Seattle, 1913 // Dorothy is trapped. Forced into an engagement to a wealthy man just so she and her mother can live comfortably for the rest of their days, she’ll do anything to escape. Including sneaking away from her wedding and bolting into the woods to disappear. New Seattle, 2077 // Ash is on a mission. Rescue the professor—his mentor who figured out the secret to time travel—so together they can put things right in their devastated city. But searching for one man means endless jumps through time with no guarantee of success. When Dorothy collides with Ash, she sees it as her chance to start fresh—she’ll stow away in his plane and begin a new life wherever they land. Then she wakes up in a future that’s been ripped apart by earthquakes and floods; where vicious gangs rule the submerged city streets and a small group of intrepid travelers from across time are fighting against the odds to return things to normal. What Dorothy doesn’t know is that she could hold the key to unraveling the past—and her arrival may spell Ash’s ultimate destruction.
STOLEN TIME by Danielle Rollins is the first book of a YA time travel trilogy. It begins when Ash, a pilot from 2077, accidentally lands in 1913. When he tries to get back in the air unnoticed, Dorothy, a young bride running away from getting married and searching for something more, appears in the woods. She doesn’t know when Ash is from, but wanting to get as far away from her mother and groom, she sneaks on board Ash’s plane, unaware of where she’s headed. Seattle in 2077 has suffered massive devastation. The entire city and coast are underwater and the US has redrawn its borders, excluding Seattle. The Black Cirkus gang roams freely, wreaking havoc, and the man responsible for creating the Chronology Protection Agency is missing. In other words, Dorothy’s not in Kansas anymore.
This book has a fairly unique premise. Unlike most time travel stories, time travel in this novel is a recent invention. Because the characters are still learning what they can and cannot do, there is a greater possibility of surprises and discoveries. We, as readers, are also exposed to the science as it unfolds, which makes it both accessible and less like fiction. However, the tone in Professor Walker’s journal entries is off-putting. It feels too casual and jocular for someone who’s not only making history, but also facing the end of the world.
Dorothy’s internal struggle is distracting as well. While it would be natural for her to fall back on her mother’s warnings and second guess herself occasionally, she does it so often that it weakens the romance with Ash and her friendship with the rest of the CPA. With that being said, Dorothy, and the other characters, all have a lot of agency. Their individual skillsets keep them alive, particularly Dorothy’s. Though she is repeatedly underestimated, she saves the day more than once.
Overall, STOLEN TIME is a refreshing take on an old genre and makes me want to read the sequel to see what happens. Science fiction fans will be pleased.