed version.

The story is about Lily and her family of time-travelers. The steam-operated time machine is in a hidden basement of the Pitt River Museum in Oxford (real place).  A secret passageway provides access to the time machine, which only works with magic. For four generations, the women in Lily’s family have traveled back in time, but at what expense? What are the repercussions?

The first book Paradox Child introduces Lily, her mom Rose, and grandmother Isis. All the women in this family are named after flowers. Each woman is magical and it is interesting to see them cast spells. Lily is taught to keep her knowledge of magic secret. Then she founds out that the family has a bigger secret—they are time travelers, and her mum is stuck in time. Lily must rescue her. In addition to time travel, children are disappearing, a strangely dressed man stalks Lily, and Lily is introduced to the Grandfather Paradox concept. Lots of strange happenings!

In book one, Lily’s character is the most developed, but lacks emotional depth. She just doesn’t seem to react like a thirteen-year-old. The mom’s character is also flat and appears to be there just to make countless cups of tea and give insights into time travel and magic.There also seems to be a lot of holes in the plot which never get explained (until book three).  Apart from that, and the countless spelling and grammatical errors, the story is entertaining and I recommend it for young adults who enjoy reading fantasy, and only if they plan to read all three of the books.