Hello Humans! I feel like I need to start this review with a little defence of myself. People who’ve been with me since the beginning (two and a half years ago guys – we’re doing amazing) will remember that for about a year I was the worst when it came to reading books in order. I blame a trigger happy Netgalley request finger and an apparent inability to search Goodreads. Now, this past couple of months it may have seemed that I have slipped back into some bad habits but I assure you that is not the case. I simply keep reading books that could probably stand on their own but where you ought to read the other books before them! First, there was A Little Hatred and now, as you’ll have seen from the title of this review, Doing Time.
At some time in the future, the secret of time-travel became available to all. Chaos ensued as people sought to take advantage. Because there will always be nutters who want to change history…
And so the Time Police were formed. Internationally sanctioned thugs whose task it was to keep the timeline straight by any and all means possible. And they succeeded. The Time Wars are over. The Time Police won. But who will win the peace?
Doing Time follows three hapless new Time Police recruits – Jane, Luke and Matthew – as they try to navigate their first year on the beat. It’s all going to be fine. Obviously.
For those who don’t know, Jodi Taylor is the author of a series of books called The Chronicles of St Mary’s which I have not personally read but I have heard that they are very good. If this is the first you are hearing about them then my suggestion is that you go and (at the very least) find out what they are about (ideally read them) before picking this book up.
I had a handle on the idea that the books were time travel in an alternate Oxford College but beyond that, I didn’t know anything specific about characters or plots and I figured I’d probably be fine jumping into this spinoff series without that knowledge.
Much like A Little Hatred I still think this book is great, even if you haven’t read the other books. Also like A Little Hatred, I suspect you’d get more out of this book if you did have that additional context – maybe this would feel more like an expansion of the universe? Obviously, I don’t know that for sure – but that’s my best guess.
But with all that in mind – how did I find Doing Time?
I think this book is oodles of fun. It kind of reminds me of that very specific kind of YA science fiction book in which an unlikely band of miscreants work together against all odds to [insert task here]. While this story takes place in the Time Police as opposed to in space a lot of the tropes and character dynamics remain similar.
There is always a privileged boy of some kind in books like this and his character development is almost always something along the lines of ‘recognising the aforementioned privilege and realising that the peasants he’s been working with are alright really.’ Now I won’t spoil it for you by saying whether this book aligns with that plot or not, but Luke wasn’t the worst offender in this category that I’ve read recently. While he’s an arse, he kind of owns it and while he does have a tragic element to his backstory that isn’t used to forgive all his poor behaviour. It was cool.
Matthew and Jane, I almost feel could have had more time dedicated to them. Jane’s backstory was probably the one that most interested me and I’m not sure it was developed as much as I would have liked within the story. If a conscious choice was made to focus on Jane’s present as opposed to her past then I just hope we get more in later books (I’m guessing there will be more books in this series but Goodreads does not enlighten me).
The plot is, at least for the first half of this book, probably exactly how you would imagine it, it’s the training montage moment. but I didn’t find that predictability bothersome and I thought that the way the book got into the real meat of the plot after that was really good, you started to see how certain events were foreshadowed from the start. It was a real romp – even though these characters were in real danger of death quite often.
This book would make a fabulous holiday read, it’s just long enough and detailed enough for you to feel you’ve achieved something but it’s also fast-paced at the same time! As I say, I think you might appreciate this book more if you’ve read Jodi Taylor’s previous work but you will still enjoy this book if you go in as ‘blind’ as I did.
Right, off to buy all the Chronicles of St Mary’s books now!
My rating: 4/5 stars
I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Doing Time is available now!
What say you? Are you up for reading this? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!