A Token of Time by Ethan Day ~ Book Review by Ulysses

A-token-in-timeTitle: A Token of Time

Author: Ethan Day

Publisher: MLR Press

Cover Artist:

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 04/23/2012

Length: Long Novel (~ 100K+)

Genre: Historical, M/M Romance, Paranormal

Blurb:

The murder of Zachary’s lover and a mysterious connection to the recently deceased legendary matinee idol, Marc Castle challenged everything Zachary knew to be true – to believe that the impossible, was possible.

On the run from his family, Zachary Hamilton was cursed with a gift he neither wanted nor asked for. The recent murder of his lover unleashed a chain of events revealing Zachary’s connection to the recently deceased legendary matinee idol, Marc Castle. Attempting to unravel the mystery behind the movie star, Zachary encountered an ancient relic shrouded in history and folklore, leading to a discovery so shocking it altered his very existence — challenging everything Zachary knew to be true — to believe that the impossible, was possible.

My View:

This is a fantastic book. Paranormal and time travel; a complicated plot that the author nevertheless manages to keep control of so you don’t get lost; characters who come alive on the page, so that you can fall in love with them and feel for them. It’s not just Zachary and Marc, but Leo and Jonathan and Madison and Dave. Flat characters can spoil the enjoyment of a novel; but these characters enrich it. Ever since I read “Time and Again,” I’ve been a sucker for time-travel books with gay characters.

Zachary Hamilton is only twenty, and yet the weight of the world has fallen on his shoulders. He bears a rare mystical gift—he can read objects, seeing their whole histories flash through his mind, as well as the feelings of the people who held them and used them in the past. This gift is also a curse, because it has opened up a rift in his family that threatens to destroy him.

With the sudden death of a 1950s film star, Zachary’s life takes a sharp turn—although for the better or the worse is not immediately clear. Grieving over recent tragedy, Zachary has to decide whether to risk everything in order to find safety and possible happiness in another time. As improbable as it all seems, Day handles the narrative with care and weaves even the most absurd aspects of the convoluted plot into a remarkably tight story. He makes the late 1950s feel alive and real, without sacrificing Zachary’s wide- eyed wonder. (Of course, I was four in 1959, so I actually have memories of this far-away exotic moment in America.) He avoids the all-too-easy anachronism pitfalls and manipulates the whole time-space thing with  impressive skill.

Combining the whole “psychometry” thread with time travelling seems at first a little much, but then again, in my second vampire novel I gave one of the main characters psychometric skills, so I’m not in a position to complain. Indeed, there are plenty of other plot-points that echo through popular fiction of the past, from Anne Rice’s Mayfair witches to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books.

Just because it’s me, I’ll note that the sex scenes in the book are really not necessary. They’re expected in the genre, and because Day writes well they don’t detract or distract; but the love stories in this book don’t really demand explicitness. Call me old-fashioned.

My only real quibble with the book was a single plot point, and the editing. There is a crucial moment in the story related to Zachary’s sister Rebecca; and while I could fill in the gaps easily enough, I felt that something had been cut, or simply never written, that left a breach in my understanding of how what happened, happened.

The editing is another issue. There is an inexcusable number of word misuse (elude rather than allude), misspellings, and simple bad grammar (lie vs. lay, he/him/I/me). I don’t care if popular usage has done away with these niceties of written English; Day needs an editor who can eliminate these warts on his prose. They really do detract from the reader’s enjoyment. His writing deserves this level of care.

All that said, I loved this book and am so glad to have had a chance to read it.

Links

A Token of Time on Goodreads
MLR Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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