Nick Of Time: 08/16/11
Nick of Time by Ted Bell is the first book in the Nick McIver series. Nick McIver and his sister Kate live with their parents on a small island in the English Channel. It's 1939 and a Nazi invasion of the island is a real threat. Even with the danger of U-boats, Nick loves sailing around the island with his dog Jip.
Things change though when he spots a U-boat surfacing just off the coast. Then he finds a time machine and gets a deadly threat from a long dead pirate. Nick has to go fight the pirate while Kate will have to handle the present day Nazis.
I like World War Two historical fiction. I love Robert Louis Stevenson's books. I usually love time travel stories. So I should have loved this book. But I didn't. In fact, I couldn't finish it.
The first problem I had with the book was the pacing. The first chapter is about nothing except Nick's love of sailing. I suppose it's for building character but it also eats up precious time and bloats the book.
That opening chapter is a symptom of an over all problem with the pacing. Pages and pages are spent on unnecessarily long descriptions of the island, the war, Nick's love of sailing and other settings around the island. Then out of nowhere, the pirate crew shows up. There's no build to it, no explanation. Nada. Just bam: evil pirates and a hint that they want whats in the box in the cave.
The chest in the cave was the final straw for me. They find it early on in story but don't actually use it until a hundred pages or so into the book. In most time travel stories once the device is found it's activated either on purpose or accidentally and off the main character goes to have his adventure. Here though more time and pages are wasted on introducing in a castle and a hermit.
The more that the magical device is explained, the less believable it becomes. I lost my patience and moved on to better books.