REVIEW: A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones

REVIEW: A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne JonesA Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones
Published by Greenwillow Books (1987), Paperback, 336pg
Filed under: Fiction, Middle Grade, Sci-fi
Got my copy from: Bought
Buy your own copy at Amazon or BookDepository (affiliate links | info) or add it to your Goodreads shelf

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Time City - built far in the future on a patch of space outside time - holds the formidable task of overseeing history, yet it's starting to decay, crumble .... What does that say for the future of the world ... for the past ... for the present? Two Time City boys, determined to save it all, think they have the answer in Vivian Smith, a young Twenty Century girl whom they pluck from a British train station at the start of World War II. But not only have they broken every rule in the book by traveling back in time - they have the wrong person! Unable to return safely, Vivian's only choice is to help the boys restore Time City or risk being stuck outside time forever... (from Goodreads)

So, yeah: I read this way back in March for Diana Wynne Jones month, and then I never reviewed it. For shame!

A Tale of Time City is actually one of my favorite DWJ books, and I guess that makes it kinda difficult to review. It’s so good! It’s got time travel, precocious children, vaguely mythological scifi things that’ve mixed over with fantasy, interesting future!technology, WWII (for a little bit, anyway), androids and good parents and ice cream that comes out of the wall!

Also, WONDERFUL characters. DWJ’s kid characters are always smart and nosy and willing to put themselves into danger if it means doing the right thing, but they’re also still kids. They don’t understand everything about the world yet, they misinterpret things, they make trouble and not always in a good way. They make mistakes! They’re fully fleshed-out people, and it’s great.

DWJ’s fantasy books tend to get the most press, but her scifi books are excellent as well. If you’re already a fan of books like Howl’s Moving Castle, you definitely need to read A Tale of Time City! It’s got a fabulous story, excellent characters (except for the baddies, who are kind of one-dimensional), and the sort of happily-ever-after ending (the kind with caveats) that’s both satisfying and a little scary. And did I mention the time travel? (Time travel!!)

Read: March 2013

I haven’t read nearly enough time travel books! Which is a shame, because it’s one of my favorite plot thingies. What’s your favorite time travel book?

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6 Comments

  1. Favorite time travel book — oo, hard. Do you read Charlotte’s Library, where she reviews time travel books every Tuesday? I am always on the lookout for more time travel books over at her blog.

    Kage Baker’s Company series (not exactly time travel, but close enough!), Edward Ormondroyd’s wonderful Time at the Top (it’s for kids), omg and Susan Cooper’s book King of Shadows. Those are all excellent time travel books.

    • Somehow I missed entirely that Charlotte reviews time travel books each week! For shame (again).

      You know, I haven’t read a Susan Cooper book outside of the Dark is Rising series! (Which has time travel in it, actually.) I’m a little scared her other books won’t compare to the WONDER that is TDIR. But if you say King of Shadows is excellent, then for sure I’m going to read it. :D

  2. (I don’t like A Tale of Time City that much! It hasn’t clicked in for me yet. I think I just need to read it a few more times.)

  3. I’ve just discovered your lovely blog this week and wanted to say “Hi!” I’ve enjoyed reading your posts and your blogging tips are so helpful :)

    This book sound wonderful! And that cover is enchanting too. I’ve never read any of this author’s books, I will have to look out for some on my next library visit.

    A few months ago I enjoyed reading “The End Of Mr Y” by Scarlett Thomas, which has a very surreal, imaginative and bold take on time travel (mostly in the latter part of the book). It is very odd but engaging story, full of mystery, philosophy and cursed secondhand books!

    • Yay, thanks for visiting! :D And yes, you definitely need to read a Diana Wynne Jones book. (EVERYONE needs to read a DWJ book! Mwahahaha.)

      Thank you for the recommendation! I am intrigued by the cursed secondhand books angle. I love me some spooky books!

  4. I read this one back in March too for DWJ March! It’s not one of my favorites by DWJ, and I still have a LOT to read, but it was definitely a fun one to read … especially with the time traveling!!

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