3 out of 4 stars
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Which moment of your life would you go back to if you have the chance? Which chapter of your life would you consider as the pivotal point that would change everything if you'd make a different decision? These are the questions that haunted me since I started reading G.M.T. Schuilling's The Watchmaker's Doctor. Even though I already finished writing the review, I still don't have the answers to each one.
Anaya's life changed the day she died. No, this is not a story of an afterlife or ghosts. It is a story of second chances that most of us, if not all, wanted at some point in our life. It is a story of a watchmaker named Greg who discovered how to travel back in time and decided to give that chance to Anaya, a doctor suffering from a bipolar disorder and numerous regrets in life. With slight hesitation, she jumps in back to the time when she was 17 years old— a crucial moment where she was supposed to run away. As a 35-year-old in a 17-year-old body, Anaya tries to rewrite her history with carefully crafted decisions. However, like most plans, things will never align with what you want—no matter how many times you turn the hands of the clock.
I haven't read a novella so fast in just a day. Aside from it being fast-paced, the writing style is superb. The words and narration just flow naturally. The plot is absolutely intriguing. A character that knows exactly what will happen and has the power to change the course of their life is a definitive hook. However, what really kept me on flipping the pages was the elusive question: what is the catch? Everything was too good to be true and you just know it. The author did a great job of keeping that secret until the end. I think that was what I liked most in the book. Sometimes, you're tempted to just skip the middle and go to the end to satisfy that curiosity; but, you're also afraid you might miss something important. This certain feature makes the book impressive as it encourages the reader to go on.
However, is it possible that the thing I liked the most is also the one that I disliked in the book? Let me explain. While delaying the answer to the question of what could possibly be the consequence of playing-God in your own life is good for the readers' curiosity, it also has a flaw: everything else becomes tedious. We see changes in Anaya's life for the better; and while it was the intent of the time-travel, the story focused on that the whole time. Her plans were working out and nothing seemed out of place. It was then that it started becoming a tad monotonous. If there were any domino effect of her decisions, there were all trivial and were also resolved quickly. I was eager to know what could possibly be the event that will make her regret in going back in time, but I was disappointed since it never came. I mean, meddling with time has always been a bad idea so it is impossible for her to just reap the good stuff.
Although there was a significant revelation in the end as a cliff-hanger, I couldn't help but feel that there should've been something more. This might be just the first book of the series, but it could've been a lot more other than establishing the protagonist's perfect life. I think it would've been more exciting if there were some interesting plot twists in the middle.
The Watchmaker's Doctor intrigued me with its promising plot. It is good in its own way, but as aforementioned, it could've been better. Despite its shortcomings, I'd be lying if I say I won't be reading the next book in the series. After all, there is potential in this story. I found only one spelling error, which shows that this is well-edited. With that said, I'd give this book a 3 out of 4 stars rating.
If you are a fan of time travel, I'd surely recommend this series. However, if you prefer action-packed novels, I don't think you'd like this one. Overall, I think this is still a good read and I'd recommend this to anyone who is just finding a good book to pass the time.
The Watchmaker’s Doctor
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