Time Salvager

Time Salvager - Wesley Chu

[I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

There were quite a few good concepts in there. The psychological and physical side-effects of time travel, that basically placed a lot of people in ChronoCom not exactly on the right side of sanity. The use ChronoCom was put to, with the "salvages" quickly starting to look more like pillaging than anything else. The different phases humanity went through, from the exuberant utopian mindset of Nutris to the Technological Isolationists to the Big Brother-ish Publicae Age.
The novel also had room for character development: James and his growing sense of guilt, Elise's adaptation to her new world, Smitt's and Levin's choices... And bonus points for Grace Priestly, the snarky old lady, badass in her own ways, who made me smile from the start.

Unfortunately, although interesting at first -- it definitely grabbed me during the first 10-15% or so -- the story quickly lost its momentum, and ended up feeling more like a series of events, sometimes even fillers, than like an actual plot. A lot of what looked like good ideas veered a little too much towards clichés (the villainish Corporations, the "nice savages"...), and I was baffled, too, that ChronoCom in general didn't manage to track James more quickly: granted, he had tools and a stealthy ship, but I would've expected their means were more efficient than his, considering the help they had.

The characters in general didn't exactly develop much past a certain point, or made strange choices. (Levin, I'm looking at you -- OK, maybe not so strange, but terribly counter-productive, unless there's a plan in the making for book 2 here?) The dialogues were sometimes repetitive and annoying, and the writing style tended to tell a lot more than it showed. This made a lot of scenes and character interactions rather dry, action scenes included.

One thing that I didn't like and that deserves being mentioned: including small cliffhangers at the end of a chapter—and then starting the next chapter *after* the cliffhanger was resolved. Those events managed to look like small fillers *and* cop-outs at the same time, because the reader doesn't get to see how exactly the characters managed to solve the crisis. That was... definitely annoying.

Conclusion: a fairly interesting initial idea, but in the end, I found the execution unfortunately lacking.