Loop by Karen Akins

loop by karen akins Loop by Karen AkinsBuy Loop
Special price $15.56 Regular price: $18.99
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Format: Hardcover
Reviewer: Melissa on October 28, 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

At a boarding school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveller, Bree Bennis, has only been excelling at screwing up lately. After messing up her solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (oops), she stands to lose her scholarship. And when Bree sneaks back into the past to talk the kid into keeping his mouth shut, she somehow doesn’t make it far enough back in time. The boy, Finn, is now three years older, has an attractive body, and is convinced he’s in love with her, or rather a future version of herself, and as if things couldn’t get any worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her. In Karen Akins’ debut YA novel, Loop, Bree discovers a series of recent accidents at her school are far from accidental. Someone is attacking her fellow shifters, and as Bree and Finn uncover a succession of seemingly unrelated clues leading to the person responsible, she gains the knowledge necessary to piece together the mystery – knowledge that only one other person has – her future self. When those closest to her start becoming victims, Bree realizes that the person responsible is willing to do anything to stop her, whether it takes them to the past, present, or the future.

Ever since I read The Time Traveler’s Wife, I’ve had a thing for time travel novels. I haven’t read all of them, not even all of the published YA ones, but every time I pick one up, I find myself getting sucked into the story. With Akins’ novel Loop, a book that the author describes a sci-fi light, both hardcore fans of time travel and those who are not as comfortable with the sci-fi genre will find something to love. Akins does a phenomenal job of distinguishing her version of a time travelling past, present, and future from anything I’ve ever read before. According to the novel, the ability to time travel is a genetic trait that some people have and some don’t, much like the ability or inability to role one’s tongue, and it comes with both positive and negative issues, like the buzz, or a headache one gets after returning to their present time. At times, I felt that the explanations, including the opposing views about what happens to shifters and why, seemed too complicated, but by the end of the novel, Atkin simplifies the conflicting ideas with the capital “t,” Truth. In addition, she peppers the entire novel with invented technologies and histories that exist in her 23rd century to give a disconnect to Finn and the reader from our present, but also incorporates language and artefacts from the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as those further back in the past, to insure that readers aren’t completely unmoored and to make Bree’s time travel between centuries believable. While neither of these elements would be enough on their own, when combined, they give readers a grounding in their familiar time and place, while ensuring that future that Akins portrays is different enough to be a believable future in the mind of the reader.

Beyond the scientific-style of world building, it’s worth exploring Loop’s characters. If I’m being honest, I found this novel very difficult to put down, which is a great thing. (Partially because many of the chapters conclude with revelation that I found myself just needing to understand.) At the beginning, I found Bree’s character a little too angsty for my liking. Don’t get me wrong – it’s great to have a strong female protagonist, who is willing and able to stand up for what she thinks is right, and doesn’t fall into the insta-love trap of so many other novels. That said, sometimes she holds what she believes to be the truth over the heads of other characters in a way that is rather patronizing or is too harsh with Finn, especially considering that he’s only following through on some promises he made to future Bree. Perhaps it is because of these (and other) flaws in Bree’s character that her growth over the course of the novel won me over eventually. It also helped that she is an intelligent person, who is able to piece together some vague clues into something that is not only believable, but twists the plot in ways that I didn’t foresee happening. By the end of the novel, Bree had grown on me, and I’m sure everyone will not only be shipping her and Finn, but also anxiously awaiting what happens to them in the next book in the series. Beyond Bree and Finn, the secondary characters are far less fleshed out, but they nevertheless, added to the enjoyment readers get from exploring both Finn’s and Bree’s times, in part, because there is more to them than Bree initially realizes.

Whether you love a good sci-fi novel, a mystery, or a romantic interlude, you’ll find something to enjoy in Loop as long as you can suspend your disbelief with the complicated explanations for the novel’s events and language like “freakin’” and “blark” in the place of slightly more believable swear words. Despite these few elements that distanced me from the novel, I enjoyed Loop and am looking forward to reading Twist when it comes out on March 31, 2014!

Buy Loop today and benefit from 18% off the regular price!

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