Monday, September 3, 2012

Of Time and Place, by B.R. Freemont

James lives in a future where the country has undergone a major energy crisis, and life is much different from today.  He spends many years working close to Washington policy makers to influence the way the crisis is handled, and spends a significant amount of time searching for meaning in his own life.  He spends time forming a lasting relationship with his former boss, and even more time seeking real love from various women.

Let me start by saying that for readers interested in economics, energy usage, and quasi dystopian futuristic literature, this book is probably a grand slam.  In the parameters of those genres, this book is well written.  And in general, I think that the author's writing style shows real talent and considerable promise.  However, this book just failed to hook me.

At over 500 pages, this book could use some trimming.  For example,  at one point the male protagonist goes on at length, for many pages, reciting a lecture he plans to give to a college class.  I saw absolutely no point to having this lecture, verbatim, in the story.  In fact, I felt that the entire scene did little, if anything, to advance the story.  Similarly, there are a lot of sex scenes in the book that seem unnecessary.  Now, I am no prude, but sex for sex sake does not need to happen in a book of this length.  The sex scenes should, but rarely do, have a significant impact on the story.  Instead, it makes the protagonist seem like a sleaze, and made him very unlikable to me.

I did not care for the main character.  I found him cold, particularly concerning the disappearance of his wife and child.  His story carries out on two timelines simultaneously, and while that method was carried out in a clear manner, I found very little of the action of the one timeline tying into the story of the second timeline in most cases, so it made the transitions seem a little forced, instead of flowing smoothly.

I think that this was an ok book, that has the potential to be a great book, if only some of the subplot was removed and the focus narrowed.  Better yet, get rid of the simultaneous timelines, and make this a series about James' life.  The heart of the story was fine, there was just too much extraneous noise for my taste.  

I received a review copy courtesy of Tribute Book Tours.  See the rest of the tour here.

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