*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: An Ocean of Minutes
Author: Thea Lim
Publisher: Viking Canada
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Synopsis from Goodreads:
America is in the grip of a deadly flu pandemic. When Frank catches the virus, his girlfriend Polly will do whatever it takes to save him, even if it means risking everything. She agrees to a radical plan—time travel has been invented in the future to thwart the virus. If she signs up for a one-way-trip into the future to work as a bonded labourer, the company will pay for the life-saving treatment Frank needs. Polly promises to meet Frank again in Galveston, Texas, where she will arrive in twelve years. But when Polly is re-routed an extra five years into the future, Frank is nowhere to be found. Alone in a changed and divided America, with no status and no money, Polly must navigate a new life and find a way to locate Frank, to discover if he is alive, and if their love has endured.
I’m loving the post-apocalypse trend that’s been happening in fiction lately. More and more really awesome and imaginative novels have been coming out over the past few years and it’s a really intriguing and gripping premise that’s being explored. An Ocean of Minutes falls very solidly into the intense post-apocalypse genre with some sci-fi thrown in. The result is a heart-stopping and emotional novel about two lovers who hope that their love can transcend time, if only they are both able to survive the pandemic that is sweeping the nation and the incredible changes that their world is undergoing in the face of mass death.
The story is told from Polly’s perspective, flipping between 1981 and 1998. Frank is the love of her life, but when he tests positive for the deadly virus, Polly has no choice but to make the decision to sell herself to the conglomerate, TimeRaiser, to work in the future so that Frank might be saved. They make a plan to meet in the future, hoping that things will not have changed so much that they won’t be able to find one another. However, the future is nothing like Polly could have ever imagined and suddenly she is facing the possibility that she may never see Frank again.
I absolutely loved this novel for it’s incredible ability to keep me guessing the entire way through. Lim is a masterful and imaginative world builder. She’s created a very bleak and drastically different future in 1998, one that we can’t even imagine. I couldn’t guess what things were going to be like or how the world was going to change. It was impossible to guess how the story was really going to play out because the world in which Polly lands is one of indentured servitude, layers of secrecy, and incredible apathy. Her world is terrifying, yet also distantly removed from our own. I enjoyed that Lim chose to place the story in the reader’s past, establishing this story as fictional and not supposing it to be in our own future a few hundred years from now. It takes a unique approach compared to other post-apocalyptic stories that have more of a doomsday feel that supposes how our current world will fall apart, forcing the reader to imagine themselves in the scenario. Lim’s novel reads like Orwell’s 1984, clearly fictional as it’s set in the past, however the themes and government structure is a commentary that closely applies to our own world today.
My only criticism was that I felt that the resolution was too quick. I was hoping for a cathartic relief in the ending, but it was wrapped up so fast that I felt a bit cheated of the ending. This story is very stressful and bleak that you want to revel in a nice resolution, but it was trim and over far too soon. I would have liked a few more pages at least.
I highly recommend this one. It’s got a beautiful cover, an amazing story, and a love that transcends time. What more could you ask for?