Monday, April 11, 2011

Review: Timeless

Title: Timeless
Author: Alexandra Monir
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Category: Young Adult
Page Count: 304 
Release Date: January 11, 2011
Series:  Timeless #1
Source: Library
Challenge: 2011 DAC 
Quick Rating: 3/5
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When tragedy strikes Michele Windsor’s family, she is forced to move from Los Angeles to New York City to live with the wealthy, aristocratic grandparents she has never met. In their historic Fifth Avenue mansion, filled with a century’s worth of family secrets, Michele discovers the biggest family secret of all - an ancestor’s diary that, amazingly, has the power to send her back in time to 1910, the year it was written. There, at a glamorous high-society masquerade ball, Michele meets the young man with striking blue eyes who has haunted her dreams all her life. And she finds herself falling for him, and into an otherworldly romance.

Soon Michele is leading a double life, struggling to balance her contemporary high school world with her escapes into the past. But when she stumbles upon a terrible discovery, she is propelled on a race through history to save the boy she loves - and to complete a quest that will determine their fate.
Where do I begin with Timeless? It was like a mountainous hike you get talked into going on, but really didn’t want to go on, but were kind of excited about it. At first, I was pumped and ready to go. A little ways in, I started rolling my eyes and wondering exactly why I was doing this. Halfway through, I was begging for mercy. But, you know, by the very end, with the goal in site, it was actually a pretty satisfying accomplishment.

What I’m trying to say is, the last 60 pages or so are the best part of the book. It was an absolute struggle for me to get to those 60 pages, but it made this book go from a 2 to a 3 for me. It even made me consider maybe picking up the sequel - mostly because there are a lot of questions I still have, and it’s going to bug me if I don’t figure them out. But then again, I could always hire someone to read it for me and give me details afterwards…

My problem with Timeless was mainly my lack of connection. Michele kind of bugged me, her friends (besides maybe Caissie - though how exactly are you even supposed to pronounce that?) annoyed me, her grandparents were overly mysterious, and Philip, the love interest, felt flat. To be honest, the snippets involving Michele’s ancestors were way more entertaining than Michele herself.

First off, the romance. Oh geeze. Usually, the romance is the best part in a, well, time-travel romance. Not so here. I actually dropped the book in the middle of their first kiss to go check on something in the kitchen. The first kiss, guys. The scene that’s supposed to make me squee. Nothing. I felt absolutely nothing. The romance between them felt forced and emotionless - like it was only a plot device. I get that he composes, and she write lyrics, and she’s dreamt about him all her life, so they’re perfect for each other, but there was no passion, no sense of an epic love story. Just boring. Even their initial breakup was boring.

The time traveling was also a little weird to me. It was never explained exactly what makes her time travel, besides the mysterious key and the revelation about her parentage at the end. But maybe that will be solved in the sequel. Not to mention it’s never explained why Philip is the only non-blood relative that can see her.

I also have a constant problem with specific brand names being mentioned a lot in novels. It dates the book like crazy. I also do not like detailed outfit descriptions most of the time. Unless you are Anna Godbersen and describing epically beautiful dresses from the 19th century, I do not care that you are wearing a tank top, Aeropostle jeans, and black ballet flats. However, these pet peeves of mine thankfully tapered off and vanished entirely by halfway through the book. I don’t think I could have dealt with a whole book of it.

And all that sounds really negative, I know. But really, the whole worth of this book is in the last 60 pages. Things shift from being so focused on Philip to helping her ancestors. Sure, Michele is trying to send a message to Philip through her yet-to-be-famous ancestor, Lily Windsor, but he’s not physically there. And, honestly, when he does appear again, their interaction behind the stage of Lily’s performance is more emotionally wrought than anything throughout the rest of the book. And then the discoveries -  one after the other about her father, and about why she time travels, and the surprising appearance of two important people right in the last 4 pages…it all left me wondering what’s going to happen. Though, with just a couple more details, this really could have been a decent standalone, and not a series. I don’t think Timeless necessarily needs a sequel. I don’t see how it’ll be interesting, unless more time-traveling is involved. Otherwise, it might just morph into a plain ole high school romance. 

The Final Word: While definitely slow going, and difficult to get through, the last 60 pages are a huge redeeming factor. If I could, I’d probably rate it 2 ½ stars rather than 3. While there are a lot of cool concepts, it felt a little amateur. Maybe the writing will improve with the next installment.


Cover Thoughts: I hate to say it, by probably my favorite part of the novel! The cover is stunning. The model is gorgeous, and the key around her neck is absolutely perfect.

Tea: I would chose Teavana’s Tranquil Dream Herbal Tea. Not only is chamomile mentioned in the book, but I figured something called ‘Tranquil Dream’ is definitely appropriate, since Michele has dreamt about Philip her whole life.

I’d also like to note, in case you’re interested, the two songs composed and written by Philip and Michele in the novel are real songs! Visit iTunes to listen to the songs, sung by the author herself!


  1. Great review. Thanks for the info about the songs. That's very creative of the author.

  2. @Alexis: I though it was an awesome thing to do. Apparently the author was a singer before she became a writer?

  3. Glimpses into the different generations of the family and the history of music were my favorite aspects of the book.

  4. @Mrs. V: Her relatives were definitely my favorite parts of the book. They were so feisty and entertaining. ;D