With customary crypticness, we’re thrust into the first book in the Tales of a Timekeeper trilogy. I Was The Artist is yet another Young Adult saga about a young adult with superpowers who’s destined to save us all, presumably somewhere towards the end of S.A. Eldin’s third book.
Just sleep and when you wake, remember, you are not alone. You may be the beginning, but the beginning has already happened.
It’s not a bad read for genre fans, but you don’t need to be well-read in fantasy and science fiction to see distracting parallels all over the place. Our hero’s parents are killed by the baddie when he’s a boy, and after escaping the clutches of his wicked stepmother, he stumbles upon supernatural abilities and receives guidance from a wise mentor. If it stuck any closer to the Hero’s Journey paradigm, George Lucas could sue.
Even the finer details are familiar from pop culture lore, from The Terminator to Penny Crayon. When the superpowered cast expands, the X-Men get an explicit name-check, because it’s not like we hadn’t noticed. When Zac makes his first accidental leap through time and space, you wouldn’t take home much for betting he winds up in gaslit Victorian London. Where did you expect, the Wild West? That’s the next stop.
Looking to the positives, SF nerds should be satisfied by the strict ground rules that are laid out for how time travel works. The time machine in question may consist of a magic amulet, a magic book and a quick doodle, but you can’t just change history willy-nilly. That would be silly.
Considering the limitless powers the Gifted possess, this is a franchise that could theoretically spin off indefinitely. But you’ve already seen it all before.