The Secret Star by K.C. Finn Book Blitz
Genre: Science Fiction/Time Travel
Publication Date: August 11, 2013
In London, 1969, Jeffrey Mercier is just an ageing department store clerk with a long buried secret and a distant memory of a lost love, but when he is suddenly shanghaied by a woman who claims that she can travel in time, his dismal days in menswear are finally cut short. Jeff steps out of his timeline and into a whole new world of possibility and adventure, only to find that he is once again the automaton employee of yet another large corporation: The Time Agency. It has become his duty to protect the people of the future from the threats of their past.
Under the guidance of the struggling captain Marie-Elizabeth Giraud, Jeff learns that he has more in common with his fellow time traveller than he knows. As the adventurers exchange their tales of life and romance in times gone by, their popularity slowly grows in the media-mad atmosphere of the 27th century and Jeff discovers more about his past than he ever thought possible. But all is not well in the timeline, and these intrepid time agents are about to find themselves at the centre of a disaster that could destroy the universe, perhaps even time itself.
I remember when I first saw the opportunity to sign up for this book tour. I hadn’t ever heard of K.C. Finn, much less The Secret Star. Still, even though it was a sci-fi, the cover was beautiful (don’t you agree!) and the synopsis caught my eye, so I figured I’d give it a try. Imagine my surprise when I found myself completely sucked in to this story…which is strange to me because I’m a fantasy reader – I LOVE fantasy…dragons, elves, magic, wizards, unicorns, supernatural beings…you get the picture…and there is none of that in this book. Even more perplexing was that The Secret Star became much-welcomed reprieve from the fantasy books I usually read.
Finn effectively employs the whole story within a story style. She must have had a lot of fun playing between history, present and future. I say this, because she always leaves the stories on juicy bits that keep me turning the pages just to get to the next part in the history stories. But then, the next thing I knew, I was reading about the ‘present’ day and all the things Jeff is experiencing in the future that are new and awesome to him, and I get really wrapped up in that, and then I’d be back in 1942 hearing about Jeff’s or Marie’s past. Although during the first half of the novel, some of the transitions from present to past-story-telling-time felt a little forced (this happened when Jeff or Marie would explicitly ask to hear more of the other’s story). But in the second half, the transitions were much smoother.
The author has a knack for writing. There isn’t too much detail, or too little. The story flows smoothly. There are times when there may be one or two adjectives that are unnecessary, but it doesn’t really detract from the story. There are only a couple times where the dialogue was a little cheesy (the first time Jeffrey meets the Glass Hand – yeah, there was a little bit of cheesy male chauvinistic stuff going on there – but there’s a reason for that!).
I can’t say much more than this in my review – I simply don’t possess the finesse and subtly to describe the plot twists that comprise the second half of the book without completely spoiling the finely wrapped package that Finn has created. I will only say that the questions I had at the beginning were answered (like why the Glass Hand travels alone – although I’m still not entirely certain why the agency enforces an anonymity rule – but this could be something I missed because I was in such a rush to find out what was going to happen next in the story). And my thoughts of certain characters shifted as more elements of the story were revealed. If you are a fan of time travel and sci-fi, sprinkled with a little romance, then you must read The Secret Star. One last thing…it is amazing all the ways Finn was able to link various parts of the story to the title. I’m definitely going to check out her other novels (see below), and I’ve heard that she’s currently working on an urban fantasy for publication in the near future (SQUEEE)! There. I’m done. Now go get your own copy! Go on! Go!
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars!
Extract (Chapter 3):
It was three weeks into the occupation before I even so much as saw a German soldier. You wouldn’t think it to look at me here and now, but back in the July of 1940 I had rather a different life. My family owned a tiny makeshift lighthouse on the east side of the island, inside a building that had once been a windmill. We had already been ordered by the Bailiff of Guernsey to black out the lighthouse due to the air raids, so by the time the Jerrys arrived to take us over, my mother and father were already disgruntled by the war, purposeless and living in the middle of nowhere on the deserted coastal cliffs.
At that time I was in a wheelchair. I’d suffered what was known as an infarction, which is sort of like a heart attack except that it happened in my leg. My left thigh had a huge chunk of flesh missing from the operation to remove the offending muscle, and though I was able to hobble about with a walking frame, the infarction had only happened in the January of 1939, so it was still incredibly painful to move, and I much preferred the chair for getting around.
On the day of July 22nd 1940, I was living in a large, circular room that took up a whole floor smack bang in the middle of the lighthouse, with a spiral staircase running down through its centre, and wide windows that gave me an almost panoramic view of the sea, the shore and the path through the greenery leading to the local village. It was from that window that I saw the jackboots coming, a whole troop of them, twenty or so, marching ahead of a slow-moving chauffeur driven car. I shouted down to my father that the Boche had arrived to inspect the lighthouse at last, just as he’d suspected they would. He told me that if I called them the Boche to their faces we’d all be for the chop.
I was to stay in my room and keep quiet, which was not so difficult a task, especially since the only way I ever got down the spiral stairs was when someone carried me. I watched eagerly from my window as the slow car drew level with our little entry path. The pack of soldiers formed a smart line outside the car door and the driver came around the car and opened the passenger door at the back.
Out of the car stepped the most handsome man I had ever seen. He had hair so perfectly blond that it was almost white; it peeked out at the sides of his head, though most of it was covered by a dignified looking hat with a strong peak. He was tall and imposing in his military garb, all flowing coat tails and shining medals, with high cheek bones and a satisfied smile that displayed perfectly white teeth. I took in all of that from two floors up, little knowing that later on I would discover that he was even more striking up close.
About the Author:
Born in South Wales to Raymond and Jennifer Finn, Kimberley Charlotte Elisabeth Finn (known to readers as K.C., otherwise it’d be too much of a mouthful) was one of those corny little kids who always wanted to be a writer. She was also incredibly stubborn, and so has finally achieved that dream in 2013 with the release of her first two novellas in the four-part Caecilius Rex saga.
As a sufferer with the medical condition M.E./C.F.S., Kim works part time as a private tutor and a teacher of creative writing, devoting the remainder of her time to writing novels and studying for an MA in Education and Linguistics.
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A special thanks to This Girl Reads A Lot for hosting this Book Blitz!
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