What if you could go back in time to save the person you love the most? The rules are simple. If you want to travel back in time, you need to be at least eighteen years old. You can only travel within your own lifespan for a maximum of six months. And above all else, you must never, ever, change the past. But that's exactly what Brooke Wallace plans to do. As Brooke faces existence without her beloved brother, his life cut short by a rare disease, she can think of only one solution - travel back in time to prevent his death. However, her attempts at fixing the past challenge her to confront everything she believes to be true about herself. And ultimately, she is forced to discover whether or not we can ever truly be in charge of our own destiny.
The Clay LionFeatured
Time Travel with a Twist
Brooke’s brother has died a rather sudden death. In Brooke’s world, she can go back in time only once. Will she be able to save her brother? Will she be punished for breaking the rules of time travel?
I am a huge fan of time travel. I’ve been hearing about ‘The Clay Lion’ for some time now and I finally got a chance to read it.
The story takes place in what seems to be a mirror image of our universe but one where time travel takes place. The characters can’t travel back and experience historical events. They can only travel back in their own lifetime. They only have six months before they need to travel back to the present day. This means that they are only reexperiencing events in their own lives.
Jahn really kept the story moving. I literally had a hard time stopping myself from reading the next page, then the next chapter. I just had to find out what happens with Brooke’s travels next.
I love when there are paradoxes that blow my mind (think the origin of the watch in ‘Somewhere in Time’). So I was super excited when I found them in ‘The Clay Lion.’
There were a few tiny things that took a little getting used to for me. One is the information that is dumped at the beginning of the book. I feel like this happens a lot in time travel books as there is a need for the rules to be laid out so this is somewhat inevitable. I also kept wondering why the people in the past timelines (since they knew about time travel) didn’t suspect Brooke was from the future. If I knew that time travel was possible and someone was acting strange, I would totally be suspicious that they were time traveling. However, I guess that they knew that one of the rules is that Brooke wouldn’t be able to admit she was from the future.
I loved this story and jumped right into the rest of the series as soon as I was finished with this one. Spoiler alert I loved the rest of the series just as much.
Beautifully Orchestrated Story
What I Loved:
It isn't easy to balance a story that relies heavily on the emotional feel of each moment with steady pacing, but Jahn does it flawlessly. There was never a lag, nor a place where the story moved too quickly for the heavy emotions therein.
The main character, Brooke, was so relatable because who wouldn't do anything and everything to bring back someone they loved?
The world was kept simple, more of a contemporary setting with the one change of mainstream time travel, which was perfect for a story focused more on humanity and loss.
And of course, the romance was alternately beautiful and heartbreaking.
What Left Me Wanting More:
Not much was lacking here, but there are themes of destiny and greater plans that pushed the story from a typical YA into more of a Christian Fiction feel.
The Bottom Line:
Clay Lion will tug at every emotion you've ever had and make you like it. All in all, I definitely recommend it.
A quiet, unassuming YA Sci-Fi that will sneak up on you like an emotional hurricane
The Clay Lion takes place in a world very similar to ours where time travel is possible and the protagonist, Brooke Wallace, is faced with the question: what if you could go back in time to save the person you love the most? Those who love a good sci-fi or time travel story may pick up this book expecting a high-tech world or a twisted tale of time loops and wormholes. But this story is nothing like that, and time travel is but a device that helps explore the deeper question which is the theme that drives the story, an exploration that is done openly and candidly.
Brooke is a troubled girl, reeling from the loss of her beloved brother. She hasn’t come to terms with his passing, and she doesn’t plan to. She’s determined to do what it takes to change the horrible injustice of her young brother’s death, and using her one-time allowed trip into the past seems like the perfect solution. But going back in time is trickier than she expected as seemingly inconsequential actions ripple through the years to cause untold changes in her present. Brooke’s journey is not easy, but she tries to make the best of it, even as obstacles rise to challenge her tenacity.
The characters are well-developed and feel real. Their situations are relatable as well as their reactions. The story will challenge the reader to consider the effects their own actions have on the lives of those around them, and along with Brooke, they will discover that love, compassion and hope are indispensable to keep us going and accept the twists of destiny without despairing.
Jahn delivers her story in a way that isn’t preachy, addressing the difficult topic of loss in a way teens will find completely relatable. The Clay Lion is a wonderful read that I highly recommend to anyone who doesn’t mind shedding a few tears, then feeling uplifted by a message of hope and endurance. Once of my favorite Indie reads to date.
One of the best I've ever read
There is nothing I love more than well-written stories that hit me right in the heart. Amalie Jahn has written just such a novel.
In a world where time travel not only exists but can be used by pretty much anyone (though only once, per government regulations), young Brooke Wallace decides to use her allotted "trip" through time to save the life of her beloved younger brother, Branson. Determined to thwart the circumstances that caused his sudden and tragic demise, Brooke soon discovers that changing the past is not as easy as it seems.
Though the concept of time-travel technically makes this book "sci-fi", what The Clay Lion is, in reality, a character study. How one girl deals with grief, denial, change, consequence, the gut-wrenching circumstances of love found and love lost, futility, depression, and acceptance that life is, and always will, play out as it was meant to, no matter how much we wish it were otherwise.
The Clay Lion will grab you from the very first chapter and it will not let go, even after you've finished reading. It will tear your heart out of your chest and piece it back together again, stronger than it was before. You will experience every emotion from A to Z and back again, and you will have grown as a person for having read it.
Thank you, Ms. Jahn. This is one of the best books I have ever read. Your accolades are well-deserved, and I will be moving on to the next book in the series immediately.
Don't miss this one!
Super interesting premise keeps you guessing! You'll get sucked into Brooke's story from the first pages!
If I could give 4.5 stars I would! The story was great and well developed characters. I thought that the time traveling back to save her brother would get old, but each trip was vastly different and held my attention. Well done!