Time Siege (Time Salvager #2) by Wesley Chu
Time Siege is a great second instalment to the Time Salvager series by Wesley Chu, in fact I would say it’s even better than the first. There’s no shortage of action, a lot of character development and a twist at the end of the tale.
In case you didn’t get round to reading Time Salvager my review is here, and, customary warning: if you haven’t read the first instalment this review could very well contain spoilers.
Time Siege continues to take forward the story of James Griffin-Mars and Elise Kim. James, now an exChronman and fugitive, is in hiding with the Elfreth tribe and at the start of the book he’s hatching a plan. James is determined to save his sister from a disease that is slowly taking her life away. Having only just been reunited he’s determined to do everything in his power to find a cure, even if it means making more space jumps (that could potentially kill him) or bringing more people through time (and once again breaking the rules of time travel). Elise meanwhile seems to be becoming the ‘mother’ of the tribe, somewhat stealing her away from her efforts to find a world saving cure. The tribe is growing and more mouths to feed means more search and retrieve missions. The only option is to try and lure another person to make these salvage runs. At the same time we have Securitate Kuo from the Valta Corporation and all her supporting minions aiding Chronocom in their search for James and more importantly Elise! So, James sets off on a recruitment mission and Elise leads the tribe into hiding on the Mist Isle (previously known as Manhattan).
There’s such a lot going on in this instalment. It has a different feeling completely to the first book and I thought it was very cleverly written managing to combine some great action sequences where you fear for everyone and wonder who is going to survive combined with some great character building. Personally I loved the journey through the Mist Isle and encountering yet more tribes and their battles with each other to try and survive. Alongside this was the shockingly awful tactics of Kuo who will go to any lengths to obtain her goals. This character is beyond ruthless and reading her POV was almost grimly hypnotic. On top of this we visit a remote and brutal prison where a rather daring prison break is made – but I won’t elaborate more on that point because of spoilers.
In terms of the characters. Well, James goes through something of a meltdown in this instalment. He suffers from a massive bout of self pity that leads to some rather dreadful decisions. We know from the first book that James likes to find solace in the bottom of a bottle and his problem now really begins to show reaching a point where he is no longer capable of making rational decisions. I don’t suppose being constantly haunted by the ghosts of his past helps much in this respect. On top of that Elise is becoming more and more involved with the survival and running of the tribe, in fact her time is almost completely consumed by it meaning that she has less time for James – adding further to his sense of loneliness. He’s never really felt like a part of the tribe and now he can no longer salvage he feels worthless.
Grace was one of my favourite characters from the first book and she still is in Time Siege. She’s just a total force of nature charging around bossing people about and putting everyone in their place!
In terms of criticisms – well, I didn’t really have anything to be honest, this was a really entertaining read with excellent pacing. I think the only thing that stood out for me was that the whole ‘world saving’ issue took rather a back seat. But, I think that may be deliberate on the part of Chu – I think that issue may play a bigger role in the next book (although I could be completely off track with that). Both books in the series so far have had such a different feel and given the ending here I suspect that book No.3 will be the same in that respect.
I think this has such a lot going for it. Urban warfare with dramatic fight scenes that are really well drawn, characters that are far from perfect but yet still make you feel something for them and an ending that leaves the way open for a fantastic conclusion. Yes, this is something of a cliffhanger of an ending but oddly enough not the sort of ending that left me feeling exasperated at all, although, obviously I’m really keen to find out how this story ends.
Definitely recommended. I would also suggest that you need to read the first book in the series before picking Time Siege up. It might be that you could read this in isolation but personally I think the background and world building in the first is necessary to really set the scene.
I received a copy courtesy of the publisher through Netgalley for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.