Wednesday, June 5, 2024

The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley

A time travel romance, a spy thriller, a workplace comedy, and an ingenious exploration of the nature of power and the potential for love to change it all: Welcome to The Ministry of Time, the exhilarating debut novel by Kaliane Bradley.

In the near future, a civil servant is offered the salary of her dreams and is, shortly afterward, told what project she’ll be working on. A recently established government ministry is gathering “expats” from across history to establish whether time travel is feasible—for the body, but also for the fabric of space-time.

She is tasked with working as a “bridge”: living with, assisting, and monitoring the expat known as “1847” or Commander Graham Gore. As far as history is concerned, Commander Gore died on Sir John Franklin’s doomed 1845 expedition to the Arctic, so he’s a little disoriented to be living with an unmarried woman who regularly shows her calves, surrounded by outlandish concepts such as “washing machines,” “Spotify,” and “the collapse of the British Empire.” But with an appetite for discovery, a seven-a-day cigarette habit, and the support of a charming and chaotic cast of fellow expats, he soon adjusts.

Over the next year, what the bridge initially thought would be, at best, a horrifically uncomfortable roommate dynamic, evolves into something much deeper. By the time the true shape of the Ministry’s project comes to light, the bridge has fallen haphazardly, fervently in love, with consequences she never could have imagined. Forced to confront the choices that brought them together, the bridge must finally reckon with how—and whether she believes—what she does next can change the future.

An exquisitely original and feverishly fun fusion of genres and ideas, The Ministry of Time asks: What does it mean to defy history, when history is living in your house? Kaliane Bradley’s answer is a blazing, unforgettable testament to what we owe each other in a changing world.

Hardcover, 335 pages
Published May 1, 2024
 by Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
3/5 stars

This debut was blurbed to be for fans of Outlander and a couple others that I haven't read.  The synopsis sounds like an intriguing read.  And it was, however it didn't hit the mark for me like it did others.

I had both the print and audio, maybe if I just stuck with the book I might have enjoyed it more.  I found the audio disjointing in that it wasn’t consistent in speed. I found myself adjusting the speed as the voices would speed up or slow down throughout. 

The story itself was interesting with some history playing a big part, I mean who isn't intrigued by the Franklin expedition to the Arctic.  The chapters were on the long side (30-40 pages) with a few short chapters intermixed.  Made it hard to read just one more chapter- yes I am one of those that can’t leave a book mid chapter.

An original idea for a story with the time machine and repercussions for those expats. The slower pace picked up for the last quarter where things really get interesting, the previous is getting to know the characters and world.

All in all and ok read.

This book was part of my 2024 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge.

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