Published: June 1st, 2013
Read as: US paperback, library loan
My rating: 3.5 (rounded to 4)
Behind the seemingly innocuous facade of St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, a different kind of academic work is taking place. Just don’t call it “time travel”—these historians “investigate major historical events in contemporary time.” And they aren’t your harmless eccentrics either; a more accurate description, as they ricochet around history, might be unintentional disaster-magnets.
The first thing you learn on the job at St. Mary’s is that one wrong move and history will fight back—sometimes in particularly nasty ways. But, as new recruit Madeleine Maxwell soon discovers, it’s not only history they’re often fighting.
The Chronicles of St. Mary’s tells the chaotic adventures of Max and her compatriots—Director Bairstow, Leon “Chief” Farrell, Mr. Markham, and many more—as they travel through time, saving St. Mary’s (too often by the very seat of their pants) and thwarting time-travelling terrorists, all the while leaving plenty of time for tea.
From eleventh-century London to World War I, from the Cretaceous Period to the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria, one thing is for sure: wherever the historians at St. Mary’s go, chaos is sure to follow in their wake. (from Goodreads)
“And it’s not just any old panic. It’s highly trained panic. It’s taken years of hard work and practice. Please don’t mock.”
When I started reading this book I really didn’t know what kind of adventure I was about to embark on. I picked up this title from the library on little more than a whim and a hope. Having been in a reading slump for two months my expectations were low on the enjoyment scale, none the less, the description sounded interesting so I gave it a shot.
What I got was a none stop roller coaster of a story.
The action of this story starts off right away and it doesn’t let up. Every time our characters solve one problem another, bigger issues immediately crops up. I appreciated that as it left no lull points in the story but at the same time it got a little repetitive.
This book is also very plot driven. There is a lot going on to the characters and around the characters at all times. However, I never felt that I really got to know those characters. The plot points dictated their responses and it didn’t feel like they had their own personalities, merely reactions to outside stimulus. While it was enjoyable the story could have been made richer by more insight into the characters. A little more backstory and defining characteristics.
While I did enjoy Just One Damned Thing After Another there are certainly some trigger warnings that could affect some readers. This book contains miscarriage, violence against people and animals, and sexual assault.
Overall, this was a good book. The plot moved along quickly, the story itself was interesting, and I’ve never read anything quite like it before. The negatives are outweighed and I’m told that they fade more into the background in later books in the series but I haven’t read any further yet. I’d recommend this title if you are looking for a fun, easy read romp into a semi sci-fi world.