Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Book Reviews: Silent Meridian and A Pocketful of Lodestones by Elizabeth Crowens

If you enjoy novels that defy categorization, Silent Meridian, the first book in The Time Traveler Professor series by Elizabeth Crowens, might be worth investigating.

John Patrick Scott is a naïve but ambitious student studying music at the University of Edinburgh when he first meets Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The latter's obsession with a legendary red book and the transmigration of souls brings these two men together. While most know Scott as a concert pianist, he is also a paranormal investigator and time travel professor.

Together, these men will travel through time as detailed in Scott's diaries which fill this novel.

What drew me to Silent Meridian is its time travel aspect and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Readers have called it steampunk or alternate history, and the book's press release adds fictional memoir to the list. This may have presented a formula reader such as myself with challenges in fully appreciating the novel. Crowens wove together a unique story that introduced alternate histories for several well-known characters, like Conan Doyle, H. G. Wells, Houdini, Jung and others, which I found rather fascinating. Scott's dreams and his initiation in to a secret society that led him to come into possession of the red book were also elements I enjoyed. I just felt confused a good part of the time. That said, I gave the second book in the series a shot, because Silent Meridian is well written, and a reader appreciates that.

Series: The Time Traveler Professor (Book 1)
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Atomic Alchemist Productions LLC; 2nd ed. edition (June 12, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1950384047
ISBN-13: 978-1950384044

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

The second book in the series, A Pocketful of Lodestones, opens with John Patrick Scott enlisting to serve in World War I in August 1914. During basic training, he is plagued by a series of strange dreams and the odd souvenirs left behind as proof he had not simply imagined his travel. Scott is also tormented by the horrors of war and a platoon sergeant who has it in for him.

In the next book of The Time Traveler Professor series, World War I takes center stage. So, in this respect, history lovers or readers who enjoy alternative history may be more drawn to A Pocketful of Lodestones than the first book. I feel, however, that reading Silent Meridian first will help readers understand the characters and concepts better than if they pick up the second book as a stand alone.

While my confusion remained a bit of an issue with this novel, I felt disappointed with the cliff hanger ending. I'm just not a fan. Crowens creates the perfect set up for a third book, but I never like being cajoled into buying another book just to continue a character's adventures that begin in the book before it; blame television in the 70's and 80's where every issue was resolved in 30 to 60 minutes.

Still, I admire Crowens' imagination and ability to create an engaging cast of characters and explore alternate histories for well known figures. This would be a fascinating movie or television series.

Series: The Time Traveler Professor (Book 2)
Paperback: 328 pages
Publisher: Atomic Alchemist Productions LLC (August 1, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1950384055
ISBN-13: 978-1950384051

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

I received a free paperback copy of both books from the author. These reviews contain my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.


CMash said...

I have this series in my pile and looking forward to reading them. The time travel concept has me intrigued.

Cheryl said...

Thanks for visiting.