Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Series Salute: The Chronos Files by Rysa Walker

In our Series Salutes we bid farewell to a great series with a write-up of the series as a whole. 

It's no secret that I love a good time travel novel. (Time travel posts here and here.) Rysa Walker's Chronos Files are vying for a spot on the top of my metaphorical "favorite time travel series ever" list.     

Kate Pierce-Keller has just learned that her grandparents are from the future, and that she has inherited the time-travel gene. When Kate's grandfather, Saul, sabotaged Chronos, the center for time-traveling historians, her grandmother was trapped in the past. Saul's changes to history threaten all of humanity and Kate's very existence. Kate has no choice but to begin training with her grandmother so that she can go back in time to set things right. 

****

The time travel shenanigans start off strong in Timebound. It's full of mind-boggling pasts that shouldn't be and futures that suddenly never were. Kate meets people who know her but that she's never met. Her friends no longer know her. The future of the world, her grandmother, and her very existence depend on a trip back in time. Timebound is the first in the series, so there is a lot of explanation and a lot of talking. I didn't mind; Kate's grandmother spins a pretty fascinating tale, and it's refreshing that the secrets are all out in the open.

Time's Edge is the book that really cemented my interest in this series. Kate races through time collecting the keys from the stranded Chronos members in hopes that this will slow down the Cyrist's plan for world domination. The only other person who can jump is former Cyrist, Kiernan. Kiernan's affection for the Kate from another timeline, Kate's growing affection for him, and his annoying habit of doing things on his own makes him a complicated ally. Meanwhile, Kate has a boyfriend who can't remember her, a grandmother who continues to ail, and a mother who has gotten a mysterious research grant in Italy; oh, and don't forget that her school has merged with a Cyrist school and her best friend might be a spy. Clearly Kate has a lot on her plate.

With my great affection for Time's Edge, I put Time's Divide at the top of my must-read immediately list. In Time's Divide Kate and the gang race to stop Saul from unleashing "The Culling." Once again Kate is surrounded by allies that's she's not certain she can trust. The clock is ticking and the stakes are only going to get higher. Time's Divide is extra fun because Kate travels to the past and to the future.

****

Rysa Walker exploits time travel to its full potential in this series. I love how time travel makes my head spin, and Rysa Walker does not mess around. There's a lot of movement back and forth, the morality of letting bad things happen is fully explored, and some serious mistakes have to be undone. I loved it all.

I also really enjoy how rooted in American history The Chronos Files are. In every book Kate travels to the American past. She goes to the World's Columbian Exposition, the Deep South in the 1930s; she meets with Houdini and suffragette Victoria Woodhull. Rysa Walker does an excellent job with the history and the historical figures. It also doesn't hurt that all the modern moments take place in Maryland, my current state of residence.


The intensity in these book is palpable. I had a hard time ripping myself away. It's a sophisticated story, and I am impressed with how well Rysa Walker handles the chronology. Also, I highly recommend the audio version. Kate Rudd is an excellent narrator. She does Kate so well and adeptly conveys Kate's strength and smarts. This series definitely deserves more love!

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