Time Masters, Book One: The Call by Geralyn Beauchamp
January 6-12, Christian Fiction Review Blog is touring Time Masters, Book One: The Call by Geralyn Beauchamp.
No way to hide this, so let's just dive in and say it: this book is long. Over 500 pages. I found it fast reading and wasn't intimidated by page-count, since fantasy is a genre well-known for length. Besides, if a book is good, then the longer, the better. Yet, with such a large volume of text, I wasn't quite prepared for the story to be so predominantly romance. I have nothing against romance and as romances go, this is one of the better I've come across. If you like romance at all, this book is sure to please you. However, I really, really wanted to have some more information about some of the subplots Beauchamp only hints at and skims over. I understand Time Masters is slated to be a 12-volume series and one would assume the next volume is going to touch on these things in greater detail, but if one is not particularly fond of romance, one might wish to skip book one and wait for the next one.
A brutish Azurti named Kwaku Awahnee yanks Dallan MacDonald out of 1692 Scotland (right in the middle of the Glencoe massacre, no less), takes him ahead in time to 3688, and holds him captive in a small, remote village to train him as a Weapons Master. After enduring ten years of physical and verbal abuse at the hands of Kwaku (whom Dallan calls "the bloody heathen"), Dallan is taken back in time to the 1990s to find his destined mate, Shona, a Muiraran living among humans, and not even aware she is different. I never did quite understand who the Muirarans are. One of the characters says they have always been around, and Beauchamp skillfully taps into legends of Fairie Folk and the like from throughout history to support this, but I also got the feeling the Muirarans are aliens who are only part of humanity's past because of the ability of some of them to open time portals. The Muiraran mystery is one of those things I wanted to know more about. Who are these special beings and where did they come from? Why are they here and what are their plans for Earth and Humanity?
Shona is one of the Muirarans who has the ability to open time doors. She was kidnapped as a baby and taken back in time, where her kidnapper, Phillip Brennan, leaves her with a childless couple who has no idea where she came from and evidently never catch on how different she is, even though she often goes into "flux" while dreaming, losing her human camouflage to expose her Muiraran appearance. When Shona comes of age, she must be joined with a mate or die. It sounds corny when I say it, but Beauchamp makes it all very believable. Shona somehow made contact with Dallan across time when he was a small boy back in ancient Scotland, and at that time, he gave her his heart. So Dallan is the one who will make Shona complete and therefore the best Time Master possible.
Of course, Phillip intends to take Shona for himself, so that he can wield her time powers. He hires a very controlling tutor to watch Shona and keep her drugged, to inhibit her bonding with Dallan. He also hires some thugs to dispose of Dallan and he even kidnaps Shona AGAIN, as an adult, all in his quest for power. I hope it is not giving away too much to say that Phillip eventually fails and Dallan and Shona are successfully joined. Otherwise, I would have to call this tale a tragedy, and in that case, I would have to explain why I disliked it. But since this book is well over 500 pages, it's not really revealing much at all to admit there is a happy ending. The meat of the story is all in HOW the characters accomplish their goals and thwart the villians. At the very end, Beauchamp gives us a brief glimpse of a frustrated "wraith" who apparently ordered Philip to capture Shona for him, and is completely unforgiving of Phillip's failure. But again, we don't really learn much about this mysterious antagonist. The reader is left to speculate who he is and what evil plans he might have. Surely, we've not seen the end of him.
Another point I wondered about: it is mentioned by several characters and further implied in their constant anxiety that Dallan and Shona's coupling is utterly CRUCIAL to the fate of the entire world, both for their own time and all past history. However, we never get any more information concerning WHY this particular couple is so indispensable or what dire consequences the 37th century characters fear might take place if Dallan fails to woo Shona. Yet another question we will have to wait for the sequel for.
Plenty of action. Well-written. Excellent story-telling and pacing. Engaging. Unique and interesting plot, but a bit one-sided towards the romance, leaving some of the subplots under-developed. A great opening to an epic. I have only given Time Masters, Book One: The Call the barest coverage here. I recommend reading the entire book to appreciate it in full.
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