[REVIEW] All Our Yesterdays – Cristin Terrill

Cristin Terrill
All Our Yesterdays (Cassandra Chronicles, Book 1)
Bloomsbury (UK & AU: 1st August 2013); Disney Hyperion (US: 3rd September 2013)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

(SPOILER ALERT: It’s halfway into the review, so stop reading there if you don’t want to know.)

Fair warning: The lead character is named Marina Marchetti, which immediately reminds me of Melina Marchetta, an Australian author. Is Cristin Terrill’s character named as pseudo-homage to the author, or a coincidence of sorts? The answer doesn’t matter; just caught my attention.

Also, weird situation that All Our Yesterdays is being released in the UK and Australia a full month before the US publication, especially odd considering the author is American. This is not a complaint, as I’m in Australia so yay for me.

Okay, time travel. It’s a mindbender, especially for a left-brained person like yours truly. I’ve a big problem with paradoxes. Time travel is not my forte, so I base all my knowledge and opinions on “Bender’s Big Score”, the Futurama multi-part. (Not my favourite Futurama multi-part, mind you – that honour goes to “The Beast with a Billion Backs”, but that’s a subject for another post.)

Like the TV episode, Cristin Terrill’s All Our Yesterdays runs along the theory that…SPOILER ALERT! Em is the “future” and Marina is the “past”, and it’s easier for me to say the “present” doesn’t exist. The story uses the concept of time travel creating a “copy” of the person. Whereas my stupid logic thinks there should only be one person, so that when Person Future travels back, Person Past should cease to live.

But you know what is awesome? SUBATOMIC PARTICLE COLLIDER! It even has a name: Cassandra. Yeah, not as amusing as Hadron and its easy ability to be mistyped and misread. Goes to show that sometimes real life is funnier than fiction. But the name is not important when it’s a SUBATOMIC PARTICLE COLLIDER! (It’s lower-case in the book; the all-caps is just me getting overexcited. Sorry, y’all.)

Anyway, the novel’s a thriller with a teen genius, secret government agencies, assassinations, absent parents, and romance. That last one just doesn’t work for me. (Does it ever?). It would be more powerful if Em had to kill the guy she loved, instead of the guy Marina loved. Yes, Em and Marina are the same person, but they love two different people. The more I think about it, the more Finn’s character doesn’t need to be in the story. Em and James are integral to the plot, but Finn? Nah.

But despite all my issues, All Our Yesterdays is rather enjoyable, and could very well spark a time travel trend in fiction. (Ann Brashares’s take on it is due out in 2014.) Though my favourite type of time travel is into the future (cryo-stasis et al), Cristin Terrill handles the paradox fairly well, and certainly interests me in subatomic particle colliders. And it’s a duology, so there’s another Cassandra Chronicle coming soon…

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