The Lost Imperials, Book One
by Tyler H. Jolley and Sherry D. Ficklin
Clean Teen Publishing
Two opposing factions of time travelers vie for control of the future in this thrilling steampunk series opener dubbed "Interesting" and "Unexpected" by Kirkus Reviews.
Lex and Ember--two time travelers with no memories of their lives before being recruited into the time war--are torn between the factions. When Lex accepts a mission that lands him deep within the heart of the Telsa Institute, he meets Ember, and memories of the tragic past that was stolen from them comes flooding back. Now armed with the truth of who they were, Lex and Ember must work together to save the future before the battle for time destroys them once again.
*This special edition contains expanded content and bonus material not found in the first release.*
With two sides battling for the control of time itself, this story leaps from one exciting, unexpected situation into the next.
Rifters travel through the stream of time. One side fights to survive, the other to maintain time. The recruits on both sides have no memories of their pasts as they engage each other to fight for they side they've been told is right.
The first chapters start off with high tension and action as the characters are immediately engaged in hand-to-hand combat. The steampunk world is vibrant, fast paced and decorated with lovely gadgets which open up a wondrous realm of fantasy. But these are only the background to a captivating plot, where one side is pitted against the other. . .and it's hard not to cheer for both sides since the fine line of what each side stands for isn't clearly drawn.
Although this is told from two points of view, Lex and Ember, there's a large palate of characters and none are stuck in the shadows. Each character is colorful with distinct traits and personalities, bringing them to life with unexpected little details. There are characters to love, ones to suspect and those which, by the end, one can almost hate. Every now and then, there's an excerpt from the 'inventor' of time travel's journal, which adds a nice flair to the mystery surrounding what each side is really after.
The first chapters take a bit to glide into the quick paced world, but after that, the hook sinks in a deep. There's a lovely back and forth between the opposing factions, Lex's and Ember's, which allows the reader to sink into the story from both sides as these characters try to figure out who they are and what they're fighting for, while battling each other the entire time. They mystery surrounding both of them is well laid out, and falls together piece by piece with unexpected twists and turns. There a few holes in some of the logic, but not enough to ruin the ride into this swift paced, fantasy world.
Romance glides along with the plot, adding a nice depth and warmth. The back and forth banter between the characters adds spice and humor with a touch of sweetness. Although the romance links into the twists and turns, it doesn't over run the story. In other words, there's plenty of action and tension outside of these relationships.
The ending holds a couple surprises and wraps up the main points nicely, while leaving plenty of other questions open and areas of gray for a second book in the series.