On paper, “An Ocean of Minutes” should have been right up my street. I like a bit of time travel, love a bit of romance, and dystopian fiction is generally worth a nose. However, Thea Lim’s first novel seems a bit lost and searching for an audience. The general premise (woman travels forward in time, will her man wait for her?) is a theme worthy of adult fiction, but the method of time travel and the implausible, simplistic environment is better suited to a YA audience.
The Time Travel element feels like it was shoe-horned in to attract a certain audience or to ride the wave of recent romantic time travelling films – I wouldn’t be even mildly surprised if you told me the first draft had Polly frozen in stasis rather than time travelling. There were no time issue conundrums as you would expect in a society that have discovered both forward and backward travel.
I also found the writing overblown, with too much detail given unnecessarily to irrelevant passages, and I did find myself skimming heavily in the final 40%. The style was solid YA, the dictionary remained tucked away in the drawer. The flip-flopping chapters that alternated between the historic and the current timelines were unnecessary – when this works well, as in Time Traveller’s Wife, there’s a relationship between the past and the present, here, the past didn’t develop the present.
But that said, and this is the true worth of any book, I did want to know how it would end and I did read to the end. So, a wobbly 4, but a 4 nonetheless.
Book kindly supplied by Netgalley for an honest review.
See review on Goodreads.