Welcome to day twelve of the Crossing in Time (Between Two Evils #1) blog tour! Below you will find my book review for this (time travel, dystopian, romance) science fiction novel by author D.L. Orton. The content warnings below reveal minor spoilers, but otherwise I will not be revealing any spoilers in my review beyond what is told in the synopsis.
Many thanks go to The Write Reads for putting together this tour, and for inviting me to participate alongside a [great] number of talented bloggers. I was given a copy of the ebook in exchange for my honest review on this tour, but I opted to listen to the audiobook on Scribd, so I will be including my thoughts on the production among those on the story.
You can find information on the author and where to get a copy of the book at the bottom of this post.
Content Warning: spousal abuse, animal/pet abuse, abortion, miscarriage, attempted rape, objectification
When offered a one-way trip to the past, Isabel sacrifices everything for a chance to change the rapidly deteriorating present–and see her murdered lover one last time. When she arrives twenty years in the past, buck naked and mortally wounded, she has 24 hours to convince a stunned but enraptured nineteen-year-old to change their future. Definitely easier said than done, as success means losing him to a brainy, smart-mouthed bombshell (her younger self), and that’s a heart breaker, save the world or not.
This offbeat tale is about falling madly in love when one is too cynical for such things, letting go of pessimism when it’s the last life jacket on a sinking ship, and racing against the clock when one doesn’t have the proper footwear. It’s a coming-of-age story for old fogeys, a how-to-make-love guide for diehard celibates, and a laugh-out-loud tragedy with a hopeful twist.
This book is not only captivating in terms of its plot and cast of characters, but because of the way D.L. Orton writes. The story is long, but each scene, transition, and sequence of events is upheld by adequate descriptions and a feeling of importance; the author has managed to construct the story in such a way that nothing feels flat, and the attention of her reader will hold steady throughout each twist, turn, and time jump. As the synopsis implies, this is a science fiction story for lovers, or, at least, for readers who enjoy a story that primarily focuses on complicated love and imperfect romance. This love story just happens to coincide with death, impending doom, and global disaster.
The prologue effectively – and a bit surprisingly – highlights all of these elements. We learn quite a bit about the main character – Isabel – through the author’s descriptions of her actions and thoughts. D.L. Orton does not hold back on even the most gruesome details, providing exceptionally fleshed out moments, shocking encounters, conversations, and setting the bar for the rest of the book. When we return to the scene later on in the story, it’s easy to fully understand Isabel’s demeanor and reasons for wanting to protect herself, but also her insecurity and slight impulsivity when it comes to being alone; feelings and realizations that are not only experienced within a fictional world.
D.L. Orton opted to tell this story from multiple points of view, and mainly linear time progression that skips weeks and sometimes months (and years). Doing so adequately aided the plot in moving along at a satisfying speed, and these techniques, while requiring a little more attention than a single narrator or tighter (non-time-jump) timeline, didn’t result in prolonged confusion about where or on whom the story was focusing. Ultimately, the way D.L. Orton chose to tell the story is just as intriguing and spellbinding as the story itself.
As with many romantic stories and thrilling dystopian tales, there are moments of frustration and doubt that things are going to work out. But D.L. Orton balances these with satisfying plot payoffs and characters outside the protagonists who give the reader hope for a positive conclusion. Which is not to say the conclusion is neat and tidy – anticipation and slight dread are still present in the protagonists’ voices and thoughts, and the levels of uncertainty and anticipation felt in even the very last lines (and epilogue!) provide an excellent set up to the sequel.
“Where I am going, I can only take the sublime memory of lying in your arms. And I live by the thread of hope that by some quirk of space and time I will do so again. The journey is the reward.”
As far as the audiobook production goes, it gets a recommendation from me. The narrators Noah Michael Levine and Erin deWard give D.L. Orton’s dialogue and descriptions even more robust life, with not just their words but exclamations and audible reactions. It was easy to distinguish all of the characters from one another; it truly felt like a cast of narrators were telling the story. The only downside would be for listeners who like to listen to their audiobooks at a higher rate of speed; my ears found it difficult to understand a couple of the characters at just 1.5x speed. However, even at the standard rate, this audiobook comes in at around 10 hours – a great amount of time to spend with these characters, in this world, and with D.L. Orton’s words.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
D.L. Orton, the bestselling author of the Between Two Evils series, lives in the foothills of the Rockies where she and her husband are raising three boys, a golden retriever, two Siberian cats, and an extremely long-lived Triops. In her spare time, she’s building a time machine so that someone can go back and do the laundry.