All Our Yesterdays by Cristin TerrillAuthor: Cristin Terrill Website|Twitter
Published: 1 August 2013 (Bloomsbury)
Format: Kindle e-book
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Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Em is locked in a bare, cold cell with no comforts. Finn is in the cell next door. The Doctor is keeping them there until they tell him what he wants to know. Trouble is, what he wants to know hasn’t happened yet.
Em and Finn have a shared past, but no future unless they can find a way out. The present is torture – being kept apart, overhearing each other’s anguish as the Doctor relentlessly seeks answers. There’s no way back from here, to what they used to be, the world they used to know. Then Em finds a note in her cell which changes everything. It’s from her future self and contains some simple but very clear instructions. Em must travel back in time to avert a tragedy that’s about to unfold. Worse, she has to pursue and kill the boy she loves to change the future . . .
This is one of those books that has had a lot of hype and glowing reviews, so it's been on my radar for quite a while. When it came up on Kindle Daily Deal I just had to have it! All Our Yesterdays follows Em and Finn who travel back in time to try and prevent the horrors that have happened to both them and the rest of the world.
The opening sees Em and Finn as next door neighbours in their respective cells, having been captured and currently enduring horrible conditions and torture. When Em finds a note from herself in her cell, she knows she has to go back in time and change what has happened. The opening had me completely hooked. Immediately I wanted to know what was happening, and why Em and Finn were in the situations they were in. It was off to a good start!
I was so excited to dive into a time travel novel, on the basis I loved The Time Traveller's Wife, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and more recently The Future of Us. The time travel was both awesome and troublesome. I really liked all the little details about the time travel such as explaining the paradoxes and the fact that the characters aren't meant to see each other's past or future selves, but I occasionally had a bit of trouble keeping up once past and present Em's worlds collide. For the most part I was enjoying the tense and action packed plot and didn't trouble myself too much with all the crazy confusing-ness. Em and Finn have a mission and that really drove the story. Not everything goes perfectly and with time changing constantly they have several barriers and hurdles to overcome.
I loved the sci-fi side, but there's also that feel of a dystopian novel about it with the world having been shaped into this rigorously controlled environment where people aren't free to travel and bombs are going off killing innocent people. The conspiracy part of the story was something I really loved sinking my teeth into.
I love books told from mulitple points of view, and All Our Yesterdays has a very different take on that with the book being told from Em's perspective, but both in the past and the present. Her past self is known as Marina and at the start of the book the two characters are very different. This really helped separate the two stories and timelines and make it a bit easier to follow. The present (or future, depending on how you look at it!) Em is driven, determined and pretty headstrong. The past Marina is hopelessly in love with James and worries about how she looks and has shallow friends. She also takes very little notice of Finn in the past so I was curious to see how their story developed the affection we see they have for each other in the opening chapter.
The characters were fantastic, and because of the different timelines you get to see them at different stages of their lives. The one character who seems to really stay the same is Finn (he even has the same name in both timelines, where as Em and others are known by different names) and I absolutely adored him. He's geeky and lovable and really looks out for Em. There were some pretty wicked villains who made my blood boil too. I don't want to get into too much detail for fear of spoilers! Plus throughout the book we see Em's romantic feelings for both Finn and James, but it's not really a love triangle because it's all happening and different times.
Slowly I could see the separate parts of the story starting to come together as all the characters' lives past and present intertwine. There were so many questions going round my head trying to understand the world and what was happening, but the last couple of chapters really brought everything together and blew me away. I liked the ending and thought it felt very final, but this book is the first of a series. I'm really hoping for more of James' story in book two as I feel there's a lot more to explore there. I'm definitely excited to see more of the world Terill has created because I think parts of it were just touched upon. Overall I'd say All Our Yesterdays is a gripping and entertaining read, that's really worth it once you reach the last few chapters.
What to read next: This is the first book in the Cassandra Chronicles
Books like this: Acid by Emma Pass, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling