The Order of Time
Anastasia and Edward Upton are eleven years old twins who are different in almost every way. Despite this they are inseparable and the best of friends. They tackle the highs and lows of sixth grade together whether they are fending off bullies at the elite Blake Academy or examining rare antiquities as the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Then: life gets complicated.
They discover that their friend and mentor, Dr. Gregorian, is part of a secret society called the Order of Time. It turns out that time is not fixed, it’s a fluid continuum where changes to the past can create ripples all the way through to the present. It unwittingly falls to the twins to travel back through time to ancient Egypt where they must overcome deadly assassins, evil high priests and vengeful gods in order to prevent disaster. Together Anastasia and Edward must navigate all obstacles to preserve the past and find their way back home.
What works in this book is the overarching plot. Once the main characters get sent to Ancient Egypt, the story becomes a lot of fun. I love getting to explore the new setting with the twins and seeing it through their eyes. Between Thutmose’s workshop, the palace, the markets, the food, and the clothes, Akhetaten (modern Amarna) is vibrant and visual. Also, the new characters we meet in Egypt are so loveable, especially Salah, that I didn’t actually want the twins to go back home and leave them.
With that being said, the way the characters talk is dated. Kids today are not using some of the terms Anastasia and Edward do. Instead, their cadence and turns of phrase remind me of people from when I was growing up. In other words, based on the dialogue, this book feels more like 2001 than 2020. Because of that, it’s hard to separate the author’s voice from the character’s voice here, and the kids read older than their ages. Add to that the fact that they are insanely smart and uniquely gifted, and it’s doubly hard to imagine them so young when they constantly best the adults.
Overall, THE ORDER OF TIME gains momentum as the story progresses, and seems to kick off a coming series. This first book is just the beginning of Anastasia and Edward’s adventures and I’m curious to see what they get into next.