on December 16th, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
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You cannot change fate.
Cassandra Wright is a Timewalker – a teenager with a genetic mutation that allows her to manipulate the flow of time. But her inexplicable powers have made her a target for Adjusters – monstrous assassins from a parallel universe.
Saved from almost certain death, Cassie is pulled into a secret agency sworn to defend our timeline against these threats: the Bureau of Temporal Integrity, Monitoring, and Execution. Cassie’s life soon becomes entwined with Shaun Briars – a reckless Timewalker with an alluring smile and dark suspicions about the Bureau itself.
When Cassie and Shaun cross into the parallel universe, they discover a world in the grips of nuclear winter, with a new war threatening to spill over into our universe. With time running out, they must learn the true history of Timewalkers, confront the unforgivable crimes of their future selves, and defy their own fate to save two worlds.
You know what’s refreshing about The Bureau of Time? It doesn’t overcomplicate the time travel or the sci-fi. Timewalking, mutated genes and temporal shifts may be hard to grasp if it’s info dumped, but the whole concept behind the powers were integrated flawlessly into the book. New concepts are revealed on a need to know basis, and it doesn’t overload the reader with too much at the start. I loved the concept behind powerful timewalkers who can shift time, and a military organisation, The Bureau of Time set out to defend people against evil monstrous beings called the Adjusters.
The military aspect of The Bureau of Time was vivid and reminiscent of the setting in movies. From the training grounds, to hardened Generals, their weapons and military speak, it all felt really authentic and brought me back to my Call of Duty days.
I enjoyed the alternate dimension and the competing ideologies behind The Bureau and other organisations. From the get go, you can just tell there are going to be secrets – and they’re revealed in such a way that you’ll want to keep reading to find out more. The pacing is perfect, giving the reader enough time to process each bombshell before it launches into another one. It’s fast paced and full of action, always moving the goal posts from training, to field duty, to being a field operative and defeating organisations. You couldn’t predict what was going to happen, which made it really exciting.
“You are a Timewalker…You have a genetic anomaly in your DNA that allows you to control time. We took a sample of your blood for analysis, to determine your specialty. Cassandra, you can reverse time.“
The main villain in the book, an evil Adjuster called Zero, was one of my favourite characters in the book. He was the kind of overconfident, cocky evil that I really took pleasure in. You could just see his ridicule in interacting with the “puny humans” every time he spoke, which was actually really hilarious.
While I enjoyed the fast paced action, the military setting of the book and the flawless integration of the time walking, there were a few areas which I stumbled on. I couldn’t connect to the characters, particularly Cassie, who is a typical damsel, wondering when the males are going to save her and either screeching, yelling, crying or chucking a tantrum every time she appears. I know she’s scared, lost and completely new to the whole military thing, but even with powerful time walking powers, she just wants others to protect her. There’s also this scene where she walks into the male locker room on her own just to talk to Shaun – something which I didn’t feel was realistic.
I am a Timewalker. I have a duty to protect my world, and fight those who would try to take our freedom. Nothing can change the promise I made.
Shaun on the other hand, was a brave soldier who did want to do the right thing. Who did challenge everything that he’s ever been told, and that did take matters into his own hands. I liked how proactive he was, striking out on his own and doing everything in his power for the greater good. His sense of justice was strong, having the confidence to stick up to Cassie while she was being picked on. Although it isn’t particularly heavy on the romance, I felt like it moved too fast in The Bureau of Time especially with the “L” word was thrown out.
If you like alternate dimension, action packed sci-fi reads, then The Bureau of Time is for you! It’s written beautifully with a unique concept, packed full of twists and turns. While the characterisation and romantic development wasn’t up my alley, the concept and the descriptive writing made up for it.
Rating: 3 out of 5
1. What inspired you to write The Bureau of Time?
I was inspired to write The Bureau of Time after watching the film Looper, which I believe is one of the best time-travel films of the current generation.
It got me thinking about a few different time-travel related concepts, but it was while reading Department 19 by Will Hill that I became inspired to create a government agency that dealt with threats from a future timeline.
After that, I started piecing everything together and building this complex web of parallel universes, future assassins, and teenagers who can control time – and then layered it with betrayals and plot twists!
2. What has the writing process been, from draft to publishing?
The Bureau of Time has been quite the journey for me, because a lot has happened in just over a year. I started writing Bureau back in November 2014, for NaNoWriMo, and wrote an entire 70,000 word novel in 30 days. After that I took the time to expand the lore, then went through several rewrites and finally approached beta readers.Beta reading was terrifying at first, but having real readers give feedback and enjoy my novel was a boost to my productivity, and helped me polish my manuscript.
After querying for a while, I decided to approach and work with an independent digital publisher to get my book out to the world, to the waiting fans and readers who wanted The Bureau of Time. I’m looking for Bureau to become a paperback as well, but for now, I’m thrilled that people can read Bureau on their digital devices.
3. There’s a heavy military aspect in the book that felt realistic – what research did you conduct around this?
I undertook a lot of research into the military aspect of Bureau. I’m always irked by novels and movies that gloss over simple, authentic military details, so for my book, I spent the time to make things as realistic as possible – without boring the reader with hardcore mil-fic.
I researched everything from the organizational breakdown of U.S. government agencies, to the specifications of all handguns and carbines used in my book. Small details like door breaches were something I found videos of on YouTube, and the general structure of the Bureau itself is based upon the CIA.
It wasn’t my intention to write a military thriller, but at the same time, I find that small authentic details make the story feel more realistic and help draw the reader deeper into the fictional world.
4. Time travel is woven seamlessly into The Bureau of Time – what interests you about time travel?
Manipulating time is one of those concepts that will, I think, always appeal to people. We’ve all had the thought of ‘If I could turn back time’, both on a personal level and on a grander societal level. With Bureau, I try to show those two extremes of time travel – Cassie’s level of Shifting allows her to turn back time by a few seconds, but the ‘first’ attempt at time travel sent people back over thirty years into the past to try and prevent a devastating war.I spent a while researching the actual mechanics of proposed time travel, all the paradoxes and wormhole theories, and researched parallel universes/multiverses too – I find all of that completely fascinating, and so I knew that I wanted to write a book that touched on these areas, just because it would let me ‘geek out’ a little with my research.
I also liked playing around with other types of time travel, like Shaun’s power to rewind damage to his body. I also expanded ‘time’ to include ‘spacetime’, so we have more dangerous Timewalking powers that can harness a lot of destructive energy, form wormholes between universes, and generally tap into a lot of very intriguing sci-fi concepts.
5. In the book, Shaun and Cassie get split up due to different ideologies they had. Do you think this will affect their relationship later on?
It absolutely will. Without spoiling the plot, Shaun and Cassie are in very different places both mentally and physically at the end of Bureau, and feel quite differently about eachother because of their different ideologies, and misunderstandings over allegiance. It’s not the type of thing that can easily be fixed, and of course, there’s a lot of rhetoric that they’re being bombarded with from each side.
That being said, ideology isn’t always simple. Cassie and Shaun have a lot to learn about the sides they’ve chosen to fight for, and there will come a point when they both have to re-evaluate their decisions and wonder if they made the right choice, and if they truly believe in the cause they’re representing.
6. What can we expect to see in the sequel?
Ryan becomes a point-of-view character, which has been incredibly exciting to write – he’s actually become one of my favorite characters now, because he’s the ‘normal’ soldier, in over his head against all these Timewalkers and Adjusters. Cassie and Shaun’s storylines are picked up too, and you’ll see a lot more interpersonal and physical conflict – plus more revelations about who our three characters are in the future, and exactly what the First Timewalker’s motives are.
About the Author
Brett Michael Orr is a young writer from Brisbane, Australia. He is the author of the YA Sci-Fi/Thriller, THE BUREAU OF TIME, available worldwide on digital reading platforms. He passionately writes Young Adult books in a variety of genres, including science-fiction and dystopian. He’s an avid reader and reviewer – some of his favorite YA novels include A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, and Unwind by Neal Shusterman.
Thanks Brett for agreeing to be featured on the blog!
Purchase The Bureau of Time on Amazon here!