Plot Type: Fantasy with a hint of Steampunk
Ratings: Violence—3; Sensuality—3; Humor—2
The Time Roads (10/2014)
Áine Lasairíona Devereaux: The young queen of Éire, the lead character in the book. She takes the throne after her father's death, which occurs early in the first story.
Coilín Mac Liam: Áine's secretary
Members of the Queen's Council: Their roles become increasingly important in the third and fourth stories. Some are revealed to be traitors.
The strongest elements in this novel are the deeply developed world-building, and the rich sense of place. The weakest elements are the character development and the explanation of the time roads. It's really unfortunate that the author doesn't do a better job explaining the time travel mythology because that is the key element on which the series is based. I didn't feel much of a connection with any of the characters, mostly because they seemed like types rather than individuals: the courageous, solitary queen; the handsome, damaged, queen-and-country warrior; the beautiful, brave female dissident; the oh-so-corrupt councilors (all men, by the way); the quirky, rumpled scientists—they all seemed to have been pulled out of other authors' books.
This book ends with an unfinished, but hopeful, view of Éire's future. I'm intrigued enough with the world-building that I'm looking forward to the next installment. I do have to say that this one is not for everyone. The only thing "paranormal" about it is the time travel element, and that is flawed in its presentation. What's refreshing is to find a steampunk novel that isn't set in Victorian London. The idea that Ireland—not England—controls Great Britain is an inventive hook that will keep me reading.