Sunday, January 12, 2014

All Our Yesterdays: Cristin Terrill

Riday's Random Review (Two days late) All Our Yesterdays: Cristin Terrill

Rating: 6.5/10. 3 Stars
Series: All Our Yesterdays #1
Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel
Publication Date: August 1, 2013
Recommended For:
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Page Count: 360
Format: Physcial Library Book

Goodreads Synopsis: "You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.


My Background: I read this book because everyone and their second cousin in the blogosphere had been raving about this in all of their Top 10s of 2013 posts. Basically, I read it because of all the hype. I'm not sure if I was expecting my new favorite book, or something spectaluarly fantabulous, but I think that because I was expecting something so wonderful, that I gave this book a 3 star rating. A  fun fact is that I never read books about time travel (not because I don't like them, I just don't know of many), but I read this book right after "Butterman (Time) Travel Inc" which is a self-published book that I am having a tour stop for on Valentines Day. As you can probably tell by the name, it is a time travel book, so I'm also crediting reading that to my dislike for "All Our Yesterdays" because reading two similar books in a genre I hardly ever read obviously caused me to have to compare them.

*I have the same spoiler for the first third of the book in almost every category, but if you're smart, you would have guessed it anyway on the first page of chapter two*

Plot 7/10: The plot was interesting, and the idea of this world sounded so cool, and the beginning of the book, I think, set me up such a better book. At the same time, I'm not saying that this is a bad book, far from it actually, I was just expecting...more.

The very idea of changing the past so many times, without changing the future, and ending up in the same place is something that is very discouraging. This part of the plot is one that I truly did enjoy. It kind of taps into the whole ominous cliche-ity about how fate is carved into stone, but then the Disney heroine changes it, proving everyone wrong. What I will reveal is that book one in the "All Our Yesterdays Series", we do not get to see the future result of the ending actions, so I cannot say (because I don't know) what or how or if fate did change.

This was a wonderful story and everything, but truth be told, the semi-plot twist revealed around page 130 was something I had guessed after reading the blurb. I had not even started the book and I had guessed that Em and Marina were the same people. 

Characters 6/10: The three, or shall I say six main characters were James, Finn, Marina, and then the Doctor, Finn, and Em. If you're wondering why the hec there are six, two of which have the same name, it's because "All Our Yesterdays" is a book which plot revolves around time travel (I bet you already knew that), so the characters, although the same people on principle, aren't. I probably have you extremely confused right now, believe me, when I read the book I was confused to. The thing is that although they may be the same people on the outside, these three characters have changed so much over the course of four years (the amount of time they traveled back and forth), they are basically different people. Marina four years later is now Em. James four years later is a viscous person known ominously as "The Doctor". Finn four years later, is still called Finn. Both versions of the same people are so different. The only thing Em wants when looking back at Marina is her safety so that Marina won't have to go through the same things as Em had to. James, the geeky, nerdy, boy-next-door guy Marina was in love with, is all but destroyed because of the Doctor's passion and pure lust for power. Terrill does an amazing job balancing between the two people, giving them their own faults and advantages, and truly executing character development, although not always for the better.

Romance 8.5/10: This book had one of the best, most confusing, unique romances I have read in such a long time. The deal (I'm obviously not thinking straight, because I never use that word) is that Marina was "in love with" James, but Em was in love with Finn. Marina thought Finn was an annoying little brat, and gave me the Leo Valdez vibe of telling bad jokes and trying to be funny. When Em kept referring to her old self, Marina, she kept making it sound like she was an entirely different person (she kind of was, and I'm sounding very confusing right now, but she was different), and the whole situation of having to kill James made us really understand how much Marina was in love with him, but Em thought he was horrible.  

One of the reading log quotes I used was this one where Em refers to Marina, "Marina comes out next. That is, I come out next. It's my first glimpse of my old self, and my heart constricts in pure longing for the girl I was. She's catty and shallow, but only because she hasn't learned to like herself." Page 128
Cover 10/10: Can we just take a long moment to appreciate the cover of "All Our Yesterdays"? This is one of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen in my entire life. The scorched image of a roman numeral clock in the cobblestone ground beneath a dark skyline takes my breath away. Even though this image isn't portraying a specific scene in the book, it does the entire story justice just by the ominous feeling it gives off. The whole point of how Em and Finn had to go back in time to save the future world (dark skyline) and how everything was about time (the clock) gives a general portrayal of the entire story in a nutshell and I believe it could not have looked better.

Title 9/10: It took me until the end of the book to figure out this book's title, yet I also realized why at the very beginning. Em has gone back in time with Finn 14 times (don't quote me on that), and each time they ended up with the same result, in jail, so the title signifies all of those trips, all of those yesterdays that have been lived through repeatedly. 

Feels 4/10: I really don't have much to say in this category because this book didn't really give me any feels. I cared about the characters, but not enough. It's like how my mom describes the difference between empathy and sympathy. Sympathy is when a person s

Writing Style 8/10: What would be expected is that the reader would favor one of the times, or one of the versions of characters better than the other, but Terrill makes it perfect. She doesn't let Marina or Em's point-of-views overpower or try to out do each others, which she could have done, and made the story very un-enjoyable.

Pacing 8/10: I surprisingly really like the pacing of this book, It goes back and forth between Em and Marina's POV of the story, which means going between four years (not clarified which ones).

Ending 5/10: So I don't know if I was half-asleep on New Years Eve when I finished this, or if I was just completely out of it, but the last 10 pages were the most confusing 10 pages I have pretty much ever read. *Mini Spoiler that isn't like a true spoiler* It was a ginormous WTH moment, where I felt like, "What?!? Is that the end?!? Who died?!?". This is the part concerning my not knowing the end of the book because I'm pretty sure someone died, although if you want me to confirm who that was, there will be a 50/50 chance that I will get it wrong, but there is a sequel, so obviously either the right, or the unimportant character (whoever it was) died.  

Quotes 8/10: There were a ton of good quotes in this book, most having to do with the science and principle of time travel. I sadly (you may shame me now, even before you know why), had to delete my reading log pictures on my iPod, so I cannot list all of the amazeball quotes there were in this book.  
"Time isn't quite that simple. For one thing, it isn't linear, the way we perceive it. And the content research suggests there's some unknown variable that eliminates threats to time, like the parades you're talking about." Page 224. This is an interesting quote that later explains how events in the past, like death, won't change in the future. It sounds really confusing because, believe me, it is. 
Continuation 50%: Reading the currently untitled sequel depends on whether I feel like it. My big WTH moment at the ending is one of the only things making me slightly want to read the sequel.
The other thing is wanting to see how fate changed, since the sequel says "More Marina, James and Finn! The future didn't turn out quite the way they'd planned."
All I can say is that I will maybe read it if it's at the library, or if someone gifts it to me, or just some other random occurrence in the bookish world is what will make me read the sequel. This is a really up-in-the-air matter of which I will update you on if that changes, although I highly doubt it will. 

Conclusion: Overall his book was pretty average and ordinary for me, nothing too special or unique to it besides the idea of the plot, but for some it could their next favorite book, but it just wasn't my personal cup of tea.

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