Another one of my June vacation reads, Marking Time has been taking up space on my eReader since October 2014. It was a free download from Amazon that fit several of my gotta-have-this criteria—historical fiction (Jack the Ripper!), time travel, young adult. By the time I finished my other vacation reads, I was looking for something a bit lighter to read and something that would have some familiar tropes as I settled back into my regular work routine.
Overall, I did enjoy Marking Time. Saira, the main character, fits in the strong female character world. She’s forced to face the world on her own as her mother routinely disappears. She is a talented artist and parkour; both talents serve her well throughout the book. White did an excellent job describing Saira’s ability to “leap tall buildings in a single bound” that I felt I was running, jumping and leaping right next to her.
Without spoiling the book for those that wish to read it, when the life that Saira’s mother is revealed, I was intrigued by it. A bit confused, but it was unique and not something I had encountered before. The story is tied with Jack the Ripper and Stevenson’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” added a bit of mystery and linked the story to a known world. I have this weird thing for gritty Victorian England.
For me, the book fell short in a couple of areas.
- There were no other strong characters that were Saira’s equals. She was on her own in almost every way. It’s not that Saira’s didn’t have friends; it’s that her friends didn’t have the strength of character or personality that she had.
- Everyone in the book was a knowledge hoarder. They were unwilling to share information, history and details with each other in any time stream. As a result, not only was Saira confused and lost most of the time so was I.
While I did finish Marking Time, I’m not planning to continue with the series. Am I happy I read Marking Time? Yes, I was absorbed in a time in history I adore and an unsolved mystery (Jack the Ripper) that intrigues me every time I encounter it. I was also introduced to a new way to think about the world that I had not encountered before. However, they are longer books and without a feeling of connection to more of the characters, I don’t feel a driving to desire to find out if Saira is able to overcome the obstacles thrown in her path.