PaperBackSwap Blog

Fantasy Review – A Symphony of Echoes

A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor

Review by Cyndi J. (cyndij)


A SYMPHONY OF ECHOES by Jodi Taylor is the second in The Chronicles of St. Mary’s, the institute of time-traveling historians. (To read my review of the first book, Just One Damned Thing After Another, click here.)

It’s best for a new reader to start at the beginning; Taylor provides some backstory but there’s so much that happened in book 1 that’s germane to this episode. We begin in Jack the Ripper’s London, where Max and her best friend are having a pleasurable jaunt to check out the last of The Ripper’s victims. Yeah, doesn’t sound like a great time to me either, but those historians are made of stern stuff. They barely make it back without incident…or do they? Bwa-ha-ha! (that’s a sinister laugh, sorry).  But that’s just a warm-up.  The big villains of the last book – Ronan and the evil Barclay – are still out there.

It’s a breakneck pace all through the book, with people zipping back and forth through time. It turns out they can jump into the future too; Max and Leon have to go forward to save a future St. Mary’s

Speaking of Max and Leon, I have to say I didn’t care for the big blow-up scene between them.  Romantic partners leaping to conclusions without talking to each other makes me sigh. On the other hand, if it weren’t common authors wouldn’t use it so much. Max’s immediate revenge was very funny.

Anyway, the big adventure of this story is from the end of the last book, to wit, the “undiscovered” play by Shakespeare that has Mary Queen of Scots becoming queen of England instead of Elizabeth 1. Someone has monkeyed around with history, and History did not drop a rock on them for doing it, so obviously the team has to go back in time and fix things.  I loved the depiction of the trip, Max’s conversations with Queen Mary, and her anguish/anger at how she fixed the problem.

Did I mention catching dodoes as a team-building exercise? Another grin-worthy chapter.

Do not attempt to apply a lot of logic to the time-travel paradoxes. Probably best if you don’t attempt to apply it to the book’s internal rules, either, because just like Star Trek’s Prime Directive, they are only there so our heroes can break them. Sometimes that sort of thing irritates me in a book, but here I feel that it’s all tongue-in-cheek and don’t mind it much.  While it’s fun, there’s a lot of darkness here too; not everyone lives (again) and not everyone is who they claim to be. People do die in awful ways.  But all in all, this is highly entertaining. I don’t know how long Taylor can keep my attention, because already I can see outlines of plot formulas, but I’ve got number 3 on my list.




Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply