All Our Yesterdays (Cassandra Chronicles #1) by Cristin Terrill
Paperback, 362 pages
Published 1st August 2013 by Bloomsbury
Shelves: arc-or-review, better-than-expected, books-i-own, crime-thriller-mystery, if-i-were-a-boy, read-in-2013, really-good, sci-fi, series-or-companions, title-appeal, to-read, young-adult
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Description via Goodreads:
A brilliantly brain-warping thriller and a love story that leaps back and forth in time - All Our Yesterdays is an amazing first novel, perfect for fans of The Hunger Games.
Em is locked in a bare, cold cell with no comforts. Finn is in the cell next door. The Doctor is keeping them there until they tell him what he wants to know. Trouble is, what he wants to know hasn't happened yet.
Em and Finn have a shared past, but no future unless they can find a way out. The present is torture - being kept apart, overhearing each other's anguish as the Doctor relentlessly seeks answers. There's no way back from here, to what they used to be, the world they used to know. Then Em finds a note in her cell which changes everything. It's from her future self and contains some simple but very clear instructions. Em must travel back in time to avert a tragedy that's about to unfold. Worse, she has to pursue and kill the boy she loves to change the future.
Like most people, I find the thought of being able to time travel very exciting. I like reading realistic YA Sci-Fi, so I picked All Our Yesterdays up in the hope that it would be an interesting read for me. I can only remember reading one time travel book in the past, and unfortunately it wasn't for me. Thankfully, this was a whole new experience and definitely a much more positive one!
I was really awestruck when I discovered that this was Cristin Terrill's first book - she certainly didn't give herself an easy job when writing it! All Our Yesterdays is a complex story with, to name a few things, detailed (scientific) time travelling, backward and forward thinking, multiple versions of the same characters, suspicious political activity, assassinations and even a very well written romance. Terrill has created a future where time travel is possible and a future that our main characters, Em and Finn want to destroy - though it's not fully revealed what is happening thanks to the time machine (Cassandra), it is clear that it is the cause of a very dystopian society. We learn a lot about this future and what led up to it as we progress in the book, though I feel there will be even more to discover in the next instalments! I really enjoyed learning about the history of the creation of Cassandra and it was very interesting to see how the characters dealt with the situation in the past and also how they dealt with it when they revisited that time period.
There are three key characters in this book - Marina/Em, Finn and James. It's difficult to describe the three characters as there are two versions of each. The book is narrated by both Marina (who is in the past, writing as the present) and Em (who is in the present, travelled to the past). Em is the perfect protagonist - she has history, she is as strong as she can be, yet still has a sense of vulnerability. At the beginning of the book, we are introduced to Em and Finn who are imprisoned in separate cells. They eventually manage to get free and travel back in time to try to attempt to stop the formation of Cassandra, the time machine. It could potentially have gotten very confusing with two of the same character moving around in the same scenes, but I can honestly say that I never felt confused - the author has managed to create a strong yet natural distinction between the past and present characters. There is romance in this book and it's romance that works very well. I initially loved the romance between Marina and James, but later I preferred reading about Em and Finn's growing friendship. I was absolutely taken in by both James and Finn for totally different reasons - they were different, but both very endearing. The romance in this book feels naturally woven in with the plot, it isn't overpowering or unrealistic - but I will warn you that at points it is definitely heart-breaking.
Despite all of the complexities, this book isn't difficult at all to follow, it is a book that will get you thinking about lots of different things and it's definitely a page-turner. One of the best things about this book is that although there was a lot of substance and facts, we were also given a whole lot of twists and turns throughout. The book wasn't predictable in the slightest but, instead, it was shocking and compelling. Don't expect to forget about this book after reading it, your mind will be kept awake, thinking and deliberating. It is the biggest mind-bender I have ever read, and it would certainly take some beating!
Overall, this was a fantastic, fast paced book which had me intrigued right from the start. It terrifically written by a very talented author and the book, though it will be part of a series, still worked amazingly well as a stand-alone read. All Our Yesterdays deserves all of the praise that it has gained and more. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to anybody who enjoys a YA read, whether it's for the time travel concept or for the romance. I have seen one word used to describe this book over and over again - 'bittersweet' - this is definitely true. The two words I would use to describe All Our Yesterdays? Mind. Blown.