Featuring The Order of Time Series by Scott P. southall, plus my review of book 1
Picture two twelve-year-old fraternal twins who are like night and day. She is a smart and highly organised MMA fighter. He’s not a fighter, he’s a lover of history, art and Star Wars. Despite their differences they are one formidable team. Together Anastasia and Edward Upston travel through time and navigate ancient civilisations, angry gods and mythical monsters in their quest to protect the integrity of human history.
Anastasia and Edward Upston are eleven year old twins who are different in almost every way. Despite this they are inseparable and the best of friends. They tackle the highs and lows of sixth grade together whether they are fending off bullies at the elite Blake Academy or examining rare antiquities at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Then: life gets complicated.
They discover that their friend and mentor, Dr. Gregorian, is part of a secret society called the Order of Time. It turns out that time is not fixed, it’s a fluid continuum where changes to the past can create ripples all the way through to the present. It unwittingly falls to the twins to travel back through time to ancient Egypt where they must overcome deadly assassins, evil high priests and vengeful gods in order to prevent disaster. Together Anastasia and Edward must navigate all obstacles to preserve the past and find their way back home.
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The orange light bathed the snow-covered fields as the fiery globe began to dip below the horizon. It was strange that something so beautiful could signal the arrival of something so evil. One thing twelve-year-old twins Anastasia and Edward Upston knew for sure was that when mortals were caught between two bickering gods nothing good would come of it. Surviving the Viking Age may be the hardest thing they ever do, if they can…
Excerpt from The Order of Time
They started to leave when the room suddenly lit up with a strange purple light coming from under a closet door.
“Why is the closet glowing?” asked Edward, his voice trailing up an octave. “Maybe we should get out of here.”
“What if Dr. G’s in there? You know he always locks his door, but it was open tonight. Maybe he’s still here. He might need our help,” Anastasia said emphatically.
The light was getting brighter by the second. Now Edward could also hear a low humming noise.
“Stop being crazy, Anastasia! This is the part in the movies where you yell at the screen for the characters not to open the door. We are not going to open that door.”
“I’m not being crazy. If Dr. G is in there and needs help, we’ll never forgive ourselves.”
Edward looked at her pleadingly, but she wasn’t giving in. His shoulders slumped in defeat. Oh god, please don’t let there be a monster or anything really scary in there. Anastasia dragged him over to the closet door. The light pouring out around the cracks was incredibly bright and the humming was getting louder. She gripped the large, brass doorknob, took a breath, and opened the door.
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My Review of The Order of Time
This book’s premise had me at hello. Twins who’s continuing mission is to explore time, to seek out and defend history, to boldly go where no eleven year olds have gone before? This hit everything I love in my MG fiction, and I even got a Star Trek reference out of it. And while there were some truly awesome moments in here, the book as a whole didn’t deliver for me.
I got really into this in the first few chapters. It was fairly obvious that something big was coming, even without the blurb telling me so, but I didn’t mind because I was super excited for the time travel and adventure. Somewhere around where things started to pick up, though, the believability just lost me. I know it’s fantasy aimed at kids, but when the main characters got past the police by essentially pointing and saying “look, something shiny,” my little bubble of awesome popped. After that, I’d get back into events, and then a plot hole or contradiction or something would pop up and drag me out again. Example, the kids are running around the museum full-on Mission Impossible, which was great, and then the police announce anyone in the museum will be punished to the fullest extent of the law. But the kids and their mentor spend the next 2 chapters in the museum and aren’t found. I could have gotten on board there, but they didn’t even worry about being found by the police, and I spent those two chapters feeling like the convenience fairy had descended. This kept up throughout the book, which resulted in a much less immersive reading experience than I’d hoped for.
As I said above, there were some truly great moments in here. The kids grow in beautiful ways and form some lasting and meaningful relationships. I particularly liked the comparison of Egyptian art and Instagram filters. I never made that connection, and that was an eye-opening thing for me. I wanted more things like that.
All in all, I wanted to love this, but it ended up just being an okay read for me. If it does sound like you’re thing, give it a shot. It might work for others, and I’m only one opinion, after all.
About Scott P. Southall
Scott is an American author and banking executive who lives in Sydney, Australia. He grew up in the suburbs of Washington D.C. and attended Georgetown University. While he loves his job as a global banker, his true passion is making up stories with his children. His debut novel, The Order of Time, reached #1 in its category on Amazon and was the 2021 Reader’s Favorite Gold Medal Winner in the Children’s – Mythology/Fairy Tale genre.
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