Wow. Having finished this book, I'm honestly unsure how I feel. I'm unsure who I was rooting for, or what I wanted to happen, or what I expected to happen. This book never seemed to have a logical path and in that I was both surprised and not surprised by each event that happened in this book.
Firstly, a note of clarification. I've been dying to read this book ever since I read its blurb, but I feel like the blurb was a tad misleading--Val is not lost in the traditional sense of the word; she is only lost to Henry, and Henry's sanity is a little questionable.
With that in mind, this book is equally about Val, Gabe, and Henry (though Henry is multiple characters in himself), and the relationship between the three and the pairs that make them up. It's about them, about love and the ties that bind more than it is about time travel, and its about the different paths life can take and how these paths intermingle.
The three characters didn't really play on my emotions at all. I could relate to Val and Gabe a lot, especially the rollercoaster of emotions they went through--at multiple points I could sympathise so hard. All three of them seemed kind of lost in this world, and Val notices this at the beginning. She tries to fix it by leaving Henry, and while her decision makes sense, I'm not sure if she found what she was looking for in leaving him or at any point afterwards. I'd have liked a little more day-to-day information about them, as I didn't feel like I knew them very well. I did enjoy the little backstory we got of them in high school, meeting.
There's a really intriguing circle going on. Henry at 80 discovers time travel first and comes for 41, and with each decision a younger version of themselves make their memories seem to be overridden, but each decision has consequences of epic proportions. The plot of this book isn't quite linear--though are books with time travel ever?--but certain events drive it forward.
Ultimately, I think Henry acts both very selfishly and very selflessly, and shows that it's the quality of life that really matters. It also made me think about memory and how life occurs in the past, in the memory, and how easily events and people can be erased from the world's collective memory.
While I wasn't as enthralled as I thought I'd be based on the blurb, I do recommend this book. It was well put together and definitely went in ways that surprised and intrigued me. I'm still not sure how I feel about it, or if I feel very strongly at all, but it's well worth a read and I'm looking forward to anything other novels Ferguson might write. I want all my friends to read this so I can discuss and dissect this book, and I'll probably read it again as I think there were some nuances that I missed that pull this story even more tightly together. The chapter titles, in particular, were exquisite.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.