Amber Gifts by Kevin B. Henry

GIFTS
Amber Gifts by Kevin B. Henry
Publisher: Burst Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (95 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

After a decades long downward spiral, Mitchell is at the bottom of life’s rungs. A stranger hands him a simple, amber vial and tells him to drink it. With that one act, he is now a time traveler and when asked to help some new acquaintances, he gladly agrees. A simple request to find some items left scattered throughout time. How hard could it be?

But someone wants to stop Mitchell’s efforts and it will take more than luck for Mitchell to find all the items and survive long enough to complete his mission.

What’s left when life has spiraled downward to the bottom rung with no hope for anything better? Mitchell really didn’t think that things could get any worse, but he also never imagined that they could get better until one day, as he was sitting on a park bench, a total stranger found him and offered him an amber vial. That’s how Mitchell became a time traveler.

Kevin Henry has written a fascinating story about time travel. His descriptions of different eras and places seem historically accurate. The novel jumps back and forth rather than moving in a straight line as Mitchell is sent on a quest to find various artifacts. The events in one chapter do not necessarily happen after the events in the previous chapter. As Mitchell’s friend Crystin says, “That’s the enigma of different time streams. It’s all one big time-space continuum, but you can drop in and out of it at any given point, in any order.” Henry has organized his novel to mimic this concept of time travel, and the organization works really well once the reader catches on. It’s as if Henry is encouraging the reader to travel along with Mitchell.

Henry’s characters are also well-developed. I felt for Mitchell from the beginning and I like his belief in the basic goodness of his fellow humans. He has an engaging wide-eyed innocence as he learns about the mysteries of time travel. I also like his girlfriend, Crystin, and the two of them make a great pair as they try to stop fellow time travelers bent on evil. Even the villains in this story are likeable, at least in the beginning. Henry also shows us glimpses of famous people in history, and we learn a lot about John Dalton.

This story is very engaging and well-paced. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to travel in time, this might just be the book to show you one way time travel could work.

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