Monday, July 15, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Untimed by Andy Gavin

Title: Untimed
Author: Andy Gavin
Artwork by:  David Phillps  Cliff Nielsen
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Steampunk
Release Date: Dec 17/2012
Adquired: Ebook copy sent from Publisher
Goodreads: ADD
Charlie’s the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, even his own mother can’t remember his name. And girls? The invisible man gets more dates.

As if that weren’t enough, when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don’t take him seriously.

Still, this isn’t all bad. In fact, there’s this girl, another time traveler, who not only remembers his name, but might even like him! Unfortunately, Yvaine carries more than her share of baggage: like a baby boy and at least two ex-boyfriends! One’s famous, the other’s murderous, and Charlie doesn’t know who is the bigger problem.

When one kills the other — and the other is nineteen year-old Ben Franklin — things get really crazy. Can their relationship survive? Can the future? Charlie and Yvaine are time travelers, they can fix this — theoretically — but the rules are complicated and the stakes are history as we know it.

And there's one more wrinkle: he can only travel into the past, and she can only travel into the future!


There are time-travel books, and then there are TIME TRAVEL BOOKS. Yeah, the other kind, that, as a reader, takes your brain to somewhere outside of your skull. Untimed wasn't action packed every second of the way, but my GOD was it well written. And I don't say that lightly, I never say "well-written" lightly, Andy Gavin took one of my most loved notions in the entire world, and gave me reason to love it even more. Oh, and did I happen to mention that there are drawings in the book!? Without a DOUBT, some of the most fantastically drawn pieces of art I have ever seen in a YA/MG book.

There are only so many ways you can execute the idea of time-travel, and this year alone, I feel like I've read about 10 of them. The majority were done well, playing with and explaining time's mechanics and consequences can be a daunting task. As an author, you run the risk of confusing the reader with ideas that sound flawless in your head, but become unnecessarily complex on paper. Andy Gavin could teach the class on how-to write time-travel LIKE A BOSS. He didn't waste time with lengthy explanations, and his characters didn't feel the need to either. It was easy to wrap my head around the details he did provide about how everything worked, and I felt like I was right on par with the unfolding of events-never behind, or too far ahead of the characters.

I don't even want to mention this little nag, but my fingers are typing it before I can stop them. I ADORED Charlie, he was kind-hearted, and smart, and funny, and naive, and incredibly hard not to adore. He was also only 15, and Yvaine, I believe was only 18 or 19. Which caused some problems with the tone for me. This book gave off some serious Middle Grade vibes, but read like a YA for the most part, the pictures brought me right back to a Middle Grade state, and then the characters would do something sexual, and I would wonder if maybe I was reading an adult book. I was helplessly confounded at times, and while I rate this book as one of my newest time-travel loves, I wish Andy Gavin wrote Charlie to act, and sound, a bit more his age. Other character wise, let's just say that I wouldn't mind any of them showing up in any other book I read from now on. Donnie was horrendous, in the best way an antagonist can be. Ben Franklin played a huge role, and the author crafted his back story from fact AND fiction, which is always a huge plus: me getting to learn something about history.

If you're in the market for time-travel the way it's meant to be written, and an adventure story that will have you permanently attached to the book/your e-reader, I urge you to pick up Untimed. It was a story that I won't soon be forgetting, and have already purchased my own copy of to re-read, and STARE at those GORGEOUS drawings.

Recommended for fans of: YA Sc-Fi, Time Travel Steampunk, Adventure, and Mystery.


The man turns left at Chestnut and Third, and I follow him into Franklin Court. 

He stops inside the skeleton of Ben Franklin’s missing house. Some idiots tore it down two hundred years ago, but for the bicentennial the city erected a steel ‘ghost house’ to replace it.

I tuck myself behind one of the big white girders and watch. 

The man unbuttons his suit and winds himself. 

Yes, that’s right. He winds himself. Like a clock. There’s no shirt under his jacket — just clockwork guts, spinning gears, and whirling cogs. There’s even a rocking pendulum. He takes a T-shaped key from his pocket, sticks it in his torso, and cranks. 

Hardly police standard procedure. 

Clueless tourists pass him without so much as a sideways glance. And I always assumed the going unnoticed thing was just me. 

He stops winding and scans the courtyard, calibrating his head on first one point then another while his finger spins brass dials on his chest. 

I watch, almost afraid to breathe. 

CHIME. The man rings, a deep brassy sound — not unlike Grandmom’s old mantel clock. 

I must have gasped, because he looks at me, his head ratcheting around 270 degrees until our eyes lock. 

Glass eyes. Glass eyes set in a face of carved ivory. His mouth opens and the ivory mask that is his face parts along his jaw line to reveal more cogs. 

CHIME. The sound reverberates through the empty bones of Franklin Court. 

He takes his cane from under his arm and draws a blade from it as a stage-magician might a handkerchief. 

CHIME. He raises the thin line of steel and glides in my direction. 

CHIME. Heart beating like a rabbit’s, I scuttle across the cobblestones and fling myself over a low brick wall. 

CHIME. His walking-stick-cum-sword strikes against the brick and throws sparks. He’s so close I hear his clockwork innards ticking, a tiny metallic tinkle. 

CHIME. I roll away from the wall and spring to my feet. He bounds over in pursuit. 

CHIME. I backpedal. I could run faster if I turned around, but a stab in the back isn’t high on my wishlist. 

CHIME. He strides toward me, one hand on his hip, the other slices the air with his rapier. An older couple shuffles by and glances his way, but apparently they don’t see what I see. 

CHIME. I stumble over a rock, snatch it up, and hurl it at him. Thanks to shot put practice, it strikes him full in the face, stopping him cold. 

CHIME. He tilts his head from side to side. I see a thin crack in his ivory mask, but otherwise he seems unharmed. 

CHIME. I dance to the side, eying the pavement, find another rock and grab it. 

CHIME. We stand our ground, he with his sword and me with my stone. 

“Your move, Timex!” I hope I sound braver than I feel. 

CHIME. Beneath the clockwork man, a hole opens. The manhole-sized circle in the cobblestones seethes and boils, spilling pale light up into the world. He stands above it, legs spread, toes on the pavement, heels dipping into nothingness. 

The sun dims in the sky. Like an eclipse — still visible, just not as bright. My heart threatens to break through my ribs, but I inch closer. 

The mechanical man brings his legs together and drops into the hole. The seething boiling hole. 

I step forward and look down….


Andy Gavin is an unstoppable storyteller who studied for his Ph.D. at M.I.T. and founded video game developer Naughty Dog, Inc. at the age of fifteen, serving as co-president for two decades. There he created, produced, and directed over a dozen video games, including the award winning and best selling Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter franchises, selling over 40 million units worldwide. He sleeps little, reads novels and histories, watches media obsessively, travels, and of course, writes.

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Thank-you to Sam March at CLP Blog Tours for hosting this tour, and to the publishing for sending an e-copy of the book for review!

CLICK HERE to follow the rest of the tour


  1. Thanks for the wonderful review and I'm glad you loved the book!

    For what it's worth, Yvaine is 16 (although she isn't sure of that herself) going on about 24 :-) And she's a girl who grew up on her own, orphaned since 7 in 1500-1725 Europe, so she doesn't think of herself as a child at all -- and the concept of adolescence didn't exist yet :-) but this sure gives Charlie more than he bargained for.

  2. Time travel is so difficult to do well, and I love that this book excels at it!!

    LOVE that it isn't all fast-paced:)

    Lovely review:)


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