Monday, July 22, 2013

Book Review: Thunder Time Quilt Series

Welcome to another book review here at The Real World According To Sam.

As I stated in a past post, I have been reading some books by James F. David.  My reviews for the past two books in the series have been on Goodreads. However, I don't think that they were all that great (my reviews, not the books). So in this review I will discuss the latest book in the series and briefly go over the last two while doing an overview of the series so far. I don't know that the series has an official title, since none of the books have been labeled with one, but since they all have "thunder" in their titles and based on what they're about, I will, for purposes of these reviews, refer to them as the Thunder Time Quilt series.

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Footprints of Thunder (#1)
Author: James F. David 
Rating: 3/5


 

Footprints of ThunderFootprints of Thunder...what to say? This is where it all starts. A fabulous idea is presented and set up. However, most of this book ends up being just a set-up for the future. It is entertaining, but the real awesome stuff that grabs you doesn't come until Thunder of Time. Footprints of Thunder, in summary, is this: time gets messed up somehow and dinosaurs are brought into the mix with people. Jurassic Park without fences and with way more people available to munch on, plus the fact that these are the real dinosaurs from the past, not just ones made by curiosity driven humans. Whole cities have disappeared and been replaced by prehistoric environments. A lot of this book is survival of multiple characters but not necessarily very important ones at the moment. 2 of them aren't really important until book 2, while another only becomes relevant in book 3. Others don't even matter in the wide spectrum of things. If you want a simple thriller and don't wanna bother wondering what they found on the moon, then you can just read this one. Did I say simple thriller? That might be a false statement. A lot of the concepts in this book are physics related and may not be graspable to every reader. Time is quite the complicated matter. If you can get beyond the physics and theory, then you have a story full of dinosaurs chasing after humans, dinosaurs making snacks out of humans, a variety of characters, well written and developed characters you genuinely like, some annoying characters you wish would be eaten sooner rather than later and a crazy tale of survival.

I might as well say now that it is a pretty long book. Around 70-80 chapters, this book is definitely more than a morsel. It took me a few weeks to get through since I was attending college when I started it. I read it at breaks I had when my mind couldn't do schoolwork anymore. Also, the author uses a terribly catching tactic against his readers, that both gets on my nerves and makes complete sense to me. He alternates frequently between the centers of action. Chapter to chapter you jump between groups of characters, locations and action. So you get really caught up with what's happening and something else from before comes up and picks up where it left off. Eventually it gets back to continue the cliffhanger you just left. While ingenius and cunning, its also rather irritating, but I understand that it is necessary to have everything that needs to happen, happen before the climaxes hit and the story is wrapped up.

Overall, Footprints of Thunder is a good read, full of dinosaur mayhem and heart, but it really serves as a springboard to set up even better events in the books to come. It was published in 1995, the sequel took quite a while to arrive to readers. Luckily, I read it around when the latest novel came out, so I didn't have to wait as long.

Thunder of Time (#2)
Author: James F. David
Rating: 4/5

Thunder of Time
Thunder of Time occurs 10 years after the events of Footprints of Thunder. Lots of characters from Footprints come back, more knowledgable and grown up, ready to take on new challenges. Dinosaurs are still around. No one found a way to get rid of them for good and a lot have been moved to preserves. Trouble lays in store though, as new developments are unveiled. We finally realize what happened and how things have played out since the first attempts to understand and fix the "time quilt." Nick is back, as are John, Emmet, Carollee, Elizabeth, Ripman and some others. We finally hear about the whereabouts of Kenny Randell, but along with that come dark secrets. Elizabeth finds out she's bit off more than she was expecting. There are terrorists, Russians, more dinosaurs, nuclear weapons, space, pyramids...definitely lots of adventure in store.

It was really cool to see all the characters who made a comeback in this novel to play an even bigger role than in the last one. Lots of intense, suspenseful plots join together to make a big mesh of awesome world changing fun. The world is severely altered by the time quilts and the way things are going just makes it seem even more crazy. There's so much going on that it could be easy to get lost if you don't know who is who and who is doing what. There's a team in the Yucatan, one up in space and Elizabeth is over in Alaska on her own investigation. If you can keep them straight, this book is just wonderful. It has around 70-80 chapters again, just like the first book, but the continuous action makes this one faster to get through. Way better than the first one by miles.


Dinosaur Thunder (#3)
Author: James F. David 
Rating: 4/5

This book is the third in the Thunder Time Quilt series and I was so much more into this one than the first one. The second one did a great job in building up the character relationships in order to make this one incredible and even kind of personal. There are characters that we have been with since the very first book and seeing them grow has been an absolute joy for me. There's marriages and relationships that add to the crazy dinosaur fun. There was much less dinosaur munching and human snacks in this one, which surprised me quite a bit. However, that just goes to show that a bunch of humans don't always need to be eaten by a dinosaur to make a book like this work. At about 58 chapters, Dinosaur Thunder isn't as long as the first two books, but it definitely has enough substance to make each of those chapters count. It doesn't take as long as the first one due to the driving action and is just all around better.

Dinosaur ThunderDinosaur Thunder takes place 8 years after the second, for a total of 18 years between what happens now and where it all started in Footprints. The time quilt displacements have been much less frequent since certain events occurred in Thunder of Time. This all sounds great, but if something didn't go wrong then we wouldn't have this book now, would we?

There has been a shocking find on the moon and some material/energy made known in Thunder of Time makes a reappearance and seems to be causing even more trouble. Good news, we finally find out what happened to Portland! That sounds good. Although its not so good when you have the K-T event about to occur and wreak its havoc on humanity as we know it. Things just got heavy. I don't want to give things away, and I'm trying my absolute best not to. One character from every book goes missing while investigating a case involving a "Visitor." All the vicious carnivores in present day USA have been tagged and placed in preserves where they can be kept an eye one. Visitors are dinosaurs that are not tagged...one can only guess where they came from...especially when said Visitor is a velociraptor.

There is a Community from Portland lost somewhere in time, a character from the past (first book) that makes an appearance, a missing character who drags others with them causing others to follow suit to retrieve them, a meteor about to strike, and some mysterious things going on in space. Throw some baby raptors, a relationship on the rocks, new enjoyable characters to meet, and an ending that will throw you for a loop and you've got just about everything that makes up Dinosaur Thunder.
Overwhelmed yet?

James F. David makes it all digestable. He has that same ridiculously annoying and ingenious technique going on where he entices you and hooks you in, then cliffhangers that bit of action so you are forced to read through more adventure to get back to the location you were in to begin with. It is an endless loop that drove me crazy. Yet it has its merits and all adds up in the end. When all the points meet up its epic. If I could only describe this book in one word it would be: EPIC. This adventure is so much grander than the ones before it, in my opinion. I had to go back and read through a couple chapters again because I couldn't believe how the book ended. It was too ridiculously clinching.

Crazy Kramer was my favorite character in this one. I don't usually end up picking favorites when I read books,  especially when there are so many good ones, but Crazy just had something extra. He made me laugh and he was a real blast to have along for the ride. There was also a character I hated and just wish would've been eaten by the time the book ended. At first he didn't bother me and then he jsut started to and never stopped. He's the character I would most like to just kick in the shin and punch in the face (we've all had one at least once). He's not even a villain...he's just kind of a tagalong. His girlfriend needs to breakup with him ASAP, because he's just....ahh! Punch him in the face, no proper justification needed. I usually don't have characters I wish bad on, but he is one in particular that the raptors and rexes should've had for dinner from the get go. Save me the trouble of having to put up with him.

I'm in complete shock and I really hope that Mr. David doesn't take as long with the next one as he has with the others...6-11 years is a long time to wait. I still want it to be just as awesome (hopefully moreso) but without the super long wait. I am hooked on the Thunder Time Quilt series and would like to see what happens next and if certain characters get through their present conflict. Of course there is the matter of HOW that would happen.

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OVERALL:

This series is really awesome. There are significant differences between all three books that make it fun to keep reading, but still the main core concept that drives the novels. It hasn't gotten on my nerves and I'm very excited to see what happens next. I would definitely recommend this series if you're into the physics of time, dinosaurs, prehistoric stuff, and adventure. It is a great blend of elements that pulls off a crazy idea very well. There are slow moments, but those will quickly be replaced by suspense and fast paced climaxes. Footprints of Thunder, Thunder in Time, and Dinosaur Thunder are all wild rides.

I also really love the covers of all 3 books. I want to give major props to whoever did the cover designs because they are just too cool.

Thanks for reading this review, I hope to have another one coming your way very soon!

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