Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Review::Six Strings by Jen Sanya Williamson

Six StringsSix Strings by Jen Sanya Williamson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Six Strings by Jen Sanya Williamson

I've read plenty of books and recently I seem to be seeing a lot of time travel novels. So when someone in Goodreads suggested that this book was well written with believable characters and some jaw dropping twists; I had to give it a try.I first read the sample and of course ended up buying the e-book and finished reading it in one sitting. This novel was so awesome it kept me in the story right to the end.

Riley Witt is a time traveler but she doesn't know it yet. Her Grandmother,Mary, also is and it's her duty to pass this information to Riley to prepare her for the whole journey. The problem is that Mary has Alzheimer's and her memory loss, mood swings, and generally poor behavior are masking the truth. After experiencing severe episodes Mary has been moved into Riley's family home but her continued episodes are wearing on everyone and there is talk of institutionalizing her. The first part of the book deals with Riley's relationship with Mary and her attempts to ensure that Mary doesn't get put in a nursing home while Riley begins to suffer in her studies at school and her patience begins to run thin. Riley has her long time friend Nathan who has been somewhat helpful and in some ways without Nate she'd be in worse shape.

Riley loves music and she would like to study music in college. This means the reference to Invisible Man is likely to the Ralph Ellison book not the HG Wells. Riley's mother doesn't support her interest in music and she is constantly reminding Riley that she needs to go to college for practical skills for a good foundation in her future life. But what is really happening is that her mother has some secrets[unrelated to her grandmother's time travel secret] that have biased her against her daughter's pursuit of musical talent.

So now there are two secrets and just as a potential spoiler I'll mention that the Time Travel is a genetic thing that skips a generation and has been going on for quite some time. This means that Riley's mother does not have the gene and has a different secret:Riley has the gene. But the time travel aspect all sounds so fantastic that it makes her mothers secret, which is equally incredible in its own way, seem mild in comparison. Time is running out for Riley, even though she doesn't yet have a clue and even though eventually it might seem that time will appear to be at her beck-and-call.

Music, family, and love-at-first-sight are key elements in this story beyond the secrets. The secrets and the pain they cause help define the characters in the story, but the real heart of the story deals with music and how it influences Riley and eventually how that is tied to the time travel and how it takes her to a place that begins to answer some questions she has about the mysteries and brings her to a face to face encounter with an understanding of what love-at-first-sight looks like.

In its own way this novel is the strangest of time travel novels when it comes to history in that it's one of those that doesn't rely a lot on real history from what I could tell. A majority of the historical background seems to only need to be internally consistent within itself and even so there are a couple of paradoxes within it that show up: the first one being that since each traveler has to find the right note to musically open the time portal and future Riley has shown past Mary her's while in the past; then present Mary shows the note to present Riley so that Riley doesn't need to experiment to find the proper note.

So though this is a time travel novel and has a unique time traveling device the time travel part is about as important as the history, and this doesn't seem to be a historical novel. What it is is a well written character study of a young Riley Witt who is slowly discovering herself while at the same time uncovering the truths about her family. Riley Witt suffers from what I see as a common affliction of many youths and that's an inability to communicate with the people who could most easily answer her questions and though she often appears to be making subtle explorations in that direction it's difficult to say if she is breaking the ice or driving a wedge further between herself and the people most important to her. But Riley is still a teen and she still has to learn to assert herself, which is largely what this novel seem to be about.

Time travel may be her only way to get her answers before Mary declines to a place she will no longer be helpful; not to mention that it's not all that clear if time traveling is a choice or a given obligation to her life.

This is a great read for fans of dramatic romance and very light soft science fiction and time travel.

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment

A message has landed on your post.