My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Very rarely does a book grab me and not let me go. But JODTAA is very definitely one of those. I was lucky enough to get the audio book and thus was able to listen to it on my commute to work. It made the actual time at work a complete pain and the journey to and from a delight. Initially, this was released as a free ebook on amazon while Ms Taylor struggled to garner interest from a publisher and many reviewers were irritated by editorial mistakes (for that read absence), but I’m glad to say that the series has been taken up now and those glitches have disappeared. Oh how someone somewhere must have a very eggy face.
And guess what, in an audio book, there aren’t any mistakes at all, thanks to the wonderful Zara Ramm! This was a perfect way to immerse myself in JT’s eccentric, wonderful world of physicists and historians and survival training and wonderfulness.
So we have time travel and adventure and a kind of very grown up boarding school vibe (St Mary’s is an institution)which will please a lot of new adults still waiting for that letter and an owl, I’m sure.
But Ms Maxwell, as the protagonist, is a female hero to root for. To use the much maligned phrase, many women will want to be her, and lots of men would love to meet her. But there’s nothing overt here. She’s layered and flawed and cool and tough and vulnerable and loyal and clever. What is there not to like?
It’s a very British book and just about the best bit of escapism I’ve enjoyed for a decade. A touch of grown up Dr.Who, a dash of Spielberg, a soupcon of romance and a dollop of humour. Will do for history degrees what Aaranovitch has done for the Met. Read it and you won’t be sorry. Listen to it and you’d be utterly seduced.