I picked this book to read because I saw that someone else on my Goodreads timeline was going to read it. I’d only tried one other Neal Stephenson book- Seveneves- and I didn’t really like it all that much. I gave this one a try because I saw that it was co-written with someone else. I had a thought that there might be more character development as well as a more coherent plot. Instead, I got beautifully written scenes of history and long science lectures populated by thin, cardboard cutout characters. From beginning to end, the main male lead was a mystery. We learn nothing about him and then the authors have the audacity to put him in a romantic relationship. We don’t know his age, where he comes from, if he has family…. he remained a stranger from beginning to end. However, that was not my main gripe with the book. Apparently, the plot was to rediscover magic. But they soon shunted that aside and focussed on time-travel. Had I known it was going to be a time-travel adventure, I wouldn’t have bothered. I was disappointed that a whole magic rediscovery plot was discarded in favour of science so I gave this book only two stars.
(I won’t have minded if they decided to study magic through the lens of science but obviously magic was not the focus in this book, only time-travel. I am not a time-travel fan. People never go into the future, only the past which to me makes no sense. If you’re travelling time, you should visit all times, in my opinion.)