“Book Review: Chains of Time”
Reviewed by Jaylynn Korrell
The past meets the future in this mystical adventure through generations.
Chains of Time navigates the last few years of slavery in the South through the eyes of an African princess, and then continues on through her life on the run. But it’s not only her story we get. We also learn of a modern-day Black family through shifting perspectives, illuminating the great responsibility of the stories that come before them and the lifesaving knowledge they carry through generations. With captivating characters on a fulfilling magical journey, Chains of Time is a strong novel that does not disappoint.
When Amara wakes up on the day of her wedding, she is hit with more than just cold feet. She begins having visions of a new world, of her own future, and of her wedding day turning into a vicious and deadly celebration. And though she hopes they are just bad dreams, they end up being the start of her new reality, as she is taken away from her home in Africa and forced to be a slave in America, at the hands of the evil Van Owen.
While Amara is going through her journey, a group of four Black siblings are having their own issues in Harlem, about 150 years in the future. We meet a young man named Terry and his younger sister Regina as they struggle to be accepted in school, especially with Terry’s frailty and since Regina stopped speaking two years ago. Their older brother Jerome is favored by their father, while the oldest brother Warren is sent away due to his struggle with drug abuse. Under the watchful eye of their grandmother Willa, the kids adjust to their new home while each hiding a secret of their own.
Author R.B. Woodstone creates an inviting novel with Chains of Time, balancing two stories and traveling through decades. Though they are set in their own reality, it’s not hard to adjust to each chapter as the narrators change. When Amara is narrating, the reader will be engrossed in her telling of slavery in North Carolina and saddened by her grim reality of knowing exactly how things will end for the people she cares about.
As Terry and Regina come to the forefront of the novel, readers will be relaxed back into modern-day storytelling, but keenly aware that their story is intertwined in some way with Amara’s, and that danger can’t be too far off. Woodstone sews the stories together seamlessly, while adding compelling aspects like magic, a truly evil villain, and the struggles of Black people in America.
I enjoyed Chains of Time and the strong family themes it displays. I think this story would sit well with a wide variety of readers. Fantasy readers will enjoy the magical aspects of the story, historical readers will get what they’re after in the past, and people who simply enjoy reading fiction will have fun getting to know this strong Black family.
Paperback: 319 pages
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