Morning Mortals! Today’s review has been a bit of a long time coming. It’s a February release you may not have heard of Paris Adrift. The publisher for this book is actually Oxford based which is quite exciting as I like to support non-enormous publishers. Other books they’ve written that I reviewed have been a little hit and miss but this was an enjoyable read!
Determined to escape her old life, misfit and student geologist Hallie packs up her life in England and heads to Paris. She falls in with the eclectic expat community as a bartender at the notorious Millie’s, located next to the Moulin Rouge.
Here she meets Gabriela, a bartender who guides her through this strange nocturnal world, and begins to find a new family. But Millie’s is not all that it seems: a bird warns Hallie to get her feathers in order, a mysterious woman shows up claiming to be a chronometrist, and Gabriela is inexplicably unable to leave Paris.
Then Hallie discovers a time portal located in the keg room. Over the next nine months, irate customers will be the least of her concerns, as she navigates time-faring through the city’s turbulent past and future, falling in love, and coming to terms with her own precarious sense of self.
If you like a weird book then you are definitely in the right place. Paris Adrift has something of an unearthly quality about it. It’s hard to describe but it’s sort of like when a film is shot using an unusual camera angle and it’s not bad it’s just not what you’re used to seeing and it makes you a tad confused. That’s probably the best analogy I can find for Swift’s writing style. It takes a while to get into but once you work out what exactly is going on (for a given value) it’s an enjoyable book.
What I think slows this book down is that it seems to need you to know how clever it is. There’s a lot of things referring to themselves in third person and suchlike. If this merely billed itself as an enjoyable and at times a bit twisted time travel romp I would have been much more on board. But there’s a melancholia running through the story which, while it does enhance your characters somewhat, it does stall your enjoyment of the story somewhat.
That being said, the core storyline at the heart of this book is solid. If you like time travel stories with a heavy dose of ‘what the heck is going on with the universe?’ then this will definitely float that particular boat. I enjoyed the descriptions of the various iterations of Paris we visit and I loved the alternative futures Swift built into the book.
Perhaps part of my problem is that I’ve never seen Paris as the romantic, amazing city it’s always billed to be. In fact it’s one of my least favourite cities I’ve ever visited, so a lot of the ‘well I have to stay here because Paris is amazing’ was a little lost on me. The grit and grime of Paris is there, this isn’t a totally idealistic viewpoint, but there’s a certain degree of romanticism that isn’t my own personal opinion of Paris.
My experience of time travel in fiction is limited, but it seemed to me that this was an interesting take on the topic. It’s a story with humanity at the core, love, loss and the sense of belonging are the themes I could most easily pick out. As I said on Twitter this is the best book I’ve read from Rebellion Publishing so far and I’m excited to see what else they come out with in 2018.
My rating: 3/5 stars.
I received a digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
What say you? Had Paris Adrift crossed your radar? Let me know in the comments below!