Wednesday, April 27, 2022

The Time Shifter

The Time Shifter
by Cerberus Jones
Recommended Ages: 10+

One day on their way home from school, Amelia and her best friend Charlie follow her pet dog-thing, Grawk, to a strange object he has dug up. Soon after they touch it, they encounter a suspicious guest at the hotel where their parents cater to both regular humans and pretend humans from outer space. Before they can stop the woman (or whatever) from cracking the safe in Amelia's bedroom, which has been locked for almost 150 years, everything disappears in a flash of light and they find themselves back in school, getting ready to head home.

The same time loop repeats several more times while the two kids gradually work out that the suspicious lady is a time shifter, and also a member of the sinister Guild that wants to control the system of wormholes that allow aliens to travel all over. And somehow, the item stored in the safe in Amelia's room seems to be the key to making that happen. They must by no means let the Guild have it. But they're up against a couple of tough alien baddies, including a member of boss villain Krskn's reptilian race and a certain tall drink of water (literally) who can kill with one touch of his liquid finger. Knowing that any more laps around the time loop could break the fabric of time and space, the kids make sure there won't be another do-over before facing these truly deadly villains one, last time. No pressure for a couple of schoolkids. Like, it's not as if anyone has ever beaten these baddies before.

Because of the random order in which I read this series of niftily designed chapter books, this was the last one for me – for now. It's kind of bittersweet to think about. I've enjoyed the company of Amelia and Charlie, who are smart and fearless and full of joyful mischief. I'm going to miss them ... until, as I confidently hope, more of their adventures become available.

This is the fifth book in "The Gateway" series. Like their namesake, Australian author Cerberus Jones has three heads. Chris Morphew, described in the "about the author" blurb as the series' story architect, is also the author of the six "Phoenix Files" titles: Arrival, Contact, Mutation, Underground, Fallout and Doomsday, which are alternately packaged as a trilogy titled Man in the Shadows, Blood in the Ashes and Life in the Flames. The team's chief writer, Rowan McAuley, is credited with about 19 books in the "Go Girl!" series. David Harding, who departed the series after book 6, was in charge of editing and continuity. I can't find much information about him other than the fact that he's easily confused with at least one other author by the same name, but his bio blurb in this book credits him with "Robert Irwin's Dinosaur Hunter" series and several "RSPCA Animal Tales" stories.

No comments: