Thursday, April 2, 2015

Seasons of Time - Book Review

Seasons of Time by Miriam Khan opens with an eerie prologue of a jealous unnamed mystery woman and possible spell-casting that is the essence of the novel.
The novel is about Lara Voight, who is sent to spend the summer with her step-mother's grandmother Gracen, a rude combination of grudge and age.

As soon as Lara arrives at Gracen's mansion, she experiences burning pains and emotions as well as a fragrant familiar scent that often results in a vision of the past. Soon, she discovers that she is the "spitting image" of a Penelope Le Rose 'Pen' and comes across her diary.
Lara learns that Pen was murdered in the past. Naturally intrigued, she begins to delve deeper into the mystery and Pen's past life. As she ventures forward, the visions increase and Lara begins to discover things about herself. The visions become quite real and she can literally see through what is happening through Pen's eyes and feel her emotions.

"My hand immediately traced my mattress for Pen's Diary, a book that was my revelation, my retreat to the real me, my beginning with the people I would always cherish whether I knew them or not."

Soon, other characters are pulled into the mystery as well. We meet Sheba and her brother Will, to whom Lara is attracted. We meet Elias, one of Pen's past loves and relationships, as well as Joseph and Hector.
Lara is highly sarcastic offering constant comic relief throughout Seasons of Time, something I particularly liked. At one point while thinking how the wheelchair-bound Gracen gets around her mansion, she says "Elevator? So that's how the old ogress got up and down the stairs."

Because Pen's diary is over a hundred years old, the change in language is clear between the diary and modern-day writing. It adds a lot to Seasons of Time and I felt that Pen's writing was a little Jane Austen-like.
In one of the entries, Lara reads "I see nothing but our love bloom from note to note. The sky seems tangible my friend. The clouds sift whispers of a sonnet which I memorise long before I sleep."

One of the things I felt were rather abrupt was Lara's quick shifts in emotions, especially from Will to Elias and vice versa. Although, the reader gets the feeling that Penelope is reincarnated into Lara, still I felt that the shifts were too quick. We get Pen's love for each man but we don't get the reason behind such love.
I did however like that Seasons of Time is considerably clean young-adult, with the exceptions of a couple of burning love sensations, there isn't any 'adult content', which seems to be inserted in most novels these days.

There were times when I felt the novel resemble Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. The line "You are mine, Pen," he ushered. "Nothing will keep me from you now" reminds me a lot of Healthcliff.
"Elias was the one who cast a spell on the likes of [her]. Elias was the condemnation and the blessing. A heaven embraced by the arms of a deeming hell."

Overall, I enjoyed Seasons of Time a LOT and liked how past and present mixed in this quick-paced novel, particularly the twist in the end. The first few long chapters were a bit tiresome because I don't like to stop mid-way but that was made up for towards the middle and end with shorter chapters.

Although I like the cover, I do not feel it is fitting for the novel. It's too general and does not seem to reflect Lara, Pen or even the mansion where most of the events take place.
The novel is narrated from the first person perspective of Lara with shifts to the first person of Penelope. I enjoyed the imagery the word choice used throughout the novel as both helped with the flow of the lines and the contributed to the themes and plot.
I liked how the author created important roles for secondary characters. With the exception of Will and Sheba's parents, all other characters play significant roles in the novel.

Overall rating: 4.25 stars

Check out the prologue and excerpt of the first chapter of Seasons of Time here.

Note: I received a free copy from author Miriam Khan in exchange for an honest review.

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