August 27, 2013

Title: All Our Yesterdays

Series: Cassandra Chronicles, Book 1

Author: Cristin Terrill ♥ @cristinterrill

Published: September 3, 2013

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Pages: 368

Source: Net Galley

Summary from Goodreads: “You have to kill him.” Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

Average Rating on Goodreads (as of 08/26/2013): 4.21

  • Christina and Celeste thought this title was an outstanding debut novel. It goes on their top shelf.

**Special Note:** An e-ARC of this title was provided by the publishers via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review an any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this galley and not from the published version.

Initial Thoughts and Ratings:

  • Celeste: Actual rating of 4.5 stars! Holy. Cow. What the heck was that? That was crazy and awesome. And did I mention craaaaaaaazy!!
  • Christina: Actual rating of 4.5 stars! I think this book may have broken me. I’m so stunned by how it concluded, I’m not sure I can even begin to process it all. Just… wow!

Plot, Pacing and Style:

  • Celeste: My head hurts from the whole thing, but I can’t stop thinking about it. I probably still haven’t even really wrapped my head around this story, but I want to write this review while my feels are still fresh. In Em and Finn’s lifetime, a time machine was invented which changed society, but also led to their imprisonment. They were two of the few people capable of going back in time to fix things, but the problem was figuring out exactly how to do that….
  • The pacing was spot on, considering it could not have been straightforward to write. Well done, Ms. Terrill! Quite brilliant, actually.  I also have to say, I LOVED the style, which was alternating views between Em and Marina. That is all I’m going to say about it.
  • Christina: The pacing was quick, but perfectly executed for this time of novel. It started off with a bang and I felt like I was strapped to a speeding missile the whole way through the book. I hated putting it down to attend to real life matters and I always fell face first back into it whenever I picked it back up. I don’t think I breathed the entire time I read. It also had a very cinematic thriller feel because of how the story flowed between characters and scenes.
  • I appreciate the way that Terrill wrote this novel– from dialogue to the suspenseful foreshadowing by way of multiple characters and even how she eased her readers gently into the crazy aspect of bending time. For such a complicated plot and subject as time travel, the book was told in a such a simplistic (or as simple as it possibly could have been) way, that I never felt like I was in way over my head, and considering the fact that basic psychics is probably way outside my realm of comprehension, that was a relief.  It was because of the manner in which the author introduced us to the information necessary to understand its existence in tidbits and never info-dumped that the steady pacing was allowed to plow forward without leaving the reader and the logistics of what was happening in the story behind.
  • As for the style in which the novel was written and plot, I say kudos to Ms. Terrill. It was a clever use of both characters and allowing us to see the greater picture through their eyes. The plot had me guessing the whole way through, trying to fit all the puzzle pieces together before I made it to the end. It was engaging and kept me captivated the entire time.

The MCs:

  • Celeste: Well, I guess there were 4  main characters. Kind of Or were there 5? I SERIOUSLY DON’T KNOW!!! Really guys. Yes, let’s go with 5. Em, Finn, The Doctor, James, and Marina. Shall we discuss?

Em:

  • Celeste: Loved her; fierce, brave, loyal, huge heart.
  • Christina: Inspirational, her emotional fortitude and being able to love despite the torture was something to admire.

♥ Finn:

  • Celeste: Oh, I realllly loved him. Brave, selfless, a stand-up guy. And he loved his mom so much.
  • Christina: He made me swoon, but I wanted more from him. For all that he gave, I felt like he was holding back so much more.

♥  The Doctor:

  • Celeste: Oh man, I thought I hated him, but I just don’t. I still think his heart is in there somewhere.
  • Christina: I was quite the opposite. It was easy for me to hate him for the things that he was doing, to remove this side of him from the good. I think maybe if I had gotten a chance to understand his motives better, I could have learned to look for his heart. But for me, I could tell it was gone. *sadpanda*

♥ James:

  • Celeste: I love him too. He sounds pretty delicious. Smart, tall, broad, brooding. Sign. Me. Up.
  • Christina: I just wanted to take care of him. He was beautiful in his brokenness, and my maternal instincts just wanted to protect from the cruel truths he had to face.

♥ Marina:

  • Celeste: I liked her, but I never had that massive girl crush on her. I guess I saw how young she was, and everything she went through made her the awesome person she was 4 years later. She had a good heart too, and she just wanted to be loved.
  • Christina: It was amazing to watch her transform and grow into herself, while still seeing the basis of those qualities I admired about her older self already deeply rooted in her very essence- that fierce loyalty- but I appreciated that we got to see her naivety, too. It made her character more believable to me.

Romance /Chemistry:

  • Celeste: This is where it gets tricky for me. Is there a love triangle? Um, guys. I’m not sure. For real. I don’t even know how I feel about it. There was romance, a little bit of kissing (because more kissing didn’t really fit into the story), and definitely broken hearts. It was crazy complicated, but I loved it.
  • Christina: This book was definitely more plot-based and the romances were a secondary story-line. While I usually like my books to have more romance in them, I enjoyed the lack of it in this novel. It fit it better, in my opinion. I very much liked was tastes of chemistry I was given, though.

Title/Cover:

  • Celeste: This is a “meh” section for me. The cover caught my eye, and I liked it. It probably fits the book pretty well as it looks like a sci-fi cover. I’m not totally sure I’m sold on the title. I think it could have been something else that would have fit better.
  • Christina: I’m actually pretty okay with both. The title and cover were both enough to grab my attention and make me read the description which sold me on it.

Twists and Turns:

  • Celeste: The whole book was a twist and turn and I loved every word of it.
  • Christina: This book honestly chews you up and spits you out. For a vast majority of it you’ll feel like your mind is being scrambled with all the twists and turns.

Ending:

  • Celeste: Holy crap. I’m so sad. Pass the tissues please. This is not a cliff hanger though. It truly seems like a stand alone novel. On that note maybe events will change in the next book and I won’t be so sad after all.
  • Christina: I always felt like I knew that it would come down to exactly this ending, but it didn’t make reading and accepting it any easier. I may have choked back a few sobs. It was most definitely a nail-biter.

Gripes/suggestions:

  • Celeste: I don’t really have any…
  • Christina: I have two things that have me completely puzzled. I would’ve liked to have had The Doctor talk a little more so I could have found out why he turned out to be so cruel. What hardened his heart so much that tormenting innocent people became for the greater good? The second thing was I don’t understand how this can now be a trilogy. It wrapped up so perfectly, what more is there left to really explore in this world with that ending? The ending that broke my feels/heart into a billion pieces but concluded the novel so excellently.

Final Thoughts/Rec It?

  • Celeste: YES! If you like thrillers that keep you on the edge of your seat and are brilliantly written, this is for you. But it’s not just full of action, this story will draw out so many emotions and feelings that will leave you wondering if your heart is breaking while your head is spinning. I can’t wait to pick up the next installment!
  • Christina: Absolutely. If I had to pick out one word to sum up this entire book, it would be INTENSE. The author didn’t cut any corners in this book, and I’m sure it’ll be one that sticks with me for a while. I’m very much looking forward to her future works.

♥ A very special thanks to Disney-Hyperion and Net Galley for providing us an early copy for review.

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