Twist: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

*Twist is the sequel/companion to Loop. As such this review contains major spoilers for book one.*

Twist by Karen AkinsBree Bennis should be living happily ever after now that she’s saved her mother, found a way to fight back against ICE’s plans to change the timeline to their advantage, and reunited with her boyfriend Finn from a different century.

But it turns out being a time traveler is never easy.

In the twenty-third century, ICE is still trying to alter the timeline by allowing non-shifters to time travel to points in their own pasts. Bree’s reverter can undo the changes before the timeline is permanently altered but she can only work so fast. Now that she is no longer a chipped Shifter, she can literally see when her reality changes.

Everything still feels controllable until Bree’s Future Self stops her from fixing one key change to Bree’s own life six months earlier. Losing the last six months of her life, Bree never travels to the twenty-first century to meet her boyfriend Finn. She never tangles with ICE. But she knows the timeline is still at risk and she still has to stop it.

Now, Bree is stuck undercover with Wyck as her boyfriend. Sure he hasn’t tried to kill her on this timeline but Bree still remembers him as Evil Wyck and she still doesn’t want to pretend to date him. With only a minimal sense of what she has to do to stop ICE, Bree can’t even take a moment to stew when Finn shows up in the twenty-third century dating another Shifter. As a time traveler, Bree should have time on her side. But as ICE’s changes become more extreme, with more devastating personal consequences for her, Bree knows she’s running out of time in Twist (2015) by Karen Akins.

Twist is the sequel to Loop and the conclusion of Bree Bennis’ story.

Twist is a trippy, page-turning continuation of Bree’s adventures. The story is filled with the catch-22 time travel scenarios readers will remember from book one. While this book has a contained story and recaps of key moments, it heavily references Loop and should not be read out of order.

Akins expertly manipulates familiar time travel conventions and tropes to create a unique story filled with twists and turns. While the timeline keeps changing, Bree and Finn’s relationship remains relatively constant as the emotional heart of this story.

Snappy prose and Bree’s witty first-person narration enhance this story and bring readers along for the sometimes bumpy ride across multiple reality shifts for Bree and the timeline. While the story has some nail-biting moments of suspense (and worry for this likable cast of characters), this book is a finale worthy of these characters. Twist is an immensely satisfying conclusion to an adventurous and fascinating sci-fi duology. Highly recommended for readers seeking a new time travel adventure.

Possible Pairings: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, The Infinity of You & Me by J. Q. Coyle, Malice by Pintip Dunn, Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst, The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig, The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, Hourglass by Myra McEntire, Soulprint by Megan Miranda, Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty, The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, Pivot Point by Kasie West, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Loop: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

“You can’t change the past. One of those weird temporal loops that couldn’t be explained.”

Loop by Karen AkinsBree Bennis lives in the twenty-third century where, because of a special gene mutation, she can travel anywhere in time. It’s been years since travelers had to hide their unique skills but Bree knows better than most that time travel is still greeted with suspicion and even disdain by those unable to travel.

Bree used to be at the top of all of her classes. Now her biggest talent seems to involve making a mess of things.

After her solo midterm to the twenty-first century goes spectacularly wrong, Bree knows she’s in big trouble. Failing to complete her mission is one thing. Accidentally revealing herself to a boy and sort of taking him hostage? That could get Bree expelled. Or worse.

The only option is to try to sneak back and try to complete her midterm before anyone notices. The only problem is Bree ends up missing her target destination. She finds the boy–Finn who is now three years older and at least three times more attractive–but before she can fix anything Bree is pulled back to her own time. With Finn. Who claims that he and Bree’s future self are . . . dating?

Bree has plenty to do between hiding Finn and not flunking out of school when she learns that a rash of accidents have been taking out time travelers around the school. Turns out the attacks are anything but accidental and with Finn’s help Bree soon realizes she might be the only one able to find the person responsible and stop them before their timeline is irreparably damaged in Loop (2014) by Karen Akins.

Loop is Akins’ first novel and the first half of a duology that completes with Twist.

Loop dives right into the action when Bree’s life goes from bad to worse after everything goes wrong on her midterm. Bree manages to take everything in stride with only a few choice (and possibly made up) swear words to help. As Bree delves deeper into secrets about her own past (and future) she also realizes she might be at the tip of a very big problem–one her future self knew Bree would have to try to solve.

Akins skillfully combines science fiction adventure with a fascinating mystery to create a story that is as original as it is fun. Although some plot points–particularly clues left for Bree–are often obvious, Bree and Finn’s journey as they try to understand what brought them together more than makes up for it.

Bree’s world is filled with casual wonders ranging from automated travel pods to Pegamoos, all of which are brought to life in vivid prose. In a story that literally spans centuries, the world-building to top notch and gives Loop a strong sense of place no matter where or when Bree finds herself.

Bree’s voice is distinct and snappy, making this book conversational and completely fascinating. While the romance in Loop is a big draw, Bree also has a great character arc as she tries to reconcile who she is in her present with who she seems to be in the future. With massive conspiracies, clues left across time, and a displaced romance that is often baffling to Bree, Loop is an action-packed story with humor and excitement.

Possible Pairings: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, The Infinity of You & Me by J. Q. Coyle, Malice by Pintip Dunn, Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst, The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig, The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, Hourglass by Myra McEntire, Soulprint by Megan Miranda, Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty, The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, Pivot Point by Kasie West, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White