Marking Time (The Immortal Descendants #1) by April White | Giveaway

Title: Marking Time (The Immortal Descendants #1)
Author: April White
Publisher: Corazon Entertainment
Release Date: November 5, 2012
Pages: 445, Paperback

Summary from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old tagger Saira Elian can handle anything... a mother who mysteriously disappears, a stranger who stalks her around London, and even the noble English Grandmother who kicked Saira and her mother out of the family. But when an old graffiti tag in a tube station transports Saira to the 19th Century and she comes face-to-face with Jack the Ripper, she realizes she needs help after all.

Saira meets Archer, a charming student who helps her blend in as much as a tall, modern American teen can in Victorian England. He reveals the existence of the Immortals: Time, Nature, Fate, War and Death, and explains to Saira that it is possible to move between centuries – if you are a Descendant of Time.

Saira finds unexpected friendships at a boarding school for Immortal Descendants and a complicated love with a young man from the past. But time is running out for her mother, and Saira must embrace her new identity as she hides from Archer a devastating secret about his future that may cost him his life.

"The three of us blended with the clientele as well as a fifteen year-old ex-thief, a girl from the future masquerading as a young man, and a second-son of the Lord-turned-student could be."

Despite a somewhat shaky start, Marking Time was an exciting and intense read. April White created a really strong set of characters and delivers a compelling twist to your average paranormal storyline. Saira discovers a new and dangerous world that she is a part of, one that just might want her dead. There is danger, discovery, secrets, love, adventure, friendship - and much much more. I don't think the summary of this book is the greatest, so here is my abridged version of the plot line (if it helps): 
  • Saira is one of the immortal descendants, specifically a descendant of time.
  • She discovers that she can time travel when she accidentally winds up in 1888 while running from someone in the present.
  • Saira befriends Archer Deveraux who helps her safely return to the present but not before she spots her mother in the past and gets the unwanted attention of Jack the Ripper.
  • She keeps traveling back to 1888 to get answers and to find her mother who she believes has been taken by Jack the Ripper.
  • From the clues she's gathered, Saira knows she only has a short amount of time to find her mother before it's too late.
Marking Time is a very complex novel, largely due to the element of time travel. I've obviously left out some important details and connections in my abridged summary, such as why Saira is in danger and how Jack the Ripper fits into the story, things that are best understood by reading this book. Everything is explained in a finely crafted ending with no loose ends.

But the beginning of the book felt a bit disconnected, which is my only real complaint. Saira spends the first 10% of the book running from some threat or another. The book starts in LA but quickly hops over to London, then Saira jumps back in time to 1888 but soon comes back to the present. Basically A WHOLE LOT is going on in the first quarter of this book and it is difficult to see the connections or relevancy of some of the details until the story begins to settle. But once these connections started happening, it was easier to follow the flow of information and my attention never wavered after that point. I really enjoyed the uniqueness of this story, the characters, the humor, and the steady discovery of information once things got rolling. 

Time travel is a tricky subject and requires an extreme attention to detail seeing as the past has already happened. And April White didn't take the easy way out and largely avoid the messy details altogether. If anything, she complicated matters even more with Archer existing in both the past and present. When Saira first met Archer, he had loved her for over a hundred years, but Saira hadn't made those jumps back in time yet during which their relationship developed. And other details about Saira's present depend on the actions and decisions she hasn't yet made but at the same time have already happened. Honestly I am still amazed at how well April White handled the intricacies of time travel throughout the story. It never felt forced or lacking. It was evidently well thought out and I really enjoyed seeing the future evolve with each leap back in time.

There are a lot of fun elements to April White's writing that stood out to me. First, were the nicknames that Saira gave to others she interacted with - Wolf, Slick, Grandmonster, Ringo, the Hobbit, Silverback, Officer Beef - you get the idea. I found it very entertaining. Saira also has a great sense of humor which fills the pages with her observations and retorts. And April White definitely capitalized on a 21st century American girl being in 19th London. Here are a few of my favorites: 

"I caught a glimpse of a concerned look, but his expression shifted almost immediately to the familiar smirk. 'I have that effect on girls.' ' Oh, you mean nausea? Yeah, I can understand.'"

"I silently thanked Ringo for leaving me a way out. There's nothing like fumbling an exit to ruin the effect of storming away." 

"'As if anyone would marry without consent.' He actually scoffed. This was not an education I wanted to be giving Archer Deveraux. I already sounded like the biggest slut in the world for having kissed him without a ring. Made me want to bury myself back under the covers." 

"'Why are we going to a bawdy house anyway?' The guys looked at each other, clearly uncomfortable. Finally Ringo spoke. 'I've heard tell of a French girl there who wears underthings like yours. I was going to ask her to get some for you.' Oh my god. How very sweet that these two guys have given any thought to my comfort, and yet how totally disgusting that they might have bought some off a French hooker. I suppressed a shudder."

I ended up really enjoying this book. It took a little time to get into but the rest of the story easily any frustration felt in the beginning. The story was original, the time travel was extremely well done, and the characters were pretty awesome. To top it all off - there were numerous giggle-worthy moments. I definitely recommend this book to others (I am surprised it is not so well known) and I'm looking forward to the squeal!
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  1. Oooo, this one sounds so good! Seriously! I love me some books about Jack the Ripper! I even went on the tour in London, which was awesome! Looking forward to reading this one at some point.

    1. then I bet you will like how this story ties into his!

  2. This sounds really intriguing! Time travel, Jack the Ripper, Victorian London, and what sounds like some really snappy dialog... Excuse me while I head over to Goodreads to add this to my TBR list.

    1. :) the book definitely had a lot of good things going for it. Again, it might feel a bit confusing at the beginning of the book during all the introductions but it definitely keeps getting better after that!

  3. This sounds like something my girls would love to read.

  4. wow that sounds good. I want read this one whether I win or not.

  5. Love the idea of this book, Jack the Ripper has always been an interesting subject, i love when history meets fiction :D

  6. I love time travel stories to begin with and Jack the Ripper has fascinated me for some reason ;-) - go figure - but I LOVE this story already - thank you so much for the opportunity to win!

  7. Time travel is always an interesting topic to read and discuss. Jack the Ripper has held our attention forever and I wonder what will happen. Thanks

  8. I love the idea of the book! I really want to read this one!

  9. Hey, I found yall on Goodreads last night, please be sure to go to my site and enter your giveaway and also list your blog in the "reviewers" section!


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