After reading Lisa Mangum's first book in this trilogy, The Hourglass Door, last year I have been anxious to continue the series (Seriously, Lisa, could you try writing a little faster? Okay, fine, you have a family, and incredibly demanding job, and awesome books take time, so you're forgiven. I guess.). You can read my review of the first book here. Just as a note on the background, this series revolves around the idea that Leonardo Da Vinci created a time machine, and in The Golden Spiral, they have to recreate it. You see, Zo, one of four main characters who were sent into the time machine as punishment hundreds of years ago, has begun playing with time, tweaking and changing it to suit his own twisted desires. He and Dante, the love of Abby's life, have both become Masters of Time.
When he begins to target Abby's life, she scrambles to find answers and try to stop him from causing more problems. Unfortunately, time--the thing a Master of Time ought to have plenty of --is running out for her to find solutions, and her life, her family, and then the whole world hang in the balance. (Because what's the point of having a bad guy if he isn't thoroughly determined to destroy the world and remake it to his own plans?)
I'm not entirely sure how to classify this book, it's sci-fi without being futuristic, fantastic is a way that isn't really fantasy, but it's wholly awesome! Lisa has weaved believable characters with complex lives and motivations. Her descriptions sing--seriously, I wouldn't call the book literary, but her descriptions are completely gorgeous, rich and vivid and fit the feel of the book beautifully. Here's a random example from page 148:
The shifting, swirling fire shot upward like a fountain. At the apex of the column, the light began to bend, curving into a mushroom cloud as white and empty as the blackness it penetrated. Wherever the two touched, the edge glittered with golden stars.
I'm going to make you read the book to find out what that is all about! The action continues to grow and strengthen with each chapter as new problems arise that Abby has to deal with and try to figure out how to fix. Nothing seemed tired or like it had been done before.
Oh, and can I say how much I love Dante? As the love interest he's just about perfect--Every bit as endearing as Edward Cullen, only not half so dangerous (on the other hand, Abby hasn't exactly been twiddling her thumbs and going out for ice cream since Dante arrived in her life, so maybe dangerous is a matter of perspective!) Love, love, love their relationship and the way it's developing! Love even more that I could hand this book to my fourteen-year-old niece without the slightest qualm. Seriously, five stars on this book.
And just so you know, Shadow Mountain did send me a review copy, but didn't require me to blog about the book, and I certainly didn't have to write a glowing review. I really tried to find something Lisa screwed up on to make the review more balanced, but couldn't find anything. The book is really just that good.